Sunday, January 13, 2013

An end of year Cookie Party

A couple of times a year I get together with a group of friends who all used to hang out at this little restaurant downtown.  When the restaurant closed, we missed each other - and used to get together more frequently - but now it's only in the summer at a local park, and at Christmas for a Cookie Party.  This year we were all busy before Christmas so we ended up getting together on the 30th.  It is always fun to catch up with people, and see what's happening in their lives. 

Maria always brings Nanimo Bars - these tasty bar cookies were actually "invented" just north of the border (ant they even have their own Wikipedia page- just click on the name to read the story of their interesting beginnings)  I have had some good ones and some not so good ones - (how can people use the same recipe and the same ingredients and. . . oh well -)  Maria's are some of the good ones.  I always look forward to her contribution to the party.

I don't know who brought these yummy macaroons - there was also a very tart lemon tart and some delicious short bread cookies -

As I regularly do, I try to bring something savory to counter all the sweet - these are the same homemade cheese crackers that I took to a church function a couple of months ago - I got the recipe from a "Land of Lakes Butter" newsletter - whoa Nellie - there are some yummy recipes on their web site!! -

They are basically butter, cheese and flour - but depending on what kind of cheese you use and what herbs and spices you put in or on them, they really take on a life of their own - I roll them out and just cut into squares, and put the topping on before I put them on the baking sheet (Pampered Chef stoneware, of course)

Cheddar Shortbread Bites (from Land o'Lakes web site)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash ground red pepper ( I also added a little bit of Pampered Chef Southwestern Seasoning mix - it has some chili flakes, garlic, & other goodies. 
1 (8-ounce) package (2 cups) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese - (or you could always grate your own - use the fine holes on your box grater.) 

1 Egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon poppy seed
1 tablespoon sesame seed

Combine flour, butter, salt and red pepper in medium bowl; beat at medium speed until dough forms. Add cheese; mix until a ball forms. Shape dough into circle; wrap in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. (It will be hard to roll at first, but will soften. Press together any cracks that form on edges of dough.) Cut dough with 1 1/2-inch cookie cutters or pizza cutter into desired shapes. Place onto ungreased baking sheets.

Beat egg white and water together in small bowl. Brush cut-outs with egg wash; sprinkle with seeds. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Immediately loosen from pan; let cool on pan.

The recipe says it makes 60, but I've never gotten that many - I also like mine to be about the size of a Triscuit or a  Big Wheat Thin.  I'm also going to see what happens if I don't chill the dough - it they will still be as flaky. 

Instead of putting the poppy seeds on the top, I tried putting them in the dough - I didn't like it as much.  You could use also any of the cheese flavors - I've used the four cheese Mexican blend for a milder cracker - I wouldn't use any of the soft cheeses, brie or feta and they wouldn't make the flaky texture that you need for this cracker. I'm going to try them with grated Parmesan the next time...sprinkle a little bit of Italian herbs over the top - yum... 

Anyhow - these disappeared almost as quickly as I set them down.  It really was a fun party and I'll look forward to seeing my friends again next summer! 

1 comment:

Knatolee said...

Oh my! That's a whole lotta deliciousness!!