Monday, August 25, 2008

Cookies for Our Troops - Round 2 - Operation BakingGALS

Another exciting round of cookie baking for our troops abroad. This round's menu is:
Chewy Chocolate Coco-nut Squares; Peanut Jumbles; and Celebration Cookies. The Squares and the Jumbles are from Carole Walter's wonderful book, "Great Cookies" and the Celebration Cookies are from a recipe by Baking GAL host Kara of Kara's Kitchen.

I've worked out a way of packing the cookies (no easy task at first) for flights to Afghanistan and Iraq. Am becoming quite a pro - the APO boxes are available free from USPS and there is a flat rate charge of around $7.00 for a 12"x12" box. Plastic baggies for the cookies - with a bit of apple peel in the baggies to keep the cookies soft - kitchen towel paper, a cardboard cake box and some Staples packing peanuts do the trick very nicely. I'm off to the Post Office early tomorrow morning with my boxes of goodies. It's a wonderful way for me to do something worthwhile for our soldiers, for whom I have the utmost admiration and feel the utmost gratitude. I'm building up quite a list of 5 STAR cookies: Here are the recipes for my two 5 STAR cookies from this round:

Chewy Chocolate Coconut Squares

1 cup walnuts, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Position the shelf in the center of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour the baking pan. Invert the pan and tap sharply over the sink to remove any excess flour.
2. Place 1/2 cup of the walnuts in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse three or four times, until medium chopped. Remove the nuts from the processor and set aside for the topping.
3. Place the butter in a medium bowl and set it over a pot of simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. When the butter is almost melted, add the chocolate. After 1 minute, remove the pot from the heat. Let stand until the chocolate is completely melted, stirring occasionally.
4. Place the sugar, flour, coconut, salt, and remaining walnuts in the work bowl of the food processor. Pulse three or four times.
5. Stir the eggs and vanilla into the chocolate mixture, then pour into the food processor bowl. Pulse all of the ingredients together just until blended.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a tablespoon. Press the remaining chopped nuts across the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes (mine took about 22), until set on top and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Place on a cooling rack. When cool, use a sharp knife to cut into 40 squares.

Store in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 5 days. These squares may be frozen.

Celebration Cookies
Yield: 3 dozen cookies

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe Celebration Cookie Mix (follows)*

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large bowl, combine butter, eggs and vanilla; mix until well blended. Add cookie mix to butter mixture; mix until well blended. Drop rounded Tablespoon scoops of dough 2 inches apart, onto greased baking sheet. Flatten cookies slightly if you want a crisper cookie.

Bake 13-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove to cooling rack.

*Celebration Cookie Mix
1/2 c granulated sugar
3/4 c sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 c white chocolate morsels
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 teasp. baking powder
1/2 teasp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c quick or old-fashioned oats
1/2 c pecan halves, coarsely chopped

Both recipes are delicious.

1 comment:

Chef Debbie said...

I can't wait to try these recipes! Thank you so much for baking these for our soldier.