Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Diet Cookies

Put a quarter pound of butter and a quarter pound of lard into a small sauce pan to melt. Don’t let it get too hot.

Light the oven and set it to 350F.

Into a large bowl put:

1-1/2 cup of flour
1-1/2 cup of rolled oats
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ cup of granulated white sugar

If your flour has weevils, sift them out. Then whisk all the dry stuff together.

Break-up half a cupful of walnuts into quarter-inch chunks.
Break-up half a cupful of raisins into individual raisins. Mix with the chunked walnuts and fold the mixture into the large bowl containing your other dry ingredients.

Into a bowl of about 2-qt size:

2 regular-size eggs
3 tablespoons dark molasses
Dash of milk

Whip this together into a smooth emulsion. Add the melted grease. Keep whipping. It should form a thick tan batter. (Be damn sure the grease isn’t more than room temperature or it will cook the eggs and make a mess.)

Now add the liquid-stuff to the dry-stuff. Stir & fold until you have a uniformly colored mixture.

If you want thin cookies, leave the dough as it is. If you want thicker cookies, put the dough in the refrigerator or ice-box until it has cooled off. The picture at the opening of this article is of cookies baked from chilled dough. The pix over there on the right is how they come out when the dough is warm.

Scoop the dough out of the bowl in heaping teaspoonfuls. As with most pastries the stuff is mostly grease and will spread like wax as it bakes. Chilling the dough allows it to rise a bit higher and spread slightly less.

Use whatever pan(s) you have. Spray or grease them first. I use pizza pans for just about everything . You can get nine or ten cookie-lumps on a pizza pan.

The cookies are done when their edges are brown for at least a quarter of an inch. When hot, they won’t have any strength so be careful how you scoop them off the pizza pan (or scrap aluminum. Or whatever). Should take ten to twelve minutes depending on your altitude and the accuracy of your oven’s thermometer.

Makes about four dozen.

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You can use any kind of dried fruit you wish, so long as you chunk it up to raisin-size. Ditto for the nuts.

If you got women around, don’t mention the butter & lard. Women go a bit strange when it comes to cooking. (Tell them you used Crisco... which you can, if you wish. But try the Real Stuff first. Big difference in the taste.)

If you're serious about learning how to cook, see Fannie Farmer for how most other folks do it.

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Back when I was writing the Great American Novel I had an agent, a nice lady from Brooklyn who tried terribly hard to sell my bad writing. She was always after me to write something she could sell -- romances or a cookbook. "I can always place a cookbook." How could she be so sure? "Easy! We just stick diet in the title."

There’s no such thing as a diet cookie of course, except in the minds of fat people. Cookies - - good ones - - are mostly sugar and grease with a dab of flour to hold it together. But if you add some fruit & nuts you’ll pick up a few vitamins & minerals (along with more sugar & fat :-) Whatever the case, cuppa black coffee and a couple of cookies will make you a meal when you’re too busy to cook.


(NOTE: A couple of folks took me to task for interrupting my engine assembly narrative with a cookie recipe. But it isn't anything new. If you'll dig around in the blog you'll find posts describing how I make biscuits, beans and how to cook in the boondocks. In fact, most of my travel reports [Alaska, Baja, etc.] include a few recipes. These happen to be pretty good cookies, something worth sharing.)