Wyoming: Cowboy-sized Whopper cookies combine peanut butter, chocolate and oats

whomperbakedIn our quest to make a cookie from each of the 50 states, Wyoming was a challenge.  I kept finding references to “Cowboy Cookie” recipes and, if you will recall, the cowboy cookies were my Colorado choice.  Those were a nice blend of oats, chocolate, and walnuts, but I was looking for something more.

That’s when I discovered Wyoming Whopper Cookies.  With my mother, sister, and niece coming to visit, I decided this would be our Saturday afternoon challenge.  The difference between the cowboy cookie recipe and the Whopper cookie is the addtion of peanut butter and raisins.  Another huge difference is that the Whopper cookies are prepared in a skillet with no flour!

Whomperraw

I was skeptical when the gooey, sticky dough went onto the trays, but they baked into fist-sized cookies that were delicious warm or cold.  A tall glass of milk is a must!

I went on Pinterest to see what kinds of packaging would be best for this big cookie.  I was surprised to see the suggestion of cd sleeves–they are the perfect size–but does anyone use cd sleeves anymore?  This blog had a cute jar with a teacher appreciation sticker.  I’m going to work on clever packaging for my next cookies.

P.S.  Adrienne (my sister) read the nutritional facts out loud as we were baking the cookies.  I told her that is not allowed.  We don’t think about calories at Christmas.

Taste of Home Recipe for Wyoming Whopper Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 2/3 cup butter, cubed
  • 1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups chunky peanut butter
  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups raisins
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

whomperskilletIn a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in the brown sugar, sugar, eggs and peanut butter until smooth. Add oats, baking soda, raisins and chocolate chips (dough will be sticky).
Drop on a greased baking sheet with an ice cream scoop or large spoon. Flatten slightly. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 2 dozen.
Editor’s Note: Reduced-fat peanut butter is not recommended for this recipe.
Originally published as Wyoming Whopper Cookies in Country June/July 1987.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

2 each: 768 calories, 39g fat (15g saturated fat), 80mg cholesterol, 499mg sodium, 101g carbohydrate (65g sugars, 8g fiber), 17g protein.

 

Delaware: Blogger recommends Viennese Crescent cookies

I have a new favorite in our 50-State Christmas Cookie Challenge.  I was searching online for a great Delaware cookie, and I came across Ron in Rehoboth Beach, who has a blog “Retired in Delaware.”   I was already his fan because the featured photo on his blog is taken from a spot on the Rehoboth boardwalk just about 100 yards from my parents’ condo that they owned for 20+ years.

He recommended Viennese Crescents based on a recipe given to him in the 1970’s from a co-worker.  In his description, he said that these cookies rarely last more than a few days because they are so popular.  This is true.  There are very few ingredients, and the resulting cookie is light and sweet. No egg or milk!  Roger and I took turns raiding the cookie jar, and then we gave some as a gift to his sister.  They were gone in just a few hours.  This cookie recipe will be a Christmas gift for certain.

There are several variations I have seen online, including dipping one half in chocolate and adding ground coffee.  I’m looking forward to trying the chocolate dip because that will make them even prettier.

Viennese Crescents


Ingredients:

1/2 lb. unsalted butter (yep, LOTS of butter)

1/4 cup granulated white sugar 
2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup ground nuts (preferably pecans but any nut will do)

1 tsp. vanilla

Preparation:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degreesViennesecookiescooling

2) Cream the room temperature butter in a large bowl

3) Then add the granulated sugar, flour, nuts and vanilla and mix thoroughly

4) Pull of small portions of the dough and with your fingers into delicate crescents

5) Shape about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide and thick

6) Roll in confectioners’ sugar

7) Bake on cookie sheets for about 23 minutes or until just faintly browned

8) Coll and roll in confectioner’s sugar again

9) Place in cookie tin lined with tissue paper, close lid

10) Surprise your favorite neighbor or friend with your special gift of love.

Be sure to check out the rest of the cookies on our 50-State challenge.  Summer is a great time to practice your gifts.

Georgia: Paula Deen’s Georgia Cookie Candy Recipe

I have been baking, but summer has put me a little behind on posting the results.  In early June, I drew Georgia and went on the search for a state cookie.  Georgia is the number one has 49% of the nation’s peanut farming acreage, so it was a no-brainer to choose a peanut recipe, and Paula Deen is arguably the state’s most famous cook, so I put the two together and chose her no-bake Georgia Cookie Candy Recipe.

The recipe requires graham cracker crumbs.  Because it’s summer, and s’mores are often on the dessert menu, I had all the ingredients at hand.  The recipe was ridiculously easy, and it involved a food processor–something different.

My teen-age neighbors, who have become official taste-testers, gave this recipe rave reviews.  Roger liked the cookie bars, too, saying they were like a Reese’s peanut butter cup. I liked the bars well enough, but I wished for more of the salty peanut flavor to balance out the sweet.  The next time I make these, I might experiment with a little more peanut butter.

As for “gift-ability,” the recipe makes about three dozen pieces; however, the airtight storage/refrigerator might make these less portable.  I could see myself cutting them with a small cookie cutter instead of straight squares (eating the “extra,” of course).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Line a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with foil.

Combine the butter, peanut butter, sugar, and graham cracker crumbs in a food processor. Process until the mixture forms a ball. Press into the foil-lined pan using your hands or a spatula.

cookiebarsfoodprocessor-e1500237738652.jpgMelt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water or in a microwave-safe glass dish in the microwave for 1 minute on high (100%). Stir. If the chocolate has not completely melted, microwave for 10 seconds more, then stir. Spread evenly over the cookie layer with a spatula. Chill for several hours.

When ready to serve, allow the candy to come to room temperature before cutting into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Check out our other 50 State Cookie Challenge cookies.

 

Mississippi: You can’t eat just one Mississippi Praline Macaroon cookie

Mississippi is moving to the top of my cookie list.  The Mississippi Praline Macaroons were easy to make and delicious.  I took them to a cookout with friends, and they (the cookies, not the people) disappeared before the hamburgers and hotdogs–I confess I ate at least seven or eight at the event, so I don’t exactly know how much everyone else liked them.

As for a gift-able Christmas cookie?  The jury is out on that. I had trouble maintaining their fresh meringue crisp flavor.  They wilted to softness quickly, but I didn’t put them in an airtight container right away as indicated in the recipe.  I need some feedback about how to maintain the crunch. The flavor is 110% terrific.

If you haven’t been following our journey, Jeremy and I are baking our way through the 50 states in search of the best Christmas cookies to present to our friends.  Previous to this, I tackled the ill-fated Michigan Rock cookies.  Before Michigan, I tried a cookie recipe from  South Carolina,  Indiana,  New JerseyAlaska, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Alabama.

Start with pecans.  I bought a 2 lb bag at Costco.  That’s more like 4-pie-quantity, and I didn’t make a dent in the bag–but if these were gifts, one 2lb bag would be perfect.

Mississippi Praline Macaroons

  • Total Time: 50 mins |
  • Makes: 35 to 37 macaroons

This is a favorite dessert [from Ann Grundfest Gerache, Vicksburg, Mississippi] served at community Passover seders sponsored by Vicksburg’s Congregation Anshe Chesed.

Game plan: As soon as the macaroons have cooled, store them in an airtight container to keep them crisp.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large egg meranguewhites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 35 to 37 pecan halves, for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Grease 2 or 3 large baking sheets or line the sheets with foil and grease the foil.
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until frothy. Increase the mixer speed to high and continue beating, adding the brown sugar gradually (in small handfuls) and scraping the bowl once, until the whites form stiff, glossy peaks. (This will take a few minutes.) With a large rubber spatula, fold in the pecans.
  3. Drop the batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Press a pecan half into each, flattening the cookie slightly.
  4. Bake until the macaroons are set and feel hard and crisp, about 35 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely, then store in airtight containers.

Singlemacaroon

 

 

Michigan: Michigan Rock cookies – big taste, big errors

I was humming along, producing a new cookie every two weeks, until my recent cookie disaster, but it’s not Michigan’s fault.  Jeremy and I continue our tour of the 50 states, searching for the most interesting Christmas cookie for each.  Two weeks ago, I baked Michigan Rocks, a cookie that has a lot to offer in terms of taste, but I was derailed by a dog. . .or two.

Before Michigan, I tried a cookie recipe from Charleston, South Carolina, Benne Wafers. That nutty sesame cookie was delicious and different.  Before that, was was  Indiana,  New JerseyAlaska, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Alabama.

I had trouble finding an origin story for Michigan Rocks, a fruity type of cookie that attracted me because it was filled with dried dates, raisins, nuts, and more.  I had my choice of several recipes–united only in general fruit and nut ingredients.  Unlike other recipes, Michigan Rocks had so many different versions.  I admit I settled on the one below, in the archive of a Pennsylvania paper, because white wine was an ingredient–and that sounded adventurous.

And then all hell broke loose.  I had measured and mixed all of the ingredients, and the paddle and bowl of my Kitchenaid mixer began to thump–that’s unusual.  I was just beginning to realize that the recipe makes nine dozen cookies. I would need baking reinforcements and thought to ask my teenage neighbors if they would like to help eat some.  And then the doorbell rang. . .

It was the three teens I had just summoned in my mind!  They needed me to look at a sick chicken, and in that moment, my dog (and his friend dog who I was babysitting), ate the one teaspoon of dough I had put on the tray.

Calls to poison control, dog vomit, counting raisins in the yuck, and hours later (everyone lived), I baked a tray of the cookies.  They were soft and delicious, but, somehow, I had lost my appetite for this particular kind of cookie.  I gave all of the remaining dough to the neighbors, and they pronounced the cookies delicious!

So there you have it.  I’m ready to leave Michigan behind, but take my neighbors’ word that these cookies are keepers.  You  might consider cutting the recipe in half the first time you make it.

P.S.  We have a new kitchen dog gate–it’s terrific.

SOFT MICHIGAN ROCKS

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 lb. margarine

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

3 cups flour, sifted with 1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 lb. chopped walnuts (2 cups)

1/2 cup raisins

1 lb. cut-up dates

7 oz. package flaked coconut

1/2 cup white wine, any kind

Cream margarine with brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add flour mixture gradually until all is used up. Add rest of ingredients up to wine. Mix together well. Then add wine. Drop by teaspoons onto lightly greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Makes 9 dozen.

—Pat Zaengle, Nesquehoning

South Carolina: A sesame seed favorite, Benne Wafers make unique Christmas cookie

bennewafers3Jeremy and I continue our tour of the 50 states, searching for the most interesting Christmas cookie for each.  This week, I am baking a recipe from Charleston, South Carolina, Benne Wafers.

If you have been following our blog, my last stop was  Indiana.  I made Springerle coolies, and they were not too good, but it was entirely baker’s error.  I need to re-visit that recipe because I think I missed a unique cookie.   I have baked my way through New JerseyAlaska, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Alabama.

This week’s recipe was not difficult to find, but I did have to wait a day or two for my order of sesame seeds from Amazon.  The Olde Colony Bakery in Charleston has the history of the Benne wafers, originating in Colonial times with slaves arriving from Africa.

sesameseedsThe seeds are lightly toasted before making the simple recipe. I’m a careless kind of cook, so I concentrated on those sesame seeds for 10 minutes, making sure they were perfectly browned.  Overall, the resulting cookie was thin, crisp and tasty, but not my favorite.  My version was considerably darker than the cookies pictured on the Old Colony Bakery web page, so I suspect I could have taken them out of the oven a little earlier.  My crunchy cookies may have had more crunch (over-baked) than crisp (just right).

I found an easy recipe on SimplyRecipes.com.  I think I should change my approach to bake each cookie recipe twice.  I think if I did this again, I could do better.

Benne Wafers Recipe

by Steve-Anna Stephens

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Dough chilling time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2-4 dozen, depending on the size of your spoonfuls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 F. Cover cookie sheets in parchment paper. Toast the sesame seeds in a heavy skillet over medium heat until they are golden brown.

Beat the brown sugar and butter together in a medium-sized bowl for several minutes until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder, then add these dry ingredients to the butter, sugar, egg mixture, mix well. Stir in the toasted sesame seeds, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. This makes it easier to drop the cookies on the sheets.

Drop by teaspoonful onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving space for the cookies to spread. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brown. Cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheets, then transfer to a rack to continue cooling.

Indiana: German Springerle cookies inspired by a rolling pin

If you are just joining this 2017 adventure, Jeremy and I have challenged ourselves to produce one terrific cookie recipe from each of the 50 states.  Each week, we draw a state name and go off in search of an interesting cookie recipe.  This week, I added Indiana to my group of states.  I have baked my way through New JerseyAlaska, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Alabama.

My choice to bake Springerle cookies was a no-brainer.  Joanne, my co-worker and a German teacher, had surprised me with the gift of a wooden Springerle rolling pin just the week before. When I drew “Indiana,” my first internet search referenced two religious organizations that make traditional Springerle cookies:   I had never heard of the cookies; although, when I searched online, I recognized the unique designs.  Springerle cookies are white, rectangular cookies that have an embossed design–Springerle means ”little jumper” or “little knight,” because of the commonly represented design.

In Indiana, there are several bakeries, including one at the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana, that make the cookies.  There is a bakery that specializes in all things German, including a huge collection of gnomes:  The Heidelberg Haus.  I may decide to order the cookies so I can see what they are supposed to take like.

I set out to make these traditional cookies.  I started by ordering “Bakers Ammonia,” a pre-baking soda era item because several recipes called for that.  I didn’t use it, though, because there were many recipes that didn’t require the traditional item.  Here’s the problem. There are two types of Springerle cookie recipes:  easy and difficult.  I chose easy.  Easy did not taste great.  I suspect that the cookies must be made with a lot more love than I devoted to them. Unfortuantely, mine were crunchy and nearly inedible.

Here’s Martha Stewart’s recipe.  I did not use this one, but if I were to try again, I would try this one.

Here are some recipes on All Recipes.  (The cookies were not light and delicate, but I suspect that is not the fault of the recipe–I need a tutorial.)