Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's Inventors' Day: Let's Play a Game!

I like to play these kinds of games with a nice setting of milk and cookies by my side. How about you? Cookies and milk are especially good when I'm working on a crossword puzzle. "In the old days" (the days before the move to PA:) a package of Pepperidge Farm® Milano® Cookies would be the cookies of choice. I find them delicate enough for dunking (yes I'm a dunker from way back:) should I decide to have milk or tea when settling down with a magazine or a puzzle. Books are a different story. Like most of you, I don't really have time for games these days. However, todays is Inventors' Day, a day worthy of a quick match game and a plate of freshly baked cookies. Let's play!!!

Milk & Cookies

There was no way I was going to get to the store today to pick up a package of my favorite "game" cookies. There's about a foot of snow outside my door. Instead, I decided to venture out via a Cocoa Pinwheel Cookie recipe I found in a 1977 Ideal's Hershey's Chocolate & Cocoa Cookbook that I was just about to relocate to the garage for our community yard sale come spring. Don't quote me on this but I think Pinwheel Cookies fall into the category of refrigerator cookies or slice and bake cookies (as opposed to mold cookies or pressed cookies, I think:) Or is that ice-box cookies?

I'm calling my version of these cookies Vanilla & Chocolate Pinwheels because instead of using one full cup of granulated sugar, I used the remainder of the vanilla sugar I had "fermenting" for quite a while. I just replaced about half the granulated plain sugar with granulated vanilla sugar. That's about it! The cookie dough was actually very easy to work with and as soon as it got too soft, I wrapped it up in wax paper and let it chill for about an hour. If I were to ever make these again, I wouldn't roll the dough into a ball before chilling. I would make it more rectangular or in the shape of a square ball. I'm sure it would have made it a heck of a lot easier to roll it flat into a square if I didn't start with a ball. Still without a rolling pin, I used my trusty napkin holder dowel again. It worked just fine. (I added rolling pin to my new kitchen accessory list:)

Vanilla & Chocolate Pinwheels
1/2 cup butter
1 3-ounce package cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar (here's where I used half vanilla sugar)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla (I used Watkins Vanilla)
1-1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder (I like aluminum free)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa
3/4 cup sifted flour (this flour goes in at the end)
1. Cream butter, cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl combine 1-1/2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture; blend well.
3. Divide dough in half. (I eye balled it:)
4. Blend cocoa into one half of the dough. Shape and refrigerate while preparing remainder of the dough.
5. Take the remainder of the vanilla dough and add the saved 3/4 cup of flour. Shape and refrigerate 15 minutes for easy handling.
6. Remove from refrigerator and roll each portion into a 9-inch square. (You won't need additional flour, it's very easy to work with and shouldn't stick.) Place chocolate layer on top of vanilla (or visa versa:) Roll up jelly roll style and wrap dough tightly in waxed paper or plastic wrap. (Colleen put her Peanut Butter Chocolate Pinwheel Cookie dough upright in a glass to keep its round shape.) Great idea Huh? Chill at least one hour or overnight. Slice dough 1/4-inch thick and place on un-greased cookie sheet. (they don't spread so you can put them pretty close together) (The Purple Foodie shared her tip for slicing in the Nutella Pinwheel Cookies post she shared for World Nutella Day)
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minnutes or until lightly browned.
8. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen cookies. 
My Note: That's way too many cookies for me. I'm going to try a little experiment. I'm going to cut the roll down into 3 logs and put two in the freezer and keep one in the fridge. My son's birthday is this weekend and if per chance, I happen to be cooking dinner, I'll just grab Pinwheels from the freezer. I think these will freeze just fine. Enjoy!

Match the Links Game

Now for the game. It's easy really. Just match the person in the column on the left with their Months of Edible Celebrations link on the right. The hints at the top should give you an idea of what Tasteful Inventions have been shared in previous months. Don't worry, the answers are at the bottom of this post. Have fun!!!

Cocoa Powder
Root Beer Float
Eskimo Pie
Irish Coffee
Nutcracker, Nutpick
Paper Drinking Straw
Pop Rocks, Cool Whip & Tang
Match the Links
A: C. J. Van Houten
B: Frank Wisner
C: Christian K. Nelson
D: Chef Joe Sheridan
E: Henry Quackenbush
F: Marvin Stone
G: William A. Mitchell
1: Pop Rocks, Cool Whip & Tang!
2: Nutcrackers, Nutpicks @ MIT
3: Drinking Straw Day
4: Irish Coffee Day
5: The Black Cow
6: Eskimo Pie Day
7: Chocolate Milk Powder Day

Match Game Answers

Wasn't that fun? So, How'd you do? Here are the answers. 
A & 7-Coenraad Johannes Van Houten invented the process of making cocoa powder in 1828.
B & 5-Many credit Charles Elmer Hires as inventor of the Black Cow otherwise known as a Root Beer Float. However, legend has it that soda shop owner, Frank Wisner not only "invented" the soda fountain drink, he named it after the Cow Mountains of Cripple Creek, Colorado. The Black Cow
C & 6-Christian K Nelson was a high school teacher who invented the Eskimo Pie.
D & 4-Legend has it that one night in 1942, Chef Joe Sheridan was serving coffee at the Shannon Airport when it occured to him that tired travelers needed a little something extra. He sweetened hot coffee with sugar, a dram of Irish whiskey and floated a dollop of lightly-whipped cream on top. "A delectable brew was born."
E & 2-Henry Quackenbush's first successful invention was the extension ladder. His company manufactured products ranging from rifles to kitchen gadgets. His most successful kitchen gadget invention came in 1878 when he created the first nutcracker and nutpick.
F & 3-Legend has it that Marvin Stone invented the first paper drinking straw while sipping a mint julep after work.
G & 1-The General Foods research scientist who invented Pop Rocks, Cool Whip and Tang was named William A. Mitchell.


Today is also Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, the birthday of Paul Bocuse, touted as the ambassador of French cuisine, the birthday of Lydia Marie Child, author of The American Frugal Housewife AND, the day the television program The French Chef made its debut with Julia Child in 1963.
Can you guess from this riddle what day tomorrow is, besides Abraham Lincoln's birthday?

Flowers of England, Fruit of Spain
Met together in a shower of rain;
Put in a bag, tied round with string.
If you tell me this riddle, I'll give you a ring.

1. Pepperidge Farm® recipe archive
2. Tasteful Inventions (my other blog)
3. Log Cabin Fever (Abe Lincoln's 200th birthday last year, has a Log Cabin Syrup die-cut cookbook posted, very cool)