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December 22, 2007

Yet More Cookies
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 02:39 AM * 58 comments

Moravian Cut-Outs

  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 Tablespoon brandy
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs singly, beating after each. Add flour, sifted with salted nutmeg, alternately with liquor. Store in refrigerator several hours. Roll out very thin and cut. Brush with egg white or whole beaten egg mixed with water and sprinkled with ground nuts mixed with sugar, or colored sugar. Bake in moderate (350° F) oven.

Rum Balls

  • 2½ cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon cocoa
  • ½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
Mix well.

Add gradually:

  • ¼ cup white corn syrup
  • ¼ cup rum

Add more rum if balls don’t press together easily. Powder hands with powdered sugar to stop sticking. Keep in an airtight container.

Q. Why was Santa’s little helper so sad?
A. He had low elf-esteem.

Q. What did Santa say to his wife when he looked out the window on Christmas morning?
A. “Looks like rain, dear.”

Q. How is the Christmas Alphabet different from the regular one?
A. It has no L.

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Comments on Yet More Cookies:
#1 ::: broundy ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 02:51 AM:

"It has no L."

h...i..j...k..._ ..m....n

No "L."

Oh, goddammit.

Well played, Mr. Macdonald. Well played.

#2 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 04:40 AM:

Joke grenade gotcha, broundy?

#3 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 04:48 AM:

#4 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 06:59 AM:

I am so confused. Probably because it is two minutes to six a.m. as I type this, but: those rum balls appear to have no chocolate in. No chocolate whatsoever.

I am so confused.

#5 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 07:02 AM:


It's a formatting fault - cocoa is the third ingredient, but it's sharing a bullet point with the walnuts.

I will fix while you get some coffee.

#6 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 07:46 AM:

What did Santa say to his wife when he looked out the window on Christmas morning?

There is also a more elaborate (and ultimately just as seasonal, although it doesn't appear so at first glance) version of this joke, concerning a viking who, despite the skepticism of his wife, swears by the meteorological predictions of his colleague Rudolf the Red...

#7 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 08:33 AM:

Q: Why is Mrs. Claus filing for divorce?
A: (If you don't know the answer to this dirty old chestnut, I'm not going to be the one to provide it.)

#8 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 09:12 AM:


Pbheg cncref svyrq va Abejnl Qrp 28gu, Zef. Pynhf unf svyrq sbe qvibepr qhr gb zragny pehrygl. Nccneragyl Ze Pynhf, hcba uvf erghea ba Qrp 25gu naq n ybat avtugf jbex, jrag fgenvtug gb orq. Zef. Pynhf gevrq jnxvat uvz sbe n yvggyr yngr avtug abbxvr. Nccneragyl ur pnyyrq ure n "Ub, Ub, Ub."

Either that, or,

Fur pnhtug uvz cynlvat jvgu uvf rys.

#9 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 09:13 AM:

Paul A @ 6

I thought that was Boris in the Kremlin ....

#10 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 09:18 AM:

Q. What do sheep in Mexico City say on Christmas morning?

A. Fleece Navidad.

#11 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 09:28 AM:

Santa's little helpers are subordinate Clauses.

#12 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 09:30 AM:

Black Leather Santa is a dominant Claus.

#13 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 10:52 AM:

"Santa" is an adjectival claus.

#14 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 10:53 AM:

Yesterday evening I bought the ingredients for what I refer to as "Disaster-Prone Cherry Pound Cake". It's a great recipe even if there is a tendency for awkward problems to randomly crop up during the preparation.

#15 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 11:11 AM:

OK, I'm clearly a bit undercaffeinated, as I didn't get Jim's jokes until broundy jogged my brain (then I got them all at once).

But #7 really is an old chestnut... Ur bayl pbzrf ohg bapr n lrne!

#16 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 11:55 AM:

Joel #14:

I *did* have a disaster pop up while making madeleines yesterday. I got the fresh package of vanilla out, opened the box, shook the bottle, and got small drops of vanilla all over everything. The plastic cap had cracked somewhere in transit. Polar expeditions were launched in search of replacements, which arrived in short--and good--order.

#17 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 01:15 PM:

BSD #13: I thought Santa was an adverbial claus of time.

#18 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 01:23 PM:

I'm appreciating the jokes, but I want to sing Hosannas to silicon baking sheets. For the non-baker who hates scrubbing metal cookie sheets, the things work (or have on the one recipe I've tried) like a charm. Maybe the results aren't quite as brown as one would like, but the results are otherwise quite acceptable.

We bought this out of a catalog on a whim, and I finally tried it.

#19 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Likewise silicon mats for rolling out dough.

#20 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 01:52 PM:

There's Noel in Christmas 'cuz it's not spelled that way.

#21 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Is there a substitute for corn syrup?

#22 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 02:47 PM:

James D. Macdonald @ #8:

Ur bayl pbzrf bapr n lrne, naq gura vg'f qbja gur puvzarl...

#23 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 03:07 PM:

Not cookies, but Marcia just finished making these for Xmas (recipe lifted from the New York Times):

Spiced Nuts With Sugared Bacon

Time: 50 minutes
2 cups unsalted, roasted mixed nuts (or use all almonds or cashews)
1 1/2 tablespoons egg white, beaten slightly
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Pinch of cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
3/4 pound sliced bacon
1/2 cup light brown sugar.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, toss nuts with egg white, coating nuts evenly. Add granulated sugar, spices, salt and cayenne, and toss to combine.
2. Spread nuts on a baking sheet. Roast, stirring frequently and breaking up any clumps, until nuts are nicely browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Break up any remaining clumps while nuts are still warm; immediately transfer to a bowl.
3. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a nonstick liner (or use parchment paper sprayed with nonstick spray). Arrange bacon in a single layer on baking sheet. Sprinkle a thin, even layer of brown sugar over bacon, coating both sides. Bake until crisp and dark golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Transfer bacon slices to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet (or some paper towels) to cool. Cool. Break bacon into bite-size pieces and mix with nuts.
Yield: 2 cups.
She used all cashews. I wish I could sample them, but I'm recovering from two nasty bouts of diverticulitis and I'm on a strictly low-residue diet that bans nuts.

I'd send it on to John Scalzi, but I bet he's sick of bacon by now.

#24 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 03:14 PM:

I'm glad people are having good results with the silicone baking sheets -- I like silicone mats as cookie sheet liners for specialized items like tuiles and florentines, but I find the sheets and pans too flexible for my own comfort for most applications.

I like PARCHMENT PAPER. Don't bother with the stuff on rolls like foil -- there's never enough of it and it curls up. Go to a restaurant supply house and treat yourself to a box of half-sheet or full-sheet baking parchment (which is, I think, silicone-treated). Perfect nonstick pan liners (never scrub again!) and you can roll out dough between two sheets of it and never worry about adding too much flour during the rolling process, AND you can use it to form up lots of little paper cones to hold your decorating icing.

A box will last a long time and you'll wonder how you got by without it.

#25 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 03:27 PM:

Rikibeth @24:

Bookbinders like parchment paper too. It keeps the dye from wet leather off of the book block, protects surfaces from excess adhesive, and generally acts as a cheap and disposable moisture barrier.

I should look into a box of the stuff, but I often need long strips. So rolls work for me.

#26 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Rikibeth -- glad you're here and commenting. I've been wanting to mention that I made the Mock Shortbread you described in Open Thread 94 (half a recipe fit on a surface a bit bigger than a 13x9 pan). I prebaked it for about 10 minutes, spread it with redcurrent jelly and topped it off with flattened disks of spice cookie dough before I finished baking it (my fine-motor skills don't extend to lattice tops). Sort of improvised Linzer bars. The base dough was great, and I got lots of compliments, so thanks for your generosity with the information.

#27 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 03:35 PM:

#21: I've never actually tried this substitution, but couldn't you use a simple syrup in place of corn syrup?
(i.e., 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Boil water. Dissolve sugar. Let cool.)

Or does corn syrup serve some other purpose besides be sweet and add liquid?

#28 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 03:37 PM:

TexAnne @ 21: what's the reason for the substitution, and what application is it being used in? If I were substituting for the dark corn syrup called for in, say, a pecan pie recipe, I wouldn't hesitate to use maple syrup or a mild molasses. If it were for light corn syrup, that's more tricky; I'd consider glucose syrup, honey (possibly admixed with cane-sugar simple syrup to get the desired texture and to lighten the flavor), or possibly agave nectar (with which I have not experimented sufficiently to offer tips).

Corn syrup functions differently from sugar in several important ways, most having to do with moisture and viscosity.

What are you making?

#29 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 03:43 PM:

TexAnne @ 21: oh, did you mean in the rum balls? Glucose syrup if you can get it, but it's expensive; that'd be the right stickiness and neutrality of flavor. You could probably use agave nectar straight, but again with the expensive. You could cook simple syrup past boiling to, oh, I'd say up to 240 F or "soft ball" stage to get it to be properly sticky, or again, the thinned honey would probably also work.

I've made those rum balls. The corn syrup helps make them malleable and keeps them moist, without adding a flavor of its own.

#30 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Debbie, glad it worked for you! Those improvised Linzer bars sound tasty!

#31 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 04:14 PM:

The recipe for rum balls is very near to my mom's Walnut Bourbon Balls: same quantities of vanilla wafers, confectioner's sugar, and cocoa, 1 cup finely chopped walnuts, 3 tablespoons white corn syrup, and 1/4 cup bourbon; combine in same order as Jim's recipe, roll into 1-inch balls and roll in additional confectioner's sugar. I don't recall seeing her add additional bourbon if the balls don't cohere, but it's possible she did.

What I do recall is that she would never let me try one until I was about twelve. :)

#32 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Sorry, I should've said--I have a friend who's violently allergic to all forms of corn. I'd rather not spend huge amounts of money on agave or whatever, esp. since I don't have easy access to a Whole Paycheck or Central Market. (Or rather, I have the budget for either the spiffy ingredients or the gas to get them with, but not both. I could get 'em over the Internet, but that's not as much fun as a trip to a fabulous grocery store!)

#33 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 05:39 PM:

Try simple syrup or ¼ cup honey. A different flavor but it should work.

#34 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 05:48 PM:

TexAnne - Perhaps cane syrup (Lyle's is the only brand I've ever seen)? It's thicker than corn syrup, but oh my gosh, the difference. I can only find it at the more upscale grocery stores around here (Mpls). I like it much better than corn syrup in almost every application; it's the sekrit ingredient to my all-time favorite cookies, ANZAC bisquits. Mmmmm...

#35 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Simple syrup or honey, gotcha. I can manage both of those. Playing with different varieties of honey could be fun, too, though I might substitute vodka for rum in order to taste the subtleties. (Insert your own "sotelties" joke here. I'm too tired.)

Lyle's--amazingly, I think I've seen it in my local what-passes-for-fancy grocery store. Nifty!

#36 ::: Brenda von Ahsen ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 11:05 PM:

"I might substitute vodka for rum in order to taste the subtleties"

Or maybe an orange flavored liqueur? Grand Mariner's Balls?

#37 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2007, 02:31 AM:

Brenda @36: Blue (Curacao) Balls ?

David @15: But #7 really is an old chestnut...

A bit of a tangent, but... For several years now I've seen pre-packaged chestnuts in the grocery store around this time of year for roasting, but never really felt compelled to try them. Then this year I saw really beautiful-looking Italian chestnuts, just being sold loose by the pound, and I thought I'd give them a shot. I looked up roasting directions on the Internet, and they sounded straightforward -- a lot like what we'd do for fresh peanuts when I was a kid.

What with one thing and another, though, I didn't get around to roasting them for about a month, which I didn't think should be a problem -- they're nuts, right? They should keep for a long time. I was therefore surprised and disappointed to discover upon roasting them that they appeared to have gone bad in their shells -- the nutmeats were soggy and partially covered in black spots that looked and smelled like mold. I later checked my copy of Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking and discovered that you're apparently supposed to store chestnuts in the refrigerator. Argh. Apparently an old chestnut is a nasty thing indeed.[1]

Anybody with experience roasting chestnuts have pointers for how to do it right?

[1] Googling informs me that the chestnut from which the phrase sprung was actually a tree, I'm nevertheless amused by the confluence.

#38 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2007, 02:58 AM:

Can regular table sugar be converted to confectioner's sugar with a coffee grinder?

#39 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2007, 08:01 AM:

Rum Ball Variation:

I don't like Nilla wafers so I replace them with gingerbread cookies (homemade adds goodness). I often replace the rum with bourbon. Lovely things!

#40 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2007, 09:29 AM:

Brenda von Ahsen #36: I think there might be a difference between Grand Marnier and a Grand Mariner.

#41 ::: R. Emrys ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2007, 11:19 AM:

Kevin @ #37:

I use the recipe from Joy of Cooking... and yes, it's still in my mother-in-law's edition, on the shelf next to me. Cut an X in the flat side of each, roast with Xes up at 425 degrees (F) for 15-20 minutes.

Chestnuts keep about a week, even in the fridge. I always buy more than I need, because depending on the harvest 10-30% will be moldy anyway. But they're *so* good! My favorite thing to do with the roasted chestnuts is puree them with a little cream and sherry, heat, and add a bit of nutmeg. The resulting sauce is good on roast beef and amazing on venison.

#42 ::: Cassandra ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2007, 11:42 AM:

I'm Moravian, and I've never seen any rum, frosting or sprinkles in or on the Moravian ginger cookies I've eaten; I suspect that's a later addition as sugar probably came dear in the late 1700's. They're paper-thin and delicious when eaten with tea or vanilla ice cream. Or both. Here's a different recipe, which claims to make "about 200 kazillion cookies."

Alternately, if you're strapped for time, you can just get them at this website. Old Salem is an interesting place to visit.

Another Moravian recipe, Moravian Sugarcake. Traditionally served at Lovefeasts. It's a very Christmas-y food for me, and without this thread to remind me, I never would have made it today with the cookies I'm planning on baking. This is a bread; it's yeasty, chewy, sticky, and delicious. This came from someone at church a few years ago. Best with strong coffee or hot chocolate.

Moravian Sugarcake

- 1 cake yeast
- 1/2 c warm water
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 1/3 c shortening (Crisco is fine)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 c warm mashed potatoes
- 2 c flour, sifted
- small amt. melted butter
- 1 c brown sugar
- 1/3 c butter
- 1/2 c sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon
- Light cream (optional, I don't think I used it the last time I made this)

Sprinkle yeast cake over 1/2 c warm water. Let stand.
Mix granulated sugar with shortening and salt.Add beaten egg and mashed potatoes.
Add yeast mixture and flour (add flour to make dough workable).
Knead for 1 min. on floured board.
Put in greased bowl and grease top of dough.
Cover with towel and put in warm place. Let rise until size has doubled.
Turn out and let rest a few minutes.
Press into greased pie tins no thicker than 3/4 inch. Brush with melted buter and let rise 15 min.
Mix brown sugar and butter together. Make holes with thumb 1 in. apart and fill with brown sugar/butter mixture.
Drizzle with a little light cream.
Sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Bake at 400 deg. F for 20 min. or until brown.

I also have a recipe for fruitcake with brandy sauce if anyone wants it. Nothing like desserts set on fire.

Today's baking:
- almond cinnamon footballs
- gingerbread men
- linzer cookies with various jams
- dough for fruitcake
- Mince tarts with phyllo dough
- Moravian Sugar Cake
- possibly my grandfather's oatmeal cookies, if I have time.

#43 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2007, 12:04 PM:

I think that confectioner's sugar is more than just finely-ground sugar. I believe it contains corn starch or summat to keep it free-flowing. (Weaponized sugar.)

#44 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2007, 12:07 PM:

A couple of weeks ago I bought some unshelled hazelnuts / filberts, and read some "how to roast" instructions, and improvised for my conveniently-available tools.

Preheat toaster oven to 400'F. While that's warming up, use vice grips to crack nut shells, and spread nut meats on broiling pan. Bake for 6 minutes, then turn off toaster oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes before removing pan.

Freshly-roasted hazel nuts are amazingly yummy.

("Nuts for Rikiki? Where nuts?")

#45 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2007, 12:41 PM:

James 43: You are correct, at least in America. The kind that's just very finely ground is called superfine sugar or ultrafine sugar or bar sugar.

#46 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2007, 02:52 AM:

Xopher @45: How's confectioner's sugar different from powdered sugar, then? Or is it the same thing?

R. Emrys @41: That sounds like the roasted chestnut recipe I used. It seemed like all the websites I found were quoting the same recipe -- I wonder if the Joy of Cooking's the place it originated. Thanks for the pointers on keeping chestnuts. Also, that sauce sounds *divine*.

(I still need to pick up a copy of the Joy of Cooking to go with my Betty Crocker cookbook. The latter's a wonderful go-to book for lots of basic knowledge and Midwestern comfort food, and it's got slow-cooker conversions for lots of its soups, which I love, but I occasionally want a recipe Betty doesn't have, usually higher-class cuisine, or just a recipe which starts from fresh ingredients instead of canned ones. I swore to myself I would only have a small number of cookbooks, more for sanity and shelf space's sake than anything, but my resolve is breaking down.)

#47 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2007, 03:46 AM:

Kevin Riggle - avoid JoC at all costs. It is overrated, in my completely not humble opinion.

I would recommend checking out an older Fannie Farmer. The 11th edition is the one I like, but the 13th is not bad.

For a higher-end resource that's easy on the shelf space, check out Epicurious.

Confectioners Sugar and Powdered Sugar are the same thing. Both are, well, powdery.

#48 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2007, 11:30 AM:

I recently got to rummage through my great-aunt-in-law's cookbook collection - the woman never met a cookbook she wouldn't buy. The preponderance of holiday gelatin recipes is astounding. Who knew that "Christmas salad" once meant a three-layer jello? (Top "dressing" layer - mustard gelatin. Middle layer - lime gelatin with celery, cabbage, and carrots. Bottom layer - tomato, of course. All in a festive star-shaped mold.) Er, the point? (Besides sharing my personal nightmare with as wide an audience as possible?) Looking through several versions of JoC was illuminating. The recipe names stay the same, but the amounts/ingredients/instructions change. I've since heard that the older versions give better results.

As far as useful Christmas treat knowledge goes, I recommend truffles. I use my gramma's recipe that just involves good chocolate, heavy cream, (optional liquor), and cocoa powder/sugar for rolling in, and they're easy enough that I made them with a 3-year-old last year. Even the marginally more complicated recipes I could find on the Internet don't take as much effort as they are impressive to their recipients.

#49 ::: R. Emrys ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2007, 12:15 PM:

Kevin @ #46: I don't think there's a whole lot of variation in basic chestnut roasting recipes, given the lack of need for seasoning. Though my JoC does contain an alternate roasting-over-an-open-fire version that begins: "More hazardous, but more fun..."

Tania @ #47: I spent several years thinking that it was overrated too, so I can't really blame you. Lately, though, I've found that it's useful for A) the really basic stuff that no one else explains, like how to roast chestnuts or roll out pie crust, B) the really esoteric stuff, like what to do with that strange fruit you picked up because it looked interesting, or how to make bread when it's eat-locally week and you haven't yet found all-purpose flour. It's a reference book, not a browse-and-find-something-new-to-make-for dinner book. I do wish, even now that I see its uses, that it didn't involve so much calling subroutines from other pages.

My best recommendation for a normal cookbook is Lora Brody's The Kitchen Survival Guide. It includes some getting-started basics like how to substitute, figure out equivalent measurements, and cook vegetables, but also many excellent recipes. I use a lot of them regularly, even now that I know my way around a kitchen without a compass. Most notably, the fudge brownies take 20 minutes and are fool-proof for impressing in-laws, getting in good with secretaries, and thanking people for random acts of kindness.

#50 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2007, 02:58 PM:

R. Emrys @ #49: I learned the basics of cooking from Fannie and my Grandmother. I didn't encounter Joy* until I was in college, and constantly find myself grumbling that someone else explains better. But by then, I'd started a cookbook collection.

The whimsical tone of Joy is great, but the execution, not so much.

*I'd heard of it, but we no one I cooked with had a copy.

#51 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Here is a treat that may hit the spot at this time of the year. But with all the sweet and fat, this is a some time treat.

Choc Chip Baked Pats

How to make them, told in words of one beat by Al of the kin of Bate

This is sized to make three score big pats.

What you need:

• Four and one half cups, flour.

• Two tea spoons, salt.

• Two tea spoons, bake stuff. (I don’t know how best to say its name in words of one beat. Its true name has two words; word two has two beats and is the same as a word for pop or soft drinks.)

• Two cups, white plant fat from a can. (Don’t use milk fat spread or fake milk fat spread—the pats would come out too flat.)

• Four eggs. (When you have cracked the eggs and dropped them in the bowl, wash your hands ere you touch the next thing.)

• One and a half cups, white sweet from the cane. (Use the kind that comes in grains, not the fine as dust kind.)

• One and a half cups, brown sweet from the cane. (Pack it down in the cup as you mete it out.)

• Two tea spoons, taste of white ice cream. (Don’t use the fake stuff. Yes, the real stuff is one third booze, but it goes up in fumes when you cook.)

• One tea spoon, wet from the tap.

• Two, twelve ounce bags of choc chips. (Use the milk choc kind, not the half sweet kind or worse yet the fake kind with but a tinge of choc.)

What to do:

1. In a mix bowl, stir in flour, salt, and bake stuff.

2. In a big mix bowl, stir hard to mix well the white plant fat, the eggs, the white and brown sweet from the cane, the taste of white ice cream, and the water.

3. Pour mix bowl one in mix bowl two; mix well.

4. Stir in choc chips.

5. Heat up the bake box of your stove to a mid high heat. If you’re not sure how hot I mean, look at the back of the choc chip bag.

6. Grease your bake tins with a bit of the white plant fat.

7. Plop the dough on the bake tins in balls an inch wide or so.

8. Bake for nine parts of an hour. (The back of the choc chip bag may say to take more time, but that is wrong. You don’t want the pats to be brown when you take them out.)

9. Don’t try to slide the pats off the bake tin as soon as you take them out of the bake box—they will fall to bits. Let them cool a few parts of an hour.

10. Spread out some old news sheets. Put a waxed sheet on top. Put the pats on the waxed sheet to cool more.

11. Chow down! Don’t hog them all—save some to share with kin and friends.

If you would like to share this tale where all can read, feel free; please just keep my name with it.

#52 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2007, 10:41 PM:

For cookbooks, my usual resort is Laurel's Kitchen. Among other features, they have a nice table for water amounts & time for a wide variety of grains and beans.

#53 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2007, 11:25 PM:

I've "roasted" chestnuts in microwaves, and "toasted" shelled filberts in one, too...

It's only a minute or so for shelled filberts--I was making hot chocolate, with baking chocolate, some cinammon, the filberts, and cocoa powder, trying to melt the chocolate and then put cream in and then hot water, at work...

It's 2-4 minutes, make small cuts in the shells of the chestnuts, to cook chestnuts in a microwave (don't want to overcook nuts in a microwave)

#54 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2007, 03:34 AM:

I'm not a cookbook connoisseur, but the one I find myself using most often is "How to cook everything". I use it much the way R. Emrys uses JoC at #49 - when I can't remember how long to cook a fillet of salmon or the proportions in a basic sauce. When I want actual recipes I usually go with something off of rather than a cookbook.

#55 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2007, 10:03 AM:

I've cooked chestnuts in a microwave oven, but found that they get very dry and tough if they're cooked dry. Slashed and immersed in a mug of water -- the whole thing brought to a boil, then cooked at lower power for about a minute -- they work out okay.

#56 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2007, 04:03 PM:

Shadowsong #54:

Just got "How to Cook Everything" under the tree. Glad to know it's so totally invaluable.

#57 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2007, 05:22 PM:

Those rum balls are similar, but not quite similar _enough_ to my own recipe, which is roughly this:

* Take about 1/4 cocoa to 3/4 ground almonds and mix together. Add sugar to taste (for me, not very much at all).
* Slowly add rum until the mixture is sticky. If you don't want the balls to be dangerous, dilute 50/50 with water.
* Form into balls roughly 5cm diameter and coat with chocolate vermicelli.
* Refrigerate prior to serving.

#58 ::: Kathleen ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2007, 02:26 AM:

It's rather late for Christmas cookies, but never a bad time for cookies [unspecified]. So I proffer the suggestion that bourbon balls are even better made with pecans than with walnuts.

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