Category Archives: cookies

Recipe: Flapjacks

Idly flipping through the pages of the March Bon Appetit, I happened upon this recipe for British Flapjacks, a cookie vaguely resembling Rice Krispie Treats in technique and granola bars in results. But don’t mistake me, they’re the most delicious granola bars I can imagine–and I don’t even like granola bars. Since butter, sugar, and quick-cook oats are things we always have on hand, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try Flapjacks. We expected to pick up some golden syrup at the Woodstock Safeway (which actually has a British aisle), but that didn’t happen. Instead, I substituted molasses with dark corn syrup to thin it slightly (if you go all-molasses, be careful: the cookies will be much, much harder; corn syrup keeps them somewhat soft by preventing the sugar from crystallizing). For a more interesting texture, you can sub half the quick-cook oats for regular old-fashioned oats. Continue reading

Date Bars

date bars

date bars

Schatzi: I can and will wax rhapsodic about Liliha Bakery (Coco Puffs! Hot cross buns! The pancakes! Real ice cream sodas!), and I go every time I have the chance, but I can also try like fun to replicate their recipes at home. Particularly since they’re roughly three thousand miles away from me at the moment.

One of my favorite treats from Liliha Bakery are their date bars. They are a humble treat, a bit homely and simple, but luscious and richly sweet;. They are sold in a homely package consisting of a paper tray in a plastic sack, and are dark, thumb-sized bars dusted with confection sugar, and at first site are rather unprepossessing. But once you put them in your mouth–! These are not a bar cookie like a lemon bar, with a crust and filling;they’re almost more confection than cookie, really. In fact, I’ve never seen anything like them elsewhere.
click here for more pictures and a Date Bar recipe!

Christmas Cookies: Toffee Bars

Toffee Bars

Toffee Bars

Schatzi: These are quick and simple, and one of my favorite Christmas cookies. When I was little and hated nuts on things (I didn’t like biting on anything hard), Mom would leave them off part of the pan for me. I’m not sure when or where the recipe dates from; Mom’s recipe card has no date or sourse, only the note “ono!” in the upper right-hand corner, and a comment that almonds are the best, then pecans. (I prefer pecans.) According to Gourmet,  Toffee Bars were popular during the Eighties, which is when I was growing up, but I have a published copy of a nearly identical recipe (using Spry Shortening, no less) dated 1960. Gourmet’s version of Toffee Bars from the 80s, however,  is a bit more complicated than it needs to be.

Try them with dark chocolate chips, too.

click here for the Toffee Bars recipe!

Christmas Cookies: Fruitcake Bar Cookies

this years batch

this year's batch

Schatzi: So I came across the original of this recipe last year while idly paging through a Real Simple from the previous year (see, I am vindicated in my habit of holding onto magazines), and was immediately intrigued. After all, I do love fruitcake. As a “fruitcake cookie,” however, it was distinctly lacking. One cup of cranberries and one cup of nuts? The cranberries are a nice touch, but those proportions hardly make it fruity! Since I already had extra fixings from the Fruitcake Cookies, I decided to experiment a little. I added golden raisins, and I also added the glaceed fruits that are the trademark of the modern American fruitcake. (You could use a mix of glaceed fruits, or combine citron, cherries, pineapple, and citrus peels in your own preferred proportions to equal one cup. If those types of fruit are just too unbearable, one could probably make a delicious variation on this recipe with just dried fruits: cranberries, raisins, currants, dates, cherries, blueberries, apricots, etc. In fact, I may have to try that later this week!)

The proportions in which I added fruit last year weren’t quite enough, so this year’s batch had more, and the difference is visible. I also added a dash of spice this year because they seemed a little bland, otherwise. The end results were surprisingly delicious and popular–even with a few people who don’t care for fruitcake.

I must say, though, these are only superficially like fruitcake. They simply don’t have the moist, rich density or complex flavor of a good fruitcake. They more closely resemble lebkuchen, the German gingerbread.

EDIT: This Christmas (2009), I further experimented with the recipe, substituting one tablespoon of molasses for one of corn syrup, and it made such a difference in these cookies! The texture was much softer, more like that of a brownie than a cookie, and the flavor was much deeper and spicier. I left some corn syrup in to keep sugar from crystallizing and to also hold it together a bit. The recipe has been altered to reflect this. Also, if you do not or cannot eat nuts, it is perfectly delicious without them. Everyone raved about these this year, more so even than last year; they were nearly a different cookie entirely, and makes them much more closely resemble a fruitcake taste and texture.

continue reading for the Fruitcake Brownie recipe

Christmas Cookies: Fruitcake Cookies

Fruitcake Cookies

Fruitcake Cookies from LHJ circa 1977

Schatzi: It seems that one either loves fruitcake or hates it. Well, count me among the former, because I could maow fruitcake all the livelong day. These cookies can  satisfy my cravings for liquor-soaked, nutty-fruity deliciousness all season long. These Fruitcake Cookies were a Christmas staple in my mother’s household for as long as I can remember–and according to the recipe card, were around even before I was. I always remember them being there at Christmas, but it must have been when I was twelve that these became my particular responsibility every year. I use both red and green glace cherries to top them with for a more festive approach, but you could stick with just one color. I also have adapted her recipe slightly to fit my currently tight budget, but these are delicious either way. And as you can see on her original recipe card below the cut, a half batch is pretty large. I like Myers’s Rum’s delicious, rich, and boozy cookie, but we made them with bourbon for years, so don’t worry about the right liquor. Anything flavorful will do: dark rum, whiskey, brandy. After they cool, store them for a few weeks to ripen for the best flavor.
continue reading for the Fruitcake Cookies recipe