This week was our BIG BAKING WEEK! In 3 days the kids & I made 14 different kinds of cookies. Crazy, I know – but I like to have a good assortment to take to my neighbors & what-not =)
Anyone ever try to make great-grandma’s favorite recipe and become completely frustrated when it doesn’t turn out? Guess what – it’s not your fault! Believe it or not, companies change the recipe for their ingredients constantly so you are not using the same ingredients as she did so you do have to ‘tweak’ the recipe to get the same results. Don’t believe me, call Toll House, Land o Lakes and more and ask for yourself, the ‘recipes’ even change from year to year.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that not all brands / generics work well in my baking. And this year I found a couple more that I will NEVER again use in my baking- they just don’t turn out right.
- NO Land O Lakes Butter (it always produces extra liquid in my casseroles & baked goods). I prefer Target brand!
- NO Meijer Vanilla (it leaves a terrible after taste by itself & so do the cookies – YUCK)
- NO Natural Peanut butter (it is too liquidy and you will need to compensate by adding about 3/4 cup more flour). I stick to non-natural Jiffy or Skippy (I haven’t had great luck with Target’s brand either – in baking only)
So what ingredients are on your don’t use list?
TIP for soft cookies: Leave your cookies in for the minimum about of time (or even a minute less) and then let them cool/harden on cookie sheet before removing. This will give you soft cookies! I think hard cookies are the #1 complaint I here; we don’t like hard cookies either =-)
Okay… back to my 1 Recipe 3 Ways
You can make all three of these unique, fun looking cookies from one recipe! I got the inspiration for the ‘checkerboard’ cookies form my mother-in-law Retha – aren’t they cute! But my family likes soft cookies (not that there is anything wrong with crunchy ones) so I had to find a recipe that would produce the same result, but be soft. So after tweaking around I came up with this one (my secret ingredient is cream cheese – don’t worry you can’t taste it!)
To make these cookies mix 3 TAB cocoa in 1/2 of the dough only. Roll out each color to be about 8” x 12”. Put the rolled out rectangles on top of each other. Roll dough together leaving 12” of length. Chill 1-2 hours. Slice cookies to make pretty Pinwheels!
To make these festive colored pinwheels divide the dough in thirds. Mix red food coloring in 1/3, green food coloring in another 1/3, and leave the last 1/3 plain. Roll out each color to be about 8” x 12”. Put the rolled out rectangles on top of each other. Roll dough together leaving 12” of length. If you like roll loaf in sprinkles. Chill 1-2 hours. Slice cookies to make pretty Pinwheels!
To make these cute checkerboard cookies cookies mix 3 TAB cocoa in 1/2 of the dough only. Divide each color in 4-5 pieces. Roll each piece into a 12” long rope. Stack the roped on top of each other in the pattern seen above (bottom row chocolate, plain, chocolate; next row plain, chocolate, plain, final row chocolate, plain, chocolate). Roll up in parchment paper and press slightly in all directions to get the ropes to bind together & created your rectangular loaf. Chill 1-2 hours. Slice cookies to make pretty Checkerboard cookies!