Monday, December 22, 2008

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
Crust
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
Filling
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.

4 comments:

OfTroy said...

a few year ago, the sunday NYTimes had a great article on chocolate chip cookies.

The Identified 3 major groups

there are thin, crisp ones,
or thick soft ones.
or medium ones with a thin crisp edge, and a chewy, semi soft center.

the differences in recipes are slight, (baking powder only, baking soda only, or a mix of baking powder and soda.

there were also slight variations in the amount of liquid (None, 1 tbsp,2 tbsps)

they point out that changing the levening, and the moisture (water) changes the tendency to spread (and become thin) to rise (and be chewy) and everything else.

and these basic difference are at the start of chocolate chip (minis?, regular? chocolate chunks?) and the Nuts Vs No Nuts -recipes.

they had dozens of recipes, and chose 3 iconic ones..

(it was about 5 years ago. i suspect if you (or she) is interested--i am sure the info is on line.

themamajama said...

The hiatus from Caramelitas was due to the disapperance of the caramel topping on the supermarket shelves. I tried melting regular caremels once but was disappointed with the results. If I went to the supermarket more frequently, we might have them more frequently. As I noticed these were the first to disappear from the selections we have shared, we just might have to bake another batch. After the traditional Christmas Eve pastry wreath bake-in, of course.
Thanks Helen for supplying more chocolate chip variables that we will just have to test.

LICraftgal said...

Oh thank you for this recipe!!! Can't wait to make them. I know hubby will go bonkers for them!

Melissa said...

Thank you so much for posting the recipe for the Carmelitas! I am eager to make them and encorporate them into my own holiday traditions - YUM!!!