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16-Lancaster Farming, Saturday, December 27, 2003
Katie Ranck and Peggy Good break apart and taste test
festive chocolate bark (see recipe in article).
From left Bonnie Ranck and Pat Redmond ready cook
ies for a busy oven.
Three generations gather to bake and exchange cookies. From left are Esta Hake,
Sue Nelson, Lorraine Nissley, Curtis Kunjappu, Pat Redmond, Robin Shoff, Peggy Good,
and Bonnie Ranck.
Pat and Peg share a laugh as they work on packaging cookies.
LEOLA (Lancaster Co.)
Cookies, cookies everywhere.
Baked for fun, made to share
Cookies by the pound
A better way has not been
To make these confections
Favorite Christmas treats
Than to make them together
Celebrating good eats!
There must he lots of choco
(The kinds are limitless!)
Chocolate crinkles, chocolate
chips, or garnished with a
There are other favorites,
(date halls are always
Along with sand tarts.
The varieties abound.
So pul on your apron
Or don your chef’s hat.
It's time to bake cookies
That’s where the Christmas
Everyone wants to make the
most of the holidays, however
with church programs, trips to
shopping malls, office parties, or
family get-togethers, you may
find yourself “dashing through
the snow” and wondering where
the spirit of Christmas has gone.
To enjoy the season and be
productive at the same time, sev
eral generations of the Nissley
family have been combining
forces and doing a cookie bake
and exchange for many years.
stmas Without Cookies?
The annual event allows them to
not only get an abundance of
cookies, but also time to enjoy
being together over the holidays.
“Even if I lived in California I
would come home for the cookie
bake,” said Pat Redmond.
Family members take turns
hosting the day. Sisters, aunts,
mothers, daughters, and cousins
come to cookie bake day, antici
pating a day of laughter, catching
up, and of course eating warm
cookies right from the oven. Ev
eryone brings one, two, or even
three kinds of cookies, bars, or
bread loaves to share. Although
most of the confections are al
ready baked, the time together
would not be the same without
lots of cookies being made
throughout the day.
This year about 70 dozen cook
ies were distributed between the
bakers. Even though the number
is substantial, the cookies are
used as gifts for coworkers, teach-
ers, bus drivers, and friends,
served at holiday parties, or sent
to far-off relatives, so they are
quickly eaten by eager taste-test
This year peanut blossoms,
pecan tussies, chocolate crinkles,
festive chocolate baik, blueberry
and cranberry bread, double
chocolate snowquakes, toffee
bars, molasses drops, peanut but
ter temptations, dateballs, Chinese
chews, and chocolate chip, cream
cheese, and cherry icebox cookies
were baked and exchanged.
Although some of the same
cookie selections show up each
year, the bakers also try new vari
eties and exchange recipes.
Whether or not you bake cook
ies by yourself or with others,
here are a few hints and tips to
make holiday baking fun. Al
though it’s too late for this year’s
pre-Christmas baking, clip this
article for reference for next
year’s baking marathon.
These tips are from allreci
Fats (butter, margarine, short
ening, and oil), are the main pla\
»rs in how the cookii ‘'oreads
Shortening and margarine are
more stable than butter, which
helps keep cookies in their origi
nal shape. Oil will also help cook
ies keep their original shape. But
ter melts at a lower temperatures
than those other fats, so cookies
may spread out more, however
many people prefer the taste that
butter lends to cookies. Addition-
ally, the amount of fat plays a
role, since more fat will mean
that the cookies will tend to be
flatter and chewier to crispier.
Fluffier cookies come with less
Flour is also a consideration,
since flours with a high protein
content (bread and all-purpose
flours) will yield cookies that tend
to be flatter, darker, and crispier
in contrast to cookies made with
cake or pastry flour.
Sugar is also a consideration.
White sugar makes a crisper
cookie than brown sugar or
honey. Brown sugar in cookies
actually absorbs moisture, so the
cookies will stay chewy. Lowering
the amount of sugar called for in
a recipe will make the cookies
Eggs "are a staple in many
cookie recipes. If egg is the liquid,
it will help make the cookies
fluffy, while water or other liq
uids will make the cookies
Also, egg yolks will help to add
moistness while the whites will
make the cookies drier.
The way you make your cook
ies is also important. The
creaming step where the fat
and the sugar are whipped to
gether until fluffy pulls air into
the batter. While you need this
air to make your baking soda
and/or baking powder work, be
Combine the wet and dry in
gredients, but do not whip them.
Your oven also helps to de
termine your cookie’s final ap
Chilling the dough will help
the cookies hold their shape and
be a little more cakelike.
Besides your oven, you will
also want to think about your
cookie sheets. While your great
great grandmother’s thin sheet
may hold sentimental value, buy
ing a newer, insulated baking
sheet will allow air movement
and produce puffier cookies.
Standard semi-thick sheets will
yield flat crisp cookies. Greasing
your sheets will also help the
cookies to spread, however you
run the risk of cookies sticking to
the sheet, so parchment papei
may He ■* ;orvi investment for the
serious cookie DaKer.
Do not be afraid to slightly un
derbake your cookies if you want
cookies to be chewy. The edges
can be slightly golden but the
middle will look slightly raw.
Here are two new recipes from
the Nissley family’s cookie bake
1 'A cups all-purpose flour
(Turn to Page B 8)