You’ve a few days left

As I stated last week, the days seem to be going by faster and faster, and I get behinder and behinder. When I was growing up we had a neighbor that had a little sign in her kitchen that stated “The faster I go the behinder I get” and that seems to be true for me this Christmas. In case you are unaware of it, you can’t purchase gift cards with a check, you have to have cash in hand. This caused me to abort a shopping trip, I was so very happy that I finally had stuff lined up and then had to use all my cash for the cards. So, it was back home and start over. Instead, I got what I could, got some lunch, headed for the house and did needed stuff there. My thought was, get the cash, go to Victoria on Saturday and do the shopping, didn’t work, because of previous commitments, so, Sunday my sister and I finally got to go Christmas shopping. We had a wonderful time together, as she needed to get out of the house for a while and by this time so did I. We met up with her daughter and had a delicious lunch together and then onward for more shopping. I think we both got everything we needed. It’s so hard trying to find gifts for family members that you don’t see very often and are unaware of their likes and dislikes. Thank goodness for a couple of my children who are very familiar with Amazon and were willing to get a couple of gift cards that I couldn’t find. About 6:30 p.m. we finally decided we had done all we could and headed home, where her husband had cooked hamburger patties for us to have some delicious hamburgers for our dinner and, tired as we were, we relaxed with our meal, and then I came home. We unloaded the car, carried it into the house, and I went almost straight to bed, even though it was only 9:00! Now, this morning, when I am finished writing this column, I will have to get busy with wrapping and labeling gifts. I’ve been trying to make stacks for each individual family, especially as I have to ship a couple of packages, and needed to be sure everything was together. I got really lucky when we walked into Wal-Mart, as a lady was standing there unpacking boxes and very kindly gave me several of them. I was happy to get them and she thanked me for taking them! Win, win, situation for both of us.
Thank heavens a precious ‘elf’ in the form of my daughter came in last Wednesday afternoon, began decorating my tree, spent the night and finished her job on Thursday while my sister, her husband and I went to Castroville for a funeral. She did a totally awesome job and when I walked into the house with the tree lights on, decorations on my porch and everything neatly cleaned up and put away, I stood and cried at the love and blessings that were mine.
Now, it is very early Monday morning, I woke up and realized that my column hadn’t written itself over the weekend and it was time to get busy. Coffee cup at hand, I had to figure out what to write. Of course baking cookies came to mind, so, even though you might not need them here are a few recipes. I am not sure ladies make as many cookies as we used to make. There are so many delicious refrigerated types available, and if you’re lucky and children in 4H or some type of organization are selling cookie dough, that is so easy and simple to use and helps the kids at the same time. At the funeral in Castroville, last week, there was a plate of cookies that were delicious, and as far as I could tell, were an oatmeal cookie with M&M candies as well as chocolate chips stirred into them. My daughter says that there is a cookie dough that some students sold that was similar to that. It seemed as though the old-fashioned type oatmeal was used, but I am not sure. In the past, I have made half a dozen different types and double batches of each one. The snickerdoodles, molasses crinkles and oatmeal recipes are ones that have been around for years and everyone loves them. I do know that sometime in the next week, I will use the oatmeal cookie recipe that is on a box of oatmeal and will see if I can replicate it. My thought was that the cookies were purchased from Haby’s, that wonderful bakery in Castroville. We shall see what we see on this! The oatmeal cookies recipe was in a ‘Bake-Off” cookbook sometime in the late ‘50s, at least that is what I was told. The molasses crinkles recipe is one from Mother and she baked them all the time when I was growing up!
Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
¾ cup butter or margarine
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2½ cups quick cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup coconut (optional)
Cream together thoroughly, the butter or margarine and the sugars, add the eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir in. By hand, stir in the oatmeal, pecans and coconut if used. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets and bake at 375ºF for 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes 4 to 5 dozen, depending on size spoon used.
Mix together and set aside for later use:
4 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups shortening (I use 1 cup margarine and 1 cup shortening)
3 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
5½ cups flour
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Thoroughly cream together the shortening, sugar and eggs. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix into the shortening mixture. Mix well, chill dough overnight. Shape into walnut sized balls; roll each one into reserved cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350ºF until lightly browned, but still soft. They will puff up and then flatten out.
Molasses Crinkles
1½ cups soft shortening or margarine (I use ½ of each)
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
½ cup molasses (Grandma’s brand, unsulphured)
4½ cups flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Cream together the shortening, sugar, eggs and molasses. Mix together the dry ingredients and stir into the shortening mixture until very well mixed. Chill overnight. Shape into balls the size of small walnuts. Dip tops in sugar. Place sugared side up on a lightly greased baking sheet. Dip your finger into some water and press down lightly on each cookie. Bake at 375ºF until cookies are just set. Remove from pan immediately. They will be puffed up and then flatten out. The pressing down with the wet finger will give them a crinkled top.
This recipe was originally from Mrs. Bess Polk, who lived in Devine for many years. She brought them to us at the office and then gave me the recipe. It was her own version of something she had used for years. (I was not able to find the oat bran, high fiber hot cereal, so have never used it.
Bess’s Messes
2/3 cup canola oil
1½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk, (skim is OK)
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ teaspoon salt
1/ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2½ cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant, nor old-fashioned)
¼ cup dry, oat bran, high fiber hot cereal (use dry)
1 cup raisins
Heat oven to 350ºF. combine oil and brown sugar in large bowl; stir to mix. Lightly beat eggs, milk and vanilla, and add to first mixture. Stir together to mix well. Stir together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon and add to above. Mix well until all dry ingredients are incorporated into mixture. Stir in oatmeal, oat bran and raisins. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto lightly sprayed baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned, tops will not brown. Allow to cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove from pan, place on rack and cool thoroughly.
Easy Sliced cookies
1 cup butter margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed Stir in remaining ingredients. Divide into 3 equal portions. Shape each portion into a roll about 1½-inches in diameter. Wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Slice rolls into 1/8-inch slices. Place about 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until golden brown around edges. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to wire rack; cool completely.
Most cookie recipes call for either butter, margarine, or just plain shortening such as Crisco®, and the recipes call for beating them together until ‘fluffy’ and things like that. At one time, a cookbook using Wesson Oil® became available and I purchased a copy. The following recipe is from my files and uses oil to make the cookies. Of course, it is a thinner dough and you make drop cookies, and you can’t decorate them except for sprinkling with colored sugar before baking. I had a glass that had a design on the bottom and that is what I always used.
Stir and Drop Cookies
2 eggs
2/3 cup cooking oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400ºF Beat eggs with fork until well blended. Stir in oil, vanilla and lemon rind. Blend in sugar until mixture thickens. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; add to egg mixture. Dough will be soft. Drop by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly by pressing lightly with a glass dipped in sugar. (Lightly spray or oil glass, dip in sugar, flatten a couple of cookies, continue dipping in sugar as you do each cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet immediately. Cool completely.
Merry Christmas to all and may God bless you and your families.