Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Quick Cook Makes Cookies

Alli and Gina have to be quick cooks to make their personal chef business a success. A huge secret of this Quick Cook is making it look harder than it is. And that comes down to preparation. Alli and Gina know that. And anyone who knows me well, knows that I make lists of the lists I need to make! My sons call me OCD, but I think that’s a bit harsh!

Being planful means that when we throw a big soiree I can enjoy the party and not be stuck in the kitchen. Being planful means it looks as if it took more time to do than it did. Being planful means I don’t run out of my hubby’s favorite cookies. EVER!

One of the ways I am planful is to prep mixes in advance so assembling the dish when needed is much faster. It takes almost no extra time to pre-measure 2 zipper bags of David’s favorite cookie dry ingredients while I am making the recipe in a bowl. Then, when the cookie jar is emptying, I can cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla and dump in the dry stuff faster than if I got out all the dry ingredients for measuring each time.

QC Tip #4
Keep basic mixes in the cupboard for quick cooking.

Here’s how it works. His cookie recipe makes about 7 dozen small cookies (he hates big ones). I measure out dry ingredients in my bowl. As I measure the bowl ingredients, I measure two extra zipper bags of dry ingredients (sans sugars, cranberries, and nuts) and put them in the pantry.

I mix, then bake the first batch. Freeze them. I make dough balls for the second batch to bake later. Freeze them. Then I bake the remainder to put into the cookie jar.

When the cookie jar is almost empty, I thaw the baked cookies. When those are almost gone, I bake the dough balls. When those are gone, that’s my signal to get a cookie mix bag from the pantry and begin to mix, bake, and store the cookies in different forms again.

Measure once, bake many times. It is so fast, and that’s why the boxed cookie mixes are so popular. But read the ingredients list! That is not natural stuff. Make your own cookie mixes.

I published David’s Cran-Pecan Oatmeal Cookies recipe here before, but it was a long time ago. This recipe is one that is often requested after people eat a cookie, so I am printing it again.

David’s Cran-Pecan Oatmeal Cookies (about 7 dozen small cookies)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened                          
¾ cup packed brown sugar                                   
½ cup granulated sugar                                   
2 large eggs                                                     
3 teaspoon vanilla extract                                            
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups flour
2 ½ cups oats
¾ cup dried cranberries
1 cup pecans, chopped

Heat oven to 375°.

Beat butter and sugars in a bowl with mixer on med speed until fluffy.

Beat in eggs, vanilla, baking soda, and salt until blended.

With mixer on low speed, beat in flour to blend. Stir in oats.

When well-blended, add in cranberries and nuts.

Drop heaping tablespoons (or use small cookie dough scooper) 1” apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, then put on cookie rack.

NOTE: When using the mix as above, I cream butter and sugar and add eggs and vanilla. Then I add the cookie mix dry ingredients in quarters. After blended well, I add cranberries and pecans.

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