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Entries in Cookies (172)

Thursday
May132010

Prettier in Pink: An Updated History on Uncle Seth's Pink Frosted Cookie

It's fun to revisit the past sometimes, isn't it?

It's been a few years since this post about the history of Seattle regional specialty the Pink Frosted Cookie, so just to update you, here's the original post which included the history of the cookie from the official Pinks Original Bakery (formerly Mostly Muffins) site (the company which purchased the cookie's rights and recipe):

Uncle Seth’s Cookie was a concept developed from a passion of fun and feeling good. From the high mountain tops of Bali came the inspiration for the feel good cookie. Danny Brown, the originator and inventor of the Original Pink, also known as an Uncle Seth Cookie, found a kindred spirit in a man named Seth. Seth moved from a crazed urban setting better known as the City, to live his dream of peace in the mountains. The namesake of the Uncle Seth Cookie gave tribute to this man named Seth who changed his life for the sake of fun and happiness. To bring a bit of that passion and fun to light, Danny created a cookie that says eat me because you can. This cookie has a good aura. After nine years of hand rolling this Danish Shortbread, Danny too, decided to head for the hills. Mostly Muffins purchased Uncle Seth’s Cookies in 1996 and Danny was off to live in Hawaii!


Mostly Muffins now proudly carries on the tradition of fun and feeling good by serving the Original Pink to the entire Northwest community. Eat one of the Original Pink Cookies and you can’t help but smile!

But since this writeup, a few of the blanks have been filled in, per an email from a Provo, UT reader:

The Pink Cookies craze actually started in Provo, UT. (Danny's home town). I remember seeing the girls frosting the Pink cookies by hand in a little store front shop just South of the BYU campus. This was in 1983 - 1984 time frame. I lived across the street and I would buy the broken frosted cookies from them for real cheap,  The Pink Cookie craze grew all over Provo and then expanded to others area of Utah county and Salt lake City. 

Danny saw a good business idea and moved to Seattle to start the Pink Cookie craze in Seattle.  When he moved to Hawaii, he helped start a bakery in Halaiwa, on the North shore of Oahu. 

And even further, there is this tale from the Orem, UT-based Granny B, who also claims to have invented the cookie:

Granny B (Blackett) was born on November 08, 1915. She loved making cookies for others, and she loved sitting down with her children and enjoying these fresh-baked goodies. Using prized family recipes, Granny B learned to create the softest and most delicious cookies – cookies that tranformed every-day occasions into delightful celebrations. She would be tickled pink to know how many “celebrations” her Granny B cookies create for folks across the country every day.

Granny B passed on the love of baking delicious cookies to her daughter, Diane. As Diane remembers, “We would spend hours together talking and baking.  It was great fun and where I learned all the little baking secrets”  With Diane in the kitchen, the Blackett family cookies began decorating more events, celebrating more parties, and rewarding and motivating more good behavior from her brothers. The pink cookie became a family recipe for fun.

A magnet on the fridge read, “A balanced diet is a cookie in both hands.”

So, as it seems, the cookie does have a storied past in multiple cities--perhaps this also explains why such delicious variations (not pink frosted, but tastes just as good--even better) can be found in the Provo area!

But why is it that the cookie thrived in Seattle? I'm still sticking to my original theory: it comes down to two things. The first aspect is timing: the cookie got its start being sold in coffee carts just as the coffee business was starting up in earnest in Seattle; naturally, they would appeal for the same reasons that coffee is so popular in the area--the climate just begs for rich treats and coffee during those rainy days that take up oh, eight months of the year. The second and perhaps more important aspect? Duh--The frosting color. there's no secret that pink frosting tastes better than any other color.


Not in the Seattle or Provo area but want a pink frosted cookie? I hear you: similar-looking products can be found online at Granny B's here--or--even better, we found a recipe which is said to yield a very similar taste to the original Uncle Seth's Cookie, right here at allrecipes.com.

 

 

Wednesday
May122010

Bananarama: The Banana Jumbo Cookie

It's no secret that Betty Crocker's Cooky Book is like, my favorite cookbook ever.But one of the most interesting sections? The one called "Heritage Cookies", which is introduced thusly:

Recipes we know and use today came from 'round the wrold to the thirteen isolated colonies of America. Plain and hearty cookies were the gustatory pleasure of our pioneers...though our tastes may now be trained...to select a fancy frosted cooky...these cookies of our forefathers have won an enduring place in our hearts.

The recipe for the Banana Jumbo comes from this section of the book. And though these humble cookies are flavorful on their own, I had happened to receive a sample of Sassy Sauces in the mail around the same time I made these, and I learned that they are even better with a thick dollop of milk chocolate caramel sauce. And I totally don't consider this disrespecting the original recipe, 'cos you know what? Bet our forefathers would have used the chocolate sauce too, had it been at their disposal.

Banana Jumbos

Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

Ingredients

 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large, or 3 small, mashed very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

 Procedure 

  1. Make the cookies. Mix butter, sugar, and eggs thoroughly. 
  2. Stir in the bananas, milk, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda, and salt; stir in, bit by bit, until the mixture is fully combined.  
  4. Let the dough chill for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 F. 
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, drop rounds of dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between cookies as they will spread a bit. 
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges. Let cool completely on a wire sheet. Now, they are delicious as-is, but as I found out, they're even better when drizzled with some sort of glaze or frosting. 
Wednesday
May052010

Baked Bliss: Chocolate Mudslide Cookies from The Newlywed Kitchen

I'm not a newlywed, but I sure do like to eat like one.

That is, ever since I discovered the Chocolate Mudslide Cookie recipe in the newly released book The Newlywed Kitchen: Delicious Meals for Couples Cooking Together by CakeSpy buddy Lorna Yee, Ali Basye, and photographed by Kathryn Barnard.

Now, I hear rumors that the savory recipes are good, and I can attest that the stories which accompany the recipes are sweet and engaging.

But what made me fall in love, so to speak, was the aforementioned Chocolate Mudslide Cookie. Comprised basically of chocolate on chocolate, with a little flour and butter thrown in, these cookies seemed not only easy to make, but sort of like a one-way ticket to pleasuretown.

Happily, the recipe lived up to all expectations, yielding a soft, rich, cookie which is absolutely redolent with chocolate and which is very nearly perfect. But I've found one way to make it even better: save a tiny bit of that warm chocolate mixture from step 2 (or better yet, make a little extra) and sandwich two of the cookies together with that. Now that's what I call sweet wedded bliss.

Chocolate Mudslide Cookies

Lightly adapted from The Newlywed Kitchen

Makes about 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

 

(Note: Original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped. I have nothing against walnuts but realized that I had none once I'd already started baking, and went without. They tasted fine!)

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chopped chocolate with the sugar and butter. Microwave in 20 second intervals, until about 80 percent of the chocolate is melted. Stir the mixture, and the rest should melt from the heat of the melted chocolate. Let cool to room temperature while you do the following steps.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
  4. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. Slowly pour the microwaved mixture into the eggs in three additions, stirring between each addition. Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate batter until combined, then stir in the walnuts (if you're using them) and chocolate chips.
  5. On two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, drop heaping tablespoons of the cookie dough, leaving room for the cookies to spread (about 8 cookies per sheet). Use only the middle or upper rack for these cookies, as they may burn on the lower rack.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. They will be slightly soft when they come out of the oven, but will become more firm as they cool. If they last that long.

 P.S. Interested in more of Lorna's recipes? Well, here's a little heads up: save the date for June 6, when we'll be having a Red Velvet Cake tasting at CakeSpy Shop! More details to come!

Wednesday
Apr212010

Crammed with Graham: Golden Grahams Cookies

Oh, I'm sorry. Are you still eating your cereal with a spoon, in a bowl, like a jerk?

Well, it's time to turn it around--instead of pouring milk on your cereal, you should be dunking it in milk--in cookie form, obvi.

When I came across the recipe for Trix Cookies in Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, I was curious to see how it might work out with other cereals --starting with what I happened to have on hand, Golden Grahams (a cereal which, as I recently learned, is associated with a grant). Turns out, it works just fine, yielding a lightly crisp, spicy cookie which gets a chewiness from the oats. A cookie that combines some of the finest breakfast carbo-loading in one compact cookie form? Count me in.

Here's the recipe.

Golden Grahams Cookies

Makes many cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 4 cups Golden Grahams

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350 (original recipe called for 375, but I found 350 with a slower bake made for softer cookies).
  2. Mix butter, sugar, egg, almond extract, and water well.
  3. Blend flour, soda and salt; mix in to the butter-sugar mixture gradually.
  4. Mix in rolled oats and cereal.
  5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure to leave about an inch and a half around each cookie. Bake 12-14 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges.
Monday
Apr122010

Mixing it Up: Inside Out Peanut Butter Cups for Serious Eats

Chocolate peanut butter cups are undoubtedly one of the finer things in life.

But I have my reservations about the construction: the chocolate gets your hands messy and there never seems to be enough peanut butter.

So what would happen if you turned a peanut butter cup inside-out? To find out, I started by using a peanut butter bar cookie crust recipe for the outer shell, then filled them with a peanut butter fudge mixture, thus increasing the peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio dramatically.

While the crumbly nature of the crust doesn't make them much neater to eat, taste-wise, it's a whole new ballgame. It's like the fudgy center is getting a big peanut butter bear hug from the cookie coating. And it's delicious.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Apr122010

Sublime: The Lime Cornmeal Cookie from Amy's Bread, NYC

Today I'd like to tell you about the subtle but sublime pleasure that is the Lime Cornmeal Cookie from Amy's Bread in NYC.

This cookie isn't flashy in appearance--it's actually rather unassuming. It would be easy to pass it up for something more classic like chocolate chip or oatmeal, or for something sexier like the double chocolate pecan.

But if you do opt for it, you're in for a sweet reward.

The crumb is lightly coarse and gritty-textured from the cornmeal, but a healthy amount of butter somehow keeps it tender and cohesive (happily, it doesn't crumble apart like its cousin cornbread likes to), and the sugar and lime add sweet and tart hints that perhaps don't sing, but definitely hum, in a very pleasing way. 

A lightly sweet cookie like this is refreshing and hearty all at once--and the cornbread almost makes it feel healthy. At least healthy enough that I'd consider it a completely appropriate breakfast cookie.

Amy's Bread has three NYC locations; visit their website, amysbread.com, to find out more. If you're not in NYC, the recipe for this cookie can be found in the book The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread: Cakes, Cookies, Bars, Pastries and More from New York City's Favorite Bakery.

Monday
Apr052010

Sweet Seconds: Leftover Easter Candy Cookies for Serious Eats

In my mind, Easter candy falls into one of two categories. There are the show pieces—the chocolate bunny, Cadbury Creme eggs, and those addictive Reese's peanut butter eggs, for instance—which tend to disappear rapidly. And then there's the filler—the jelly beans, the Peeps, and those little malted eggs, which look pretty in the basket but aren't consumed quite as quickly.

But I feel for the filler, really I do, and so I tried my hand at designing a desirable delivery vehicle for these assorted pastel leftovers: the Leftover Easter Candy Cookie. I started out with a basic drop cookie recipe and added in a cup of assorted leftovers, including Easter corn, jelly beans, cut-up Peeps, and malted egg candies.

To read the full entry and find the recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Sunday
Apr042010

Stock Up on Delicious: Economic Crunch Cookies by Sugar Bakery and Cafe, Seattle

The phrase "economic crunch" is pretty common these days, and usually it does not have a positive connotation.

However, at Sugar Bakery + Cafe in Seattle, the economic crunch is delicious.

"Economic Crunch Cookies" as they call them, are of one of the tastiest cookies I've sampled in a while: a crunchy sugar cookie made with almonds, toffee, chocolate, coconut, all of which is coated in coarse, sparkly sugar.

They are crunchy, savory, sweet, lightly salty, and chewy, all at once: this is to say, basically, they hit all the bases of what makes a cookie awesome...simultaneously. 

Or, as owner Stephanie Crocker (no relation to Betty), so aptly puts it: "They are like crack cookies so watch out…".

To taste the crunch for yourself, visit Sugar Bakery + Cafe at 1014 Madison Street, Seattle (be sure to call ahead to ensure availability of the cookies); or check 'em out online at sugarbakerycafe.com.

Tuesday
Mar302010

Cookie Question: What's the Difference Between Macarons and Macaroons?

It's a true cookie mystery: what's the deal with macarons and macaroons? After all, their names are very similar, but the cookies are seemingly very different: one is a refined, Frenchie sweetburger, and the other a frumpy lump of coconut flakes.

But you know what? They are in fact related. While they may not be part of the same immediate family, they definitely come from the same family tree. Here's an excerpt from a CakeSpy post on macaroons which was originally posted in April 2008.

The Macaron: While there is evidence of meringue-type cookies going as far back as the 1500s, as I learned from Wikipedia, the macaron in its current form is generally accepted as taking shape in the late 1700s when two Benedictine nuns, Sister Marguerite and Sister Marie-Elisabeth were seeking asylum in the town of Nancy during the French Revolution, and paid for their housing by baking and selling the macaron cookies. However, these original macarons were simply cookie rounds--it wasn't until the 1930s that fancy tea room Ladurée began serving the cookies in a new way, with a sweet ganache filling between two of the traditional rounds. Naturally, the sweet filling and flavor and texture contrast caught on, and the l'il Luxembourgers began to take the world by storm (read more about the Frenchie ones in this fantastic writeup by one of my favorite foodies, Robyn Lee).

The Macaroon: However, veering on a different path than Ladurée, as I learned from The Nibble, the cookie also gained popularity with the Italian Jewish population because it requires no flour or leavening (the agent that raises and lightens a baked good, like yeast, baking powder and baking soda—instead, macaroons are leavened by egg whites) and can be enjoyed during Passover. Naturally, due to a high level of deliciousness, it gained popularity all over Europe as a year-round sweet, and regional variations popped up. The coconut macaroon seems to have gained popularity first in Glasgow, Scotland; it is most likely from here that it hopped over the pond and captured the hearts of Americans.

So, there you have it--the story of one humble cookie which has taken two very different paths--with countless other small variations on both styles. Of course, as with so many things, this knowledge is best applied with real-life experience, and so I suggest you eat one of each, macaroon and macaron, as soon as possible.

Tuesday
Mar302010

Fail, Saved: Making Good of a Bad Recipe

Last week I bought this adorable Springtime Linzer Cookie Cutter Set from Cookies in Seattle, for my weekly Serious Eats post (which you can check out here).

However, before I found recipe success, I had to deal with recipe failure.

Being infinitely curious about back-of-the-box recipes, I decided to first try the recipe printed on the back of the kit.

Here's what they looked like before they went in the oven:

and here's what they looked like when they came out.

Noooo! Where could I have gone wrong? The original recipe suggested letting the dough rest for 2 hours; I let it rest overnight. Too long?

Regardless of appearance, the cookies still did taste good: almost like sugar cookie crackers.

And when sandwiched with a thick dollop of lemon curd in the middle, these crunchy cookie sandwiches would almost have you believe they'd been made this way on purpose.

Here's the recipe (which, by the way, I would not suggest if you want perfectly formed cutout cookies--rather, try this one instead). I am writing it as it appeared on the package, but with steps 4 and 5 the perfect cutouts might not work the way you'd like, if my experience was any indication:

Failed Linzer Cookies (AKA Sugar Cookie Crackers)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour

to fill:

  • 1 jar lemon curd (or whatever preserves you'd like, or frosting, etc)

 Procedure

  1. Mix butter, orange extract and sugar.
  2. Stir in one cup of flour at a time, mixing well.
  3. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours.
  4. Roll out 1/2 of dough on a cookie sheet to 1/4 inch thick and chill 30 more minutes. Cut with the Linzer cutter without an insert. Remove excess dough and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.
  5. Roll out the other half of the dough on a second cookie sheet, once again chilling for 30 minutes. Cut with the Linzer Cutter fitted with the insert or inserts of your choice. Remove excess dough and bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Cool completely.
  6. If your cookies came out Linzer-iffic, then good for you (jerk). If not, sandwich them with lemon curd or your choice of filling and enjoy.
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