Happy “Chew This!” Sunday!!! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! email@example.com
The first day of SPRING is tomorrow and I just can not believe it! It seems winter lasts SO LONG compared to the spring and summer months. Enjoy every second of the spring and summer because it is fleeting for sure. Why not start the celebration with my delicious and fabulous “SPRING CELEBRATION COOKIES”!? The cookies are tender inside and stable outside while the frosting on top is thick and flavorful!
Feel free to leave the frosting off these cookies and serve as is – but part of the fun and celebration is the colorful frosting! Use any food color you desire – and any color that you want to match your mood. Experiment and enjoy!
Also in this column is my “Ask and Answer” feature about how you can make “steak house style” baked potatoes at home! No wrapping them in foil, poking the outsides – just follow my recipe and you will love it! The skins are flavorful and crispy and the inside is fluffy and tender.
The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, March 19th 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman
Celebrate Spring with Cookies and Color
It is almost Spring! I am not sure about you, but I can not believe it! This winter, to me, seems like it has been at least a year long. Winter months always drag by, whereas Spring and Summer months seem so fleeting. But, we must have the “bad” days to appreciate the “good”, right? At the beginning of March I start planning my Spring parties, picnics, get togethers and going over my recipe files to see which recipes need to be tweaked or modified. This year I have decided to do things a little differently. I have never really been a spur of the moment type of person, but I am working on trying to change that. Who would not love a last minute picnic in the park after a stressful day at work? Or what about a last minute decision to throw a small get together to celebrate life or to just celebrate getting through another Monday? I know I would…
Spring is the official rebirth of Mother Nature, a chance to start fresh and start anew with renewed hope and compassion. Spring brings with it bright colors, festive Holidays, flowers, birds, love, fresh air and perhaps my favorite weather of all time – crisp temperatures, sun and gorgeous blue skies. In developing this recipe I wanted something fun and colorful but still something easy and flavorful of course. These cookies are just fine on their own, dusted with confectioner’s sugar or even sprinkled with Tubinado sugar and then baked. The colorful frosting though, to me, really sets these apart and yells, “Celebration”! The cookies are chewy inside with a slight crisp outside, while the frosting is thick and flavorful with just a hint of vanilla. I really hope you will try these and join with me in celebrating Spring!
Spring Celebration Cookies
The food coloring in this recipe is totally optional. If you desire to use it, liquid or powder food coloring would work fine. I like dividing the frosting up into several bowls and adding food color to each bowl separately so that I have several colors to work with. Make the frosting as light or as dark as desired. Play around with it for each Holiday and make the colors match that mood of the Holiday. These will last covered, at room temperature, for a week.
For the cookies…
¾ cup white granulated sugar
½ cup solid butter flavored vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups white all-purpose flour
For the frosting…
5 tablespoons water
½ cup white granulated sugar
4 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar, divided
½ cup pure vegetable oil
5 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Food coloring, liquid or powder
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl cream together the white granulated sugar with the solid butter flavored vegetable shortening and salt. Once smooth and creamy add in the large egg and beat well.
Next, add in the light corn syrup, baking soda, milk and pure vanilla extract. Beat well.
Finally, fold in the white all-purpose flour until all the flour is dissolved and the dough forms into a crumbly soft texture.
Take teaspoon size amounts of the dough and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheets.
Flatten the balls with the bottom of a drinking glass first dipped in white granulated sugar.
Bake, one baking sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 12 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, combine the water, white granulated sugar and ½ cup of the confectioner’s sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl add the pure vegetable oil, light corn syrup and pure vanilla extract.
Once the stovetop mixture comes to a rolling boil, remove from the stove and pour carefully into the large bowl with the oil, syrup and vanilla. Stir this gently together.
Slowly add in the remaining 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar. Add in desired food coloring.
Frost cookies accordingly, serve and enjoy.
Ask and Answer: Recently I had a submitted question about how to bake potatoes at home that resemble those at Texas Roadhouse and other steak places. The answer? It’s easy! Take desired number of potatoes, scrub and wash with cold water. Dry thoroughly. Liberally oil the potato with vegetable oil, liberally rub on salt and pepper. For this I use Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. No need to pierce them with a fork, wrap them in foil, etc. Placing them directly on the baking rack is the secret. Once baked the potatoes will be hot and fluffy inside and the outside skin crisp and flavorful.
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