The most common complaint I hear from people who would rather drive through McDonalds than prepare a meal from scratch is ………… ‘I have NO time to cook’
Well from time to time I will be sharing easy and quick recipes that can be prepared when you DO have a spare couple of minutes. Recipes which can be made ahead – frozen and MOST importantly- can be used as a base for other dishes.
We will start with cookies. Portable and popular and they can be made ahead and frozen. They are ideal for graduations, showers, parties and celebrations.
MASTER RECIPE #1……….GLADYS’ SUGAR COOKIES
This recipe has been in our family favorite for more than 40 years – the first ‘American’ cookie gifted to a new immigrant family from a very special neighbor.
It is still the BEST sugar cookie I have ever eaten.
½ cup soft butter
1 cup canola oil
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
Beat together the butter, oil and sugars until light.
Beat in the eggs one at a time together with the zest and vanilla.
Stir together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt into the batter to make a fairly soft dough.
Chill the dough for at least one hour or overnight [can be frozen* see Cooks Notes].
Preheat oven to 350.
Form the dough into 1” balls** [see Cook’s notes], roll in sugar and set 2” apart on baking paper lined or greased cookie sheets.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
Store in an airtight container or freeze.
PREP TIME: about 7-10 minutes… or as long as it takes to order a hamburger with cheese, fries and a coke………at McDonalds!
VARIATIONS ON THE MASTER RECIPE:
1. CHOCOLATE KISS COOKIES — Wrap a tablespoon of dough around an unwrapped chocolate kiss enveloping it completely.
2. BLIND DATES — Follow the same procedure with pitted medjool dates cut in half.
3. COCONUTTIES — Roll the dough balls in flaked coconut.
4. WALNUTTIES — Follow the same procedure with crushed walnuts.
5. CINNAMON SUGAR TREATS — Roll the dough balls in cinnamon/sugar.
6. PECAN THUMBPRINTS — Press a large pecan into the ball of dough.
7. GUAVA PASTE SURPRISES — Wrap a tablespoon of dough around a ½”wedge of guava paste [available at grocery stores with a Hispanic section].
8. TEXAS CHOCOLATE SANDWICHES — Bake original recipe then sandwich cookies together with chili flavored chocolate [available at the better food markets]. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, set a square of chocolate on one cookie and top with another. The heat of the cookie will melt the chocolate. Press slightly so the chocolate flows to the edge.
9. MINI-ME’S – Stir 1 cup mini chocolate or butterscotch chips into 2 cups of the dough then form into small balls.
10. CARAMEL CHEWS — Wrap a tablespoon of dough around an unwrapped caramel.
*A small tablespoon sized ‘ice cream’ scoop [available at cookware stores], is ideal for scooping the dough – Creates uniform and evenly baked cookies.
**This recipe makes about 50 cookies. I often divide the dough into smaller containers when freezing so I can pull out 1 container at a time and thus defrost only as much as I need.
Looking for a recipe? Have questions about cooking for Kyra? Please post in the comment section below.