Monday, December 22, 2008

Cookie Madness - Sour Cream Pastries

Sour Cream Pastries are MY cookies. I'm very surprised that I even share a single one. I am very generous apparently. They are prefection in a cookie, light flakey dough, sweetness, coconut... anything with coconut is good in my book. This year, conroversy erupted when Little Sister decided to pervert the goodness by using raspberry jam. Why meddle with perfection? She's crazy. So we had to make two batches so that the originial goodness would not get corrupted with her new-fangled ideas.

Please note that the overnight rest for the dough is critical. The dough must be COLD. This is the one cookie that can only be made in winter. I tried making them in summer, in Japan, during the rainy season. I will not even describe the mess for fear of tainting your ideals of cookie perfection.

These are the best cookies ever.

Sour Cream Pastries

1 c. butter
2 c. sifted flour
1 beaten egg yolk
½ c. sour cream
½ c. apricot preserve
½ c. flaked coconut
½ c. finely chopped nuts
granulated sugar

With pastry blender, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Combine egg yolks and sour cream, blend into flour mixture. Chill overnight. Divide dough into 4 parts, keeping each refrigerated until ready to use. Roll each part into 10 inch circle on lightly floured surface. Spread with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves, sprinkle on 2 tablespoons coconut, 1 tablespoons nuts. Cut each circle into 12 wedges. Starting from wide end, roll each wedge into a cresent. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake on a ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or lightly brown. Cool on rack. Makes 4 dozen.

Christmas Cookie Madness - Nowacoski style

The ubiquitous Christmas Cookie - The stuff of legends. I think every family has a story or a tradition of baking up bite-sized morsels at holiday time. Our family is no different. I don't think I can remember a Christmas without buckets of cookies. Some of these treats are only trotted out for the holidays, some are year round favorites, some are experiment and empirical tests (oh the failures are plenty!) This year, the Cookie Madness began on Thursday of last week.

You see, the youngest daughter of the clan got an idea into her head. Yes, that is as dangerous a proposition as you would suppose. She has been obsess with cooking blogs of "The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie". I'm sure she'll post the link to the original article. "Let me esplain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up." A crucial component of these goddesses-cum-cookies are the fact that you are to let the dough "mature" by several days of resting in the icebox. So in order to have a true blind-empirical-taste-test, I flipped to the good old Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip recipie and whipped up a bunch for a 48 hour rest in the fridge. More on this experiment later.

Then on Friday, the Mamajama declaired that we simply had to have Oatmeal Carmelitas. I have vague memories of this bar cookie. When Cookie Madness would roll around I would say "Mom let's make those carmel things" and somehow they never actually got made. So its been like 20 years since these cookies have graced our holiday preparations. But since that is where Cookie Madness began this year, that's the first recipe I'll post.

I give you....

Oatmeal Carmelitas
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soad
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 (12.5 oz.) jar (1 cup) caramel ice cream topping
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 (6 oz) pkg. (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Heat oven to 350F. Grease 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, blend all crust ingredients at low speed until crumbly. Press half of crumb mixture, about 3 cups, in bottom of greased pan. Reserve remaining crumb mixture for topping. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in small bowl combine caramel topping and 3 tablespoons flour; set aside. Sprinkle warm crust with chocolate chips and nuts. Drizzle evenly with the caramel mixture; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
Return to oven and bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool Completely. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into bars.