Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Make ahead recipe #1

As I was working in the kitchen this past Sunday morning, I became aware that the home cooking I was doing was all linked to a do ahead effort.  All 3 recipes were favorites.  One coming from my mom, one from my husband's father, and one from a friend of 50+ years.  So all are etched into my heart and riding on my waist from years of cooking and eating them.  I will post each separately over the next week.

The first recipe is for 
Grandpa Taylor's Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup shortening
1  cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal  (I use regular "slow" 5 minute oatmeal.)
1/2 c chopped walnuts (I use a cup, because we love nuts.)

Thoroughly cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat well.  Sift together flour, salt, and soda; add to creamed mixture.  (I just dump the flour, salt and soda in, unsifted.)  Stir in the oats and nuts.  Mix.
Form dough in rolls 1" to 1 1/2" in diameter.  Wrap in foil or plastic wrap OR follow method below.
Chill thoroughly.  ( Several hours or over night  or 2 hours in freezer.)
With sharp knife, slice cookies 1/4" thick.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes of until lightly browned.  Makes about 5 dozen.

Now Grandpa Taylor came up with this method of shaping and slicing the dough.
Fill clean, empty juice concentrate cans with the dough, instead of shaping it into rolls.
Tap the dough down by hitting the sealed side on a hard surface. (I take the cans outside and hit them on the concrete porch, which compacts the dough nicely and is kind of fun.)
This recipe fills 3 - 12 oz. juice cans.  Cover the open side and refrigerate or freeze.
When the dough is thoroughly chilled, remove the lid from the second side of the cylinder.
Using a 12 oz. Coors can (or other beverage that has the correct 2 1/4" width), as a plunger
on the cardboard edge side of the can, push the dough out of the juice can. 
Let the dough warm slightly, if it is difficult to get it going.
Push up 1/4" of dough and slice.  Push up another 1/4" of dough and slice and continue until all the dough has been pushed out.

The nice things about this method are the cookies are uniform in shape, the dough doesn't flatten out when it is sliced and  the dough stores easily in refrigerator or freezer until you want to bake it.

After they are baked and cool,
I use some jumbo baking cups as separators when I store cookies.  This helps in keeping the cookies from sticking together, and it looks fancy in the jar.

Later in the week, pizza bread and bran muffin recipes that are great for do ahead occasions.

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol

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