I'm in Florida for the holidays. I decided that I could certainly do most of the dessert cooking, and I brought my camera, but of course, I forgot to load the camera's installation disk on my laptop, so I had to wait until I get home for the pictures...
First off, it was extremely exciting to not worry about modifying recipes or cooking times because I'm at sea level...that is wonderful! I am literally right next to a major water body (the Halifax River)--in fact, I can see it from the chair I'm sitting in.
I felt right at home because I still had a dog that was begging for food--my g'mother's beagle, Casey. I agree with my aunt, Bandit would have been a cuter and more appropriate name. She's a strange dog, however--she begs and begs but doesn't ACTUALLY want anything. If you drop food on the floor, she won't eat it.
The first cookies I made were Pecan or Angel Slices (p. 764). I chose to make them out of nuts, not angels--I suppose you'd have to get those in a specialty store :)
This required me to toast coconut (p. 972) and toast walnuts (p. 1001). That was fairly easy, although toasting the coconut was stressful...it always seemed a quarter step from burning. At least it changes in taste. I hate when I do these extra steps and they don't seem to actually accomplish anything. Toasting the nuts was easy enough, although I don't think I toasted them enough.
Coconut pre- and post- toasting:
The toasted walnuts:
The slices were strange. It seems that you make the crust (extremely gooey and REALLY hard to work with, even after some refrigeration), pat it down on foil (never did figure out why I needed foil--I recommend not using it), bake that, make the nut mixture, and put that on top.
The crust has to be baked first:
The whole concoction:
Very tasty! But very strange. And almost impossible to get out of the pan. The "bars" were tiny and bite size, because they were that hard to get out of the pan. It was for the best, however, because they were SOOOO rich that one whole bar would have thrown the eater into automatic diabetic shock.
Viennese Crescents (p. 773). My aunt Charlotte is a big fan of those butter cookies with the ground nuts that everybody seems to have at Christmas. I think the actual cookies she likes are called "Mexican wedding cookies" or something like that. I figured these were fairly close. Well, they are. They are rich and nutty. But I made them way to big. Why is it that cookie recipes always say you can make 48 cookies but I always seem to only be able to make about 20? That's really annoying. Do they make doll-sized cookies? Because I'm not typically making GIANT cookies...
These were slightly less than attractive. I didn't notice that I wasn't photographing them but this is the only picture I have...at least they TASTED good...
Sugar Drop Cookies (p. 766). These were pretty good and allowed my mother to use the sprinkles that she desperately wanted to use (they are quite pretty!). I made the cookies, found out that I had 20 cookies and the recipes says that I will have 60...so I broke them up further.
Hmm...these cookies must be WAY too big. But they don't look THAT big...this cookie sheet isn't very large:
So I break them up and get twelve instead of eight:
I still didn't have 60! Apparently, they needed to be TINY! These were good--but dry. Kind of boring actually. And I don't really like cookies that don't use butter or shortening...only vegetable oil...and I think that is kind of gross...So again, the dough was REALLY sticky, even after I put it in the refrigerator. And my g'mother doesn't have one of those awesome cookie ballers that I love so much (thank you Rachel!).
I called mom over and let her decorate. Apparently, she wanted to live out all her six-year old fantasies... But I must admit that they are attractive and festive:
So I had a bunch of toasted coconut left over. I hate extra stuff like that--you put in a baggie, put it away, it rots, and eventually, you throw it out. What's the point? So I found a recipe that would use the rest of it. Filled Cookies III (p. 777) using Roll Cookies (p. 772) and the third option, the coconut filling. This is the worst, most obnoxious recipe in TJOC I've came across so far. I made little turnovers. The problem with this is that the recipe has no instructions for cooking. In the little review of filled cookies, it says "since there is so much variety in the shaping, handling, and baking of filled cookings, not many general rules apply." So, apparently, that means that they don't give you any direction. I cooked them at 375 degrees for ten minutes and it totally worked.
You make the filling first. There is a lot of room for creativity in this recipe:
The roll cookie part needs to sit in the refridgerator for a while. So don't plan on making these cookies if you don't think you'll be interested in finishing them a few hours later:
You make them like ravioli:
Some of the turnovers were beautiful...and others, well, the others have great personalities.
The whole plate of cookies were pretty. Of course, while I was getting my camera to take this picture, my g'mother snagged TWO cookies. I knew this because I had counted them before leaving. My g'mother is on a strict diet. Six cookies after dinner do not fit in it. So I had to hide the rest of the cookies...