Friday, September 21, 2012

Cookies, Cones and a Birthday!

Surprised to see me so soon??? Me too!!! I hadn't planned on posting today but when I realized that it was September 21st, things changed. You see, not only is today National Pecan Cookie Day, it also happens to be a very special "gal's" birthday. Oh no sillies, not my birthday. Heavens, aren't these years adding up quick enough:) It's Miranda's Birthday!!! You may know her as The Blond Duck, hostess of A Duck in her Pond.

One day last year while I was doing my usual blog visiting, I happened upon a rather unusual post by Madame Bitty at Miranda's blog.

I suppose you should call her Queen Bitty, we wouldn't want to upset her you know:)

Anyway, on that Autumn Day, Madame Bitty was aligning the stars with the Pond family's horoscopes. It was a rather amusing post especially since Queen Bitty has such a way with "words." :) In my follow up comment, I left a note to Miranda telling her I would try to do a horoscope post on her birthday this year. Well, that changed too. After I piled the few astrology cookbooks that I have on the table, I didn't feel all that inspired. What kind of birthday tribute would it be if it didn't have that personal touch? I thought to myself. Miranda is such a free spirit, I'm sure she would understand.

Just in case you've never "met" the birthday girl, here is how she describes herself:

Giddily married to her best friend. Texas native. Novelist and writer. Working hard to get my children's books published. I'm delightfully whimsical, artsy and creative.  And goofy.  Really goofy. I take frequent dance breaks wherever I am, whenever I can. My days are spent chasing my two Chihuahua puppies, Bitty and Bear. My motto: Be a happy duckie! My goal: to bring joy and whimsy to the world through my stories.

Personally, I think she's just Duckie; dancing around the internet bringing joy to whomever she "meets." So, despite my lack of baking skills, and photography finesse, and the fact that I didn't have one pecan in the pantry, I managed to rustle up some cookies to celebrate Duckie's birthday.

That's right "kiddies" I baked cookies! Seriously, when is the last time you heard me "say" those words? I think the last time I baked cookies to share with you was back in 2011. Pinwheels I believe:) or was it those delicious Forget the Cake Crumb Cake Cookies I found over at Olla Podrida? (you see what happens after you have so many birthdays:) Which ever, I think we can agree, it's been a while:)

The baking of the cookies was pretty uneventful considering I have a way of botching these kinds of things up every now and again. I did run into a few rather important snags though. The most important being, no pecans! High, low, cabinet, fridge, freezer, not a pecan to be found. What's a girl to do? Improvise! I was pretty sure Miranda wouldn't mind if I used almonds instead of pecans. Actually, I used mixed nuts but let's keep that hush, hush:) Yes, I toasted them too. I even dragged out the food processor John and Kyla gave me for my birthday to crush them all up. I remembered that once Miranda had baked her mom a Hummingbird Cake for her birthday and she used almonds instead of pecans. Then there was that time she was in a pinch for a dessert for her husband Ben and she quickly whipped up Magic Sugar Bars once again substituting almonds for pecans. I think I'm safe, I hope:)

Without further ado, I present Butter Pecan Cookies! (minus the pecans:)

I think the most difficult part about making these cookies was choosing them. I had forgotten how many different recipes one can encounter while in search of the "perfect" Pecan Cookie. I was quite tempted to "chocolatize" them when I found this recipe for Chocolate Drizzled Butter Pecan Cookies over at Anna's Cookie Madness. However, when I took a quick trip over to Rosa's Yummy Yums and saw her gorgeous looking Pecan Sandies, I just knew I had to go with a more traditional approach. So, I chose a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookies and Candies cookbook published long before Miranda was even born. 1966 to be exact:)

Butter Pecan Cookies
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar (I used vanilla sugar & omitted the vanilla)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (I omitted the salt because I didn't have unsalted butter)
1 cup chopped pecans (mixed nuts here:)

Cream butter and sugars until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients; blend into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts. Drop from teaspoon on un-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375° about 10 minutes. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Happy Birthday Miranda! I hope you like them!!!

Tomorrow is Ice Cream Cone Day. You might be surprised to learn, unlike some of these obscure "food" days we celebrate, Ice Cream Cone Day actually has a tasty reason to be celebrated. You see, on September 22, 1903, Italo Marchiony applied for a patent for the very first Ice Cream Cone "molding apparatus." He was granted the patent on December 15th that same year.

This is the perfect time to share these cute little ice cream bowls I picked up at a garage sale yesterday. I don't normally go to yard sales on Thursdays but when I saw the entire lawn covered in all kinds of interesting things, I just had to stop. Aren't they cute, and just 50 cents for all four of them! I was going to mail them to Tabi and Noah in Idaho but I think I'll save them for when they come and visit next summer:)

I also picked up this Betty Crocker cookbook at the yard sale for a mere 25 cents. Yes a quarter!!!

I breezed through it in search of a Pecan Cookie recipe but immediately stopped when I spied this!

After a quick search, I actually found the recipe for the Scarecrow Cake in the book at the Betty Crocker website. The secret to the Scarecrow's moppy hair is...Waffle bowls!!! Perfect for the first day of Fall don't you think?