Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Cooky Book: Dream Bars

The Recipe: Dream Bars from Betty Crocker's The Cooky Book

The Substitutions: nada

The Recipe: Fail! This is my first out and out Cooky Book fail. Like, straight from the pan into the garbage kind of fail. It was hard as a rock and flat as a pancake -- obviously overcooked. But the recipe didn't give any kind of warning about overbaking and even said you might need to leave it in for a bit longer than the suggested time. No dice. And it was sad, because they look so nutty and delicious. Better luck next time, I suppose.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

The Recipe: Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Martha Stewart's Cookies

The Substitutions: I omitted the walnuts.

The Verdict: I will admit that these are an old favourite of mine and I've made them before. But I've never covered them here and they really are worth talking about. This is essentially the banana bread version of cookies. They're dense, chocolatey, satisfying, and because they contain whole-wheat flour, have the impression of being healthy.

I don't like sending cookies to school with my kids too often, but if you skip the walnuts, these are kind of the ideal lunch box cookie. And if you keep the salt in (I know some people don't like salt in their cookies), they have the perfect sweet/salty balance. Stellar.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Cooky Book: Teen-Time Chocolate Nut Bars

The Recipe: Teen-Time Chocolate Nut Bars from Betty Crocker's The Cooky Book

The Substitutions: I omitted the nuts to make them school-friendly.

The Verdict: First off, how wacky is the name on this one? Teen-Time? Unfortunately, the Betty Crocker people didn't offer any sort of charming explanation at the beginning of the recipe, making the name a mystery for the ages. I don't know if these would be particularly loved by teens or not, but I will tell you that they were a hit with the under-six set.

These are mixed up in a saucepan, so the chocolate chips get pretty melty before you poor it in the cake pan. I'm not sure if this is intentional or not, but you end up with a swirly, marbly, chocolate butterscotch cake concoction. And cakey it is. They look kind of like brownies, but they're very cakey and delicate. Which makes them kind of messy and I wouldn't advise sticking them in a cookie jar, but they are pretty tasty treats.

Fruit Jellies

The Recipe: Fruit Jellies from the December 2010 issue of Everyday Food.

The Substitutions: I used pom/cranberry juice and raspberry jam.

The Verdict: Not a Christmas miracle by any stretch of the imagination. I was a little obsessed with candy making when it came to my holiday planning this year, and this one was my big failure. They look so cute and yummy in the magazine. In reality they were sticky, gooey and way too tart (but that was probably due to a bad juice choice). I'm sitting here looking at the magazine, feeling the urge to make them again, because I am such a sucker for good food photography. Let this one pass. It'll save you money (since the recipe calls for an entire jar of jam) and a lot of heartache.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Cooky Book: Merry Christmas Cookies

The Recipe: Merry Christmas Cookies from Betty Crocker's The Cooky Book.

The Substitutions: I used the rind and a squirt of juice from one lemon rather than "lemon flavoring." I also put some peppermint extract into the Easy Creamy Icing.

The Verdict: Okay. I kind of hate these kind of Christmas cookies. My mom used to make white cut-out Christmas cookies that we iced every year and I couldn't stand them. I liked decorating them and all, but I hated eating them. They were just so... lacking. These guys aren't all that different. The lemon adds a little bit of interest, but overall they're just not that exciting.

But they're kind of a necessary Christmas cookie to have in one's repertoire, no? It's like being able to make a good tuna casserole -- you don't love to eat it, but you should be able to make it. Again, I don't love these cookies, but I feel satisfied that I made them. How's that for a mixed review?