Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cookies for Mrs. Fields' Birthday

Debbi Fields, the namesake of the Mrs. Fields cookie empire, shares a birthday today with any one of you who may have been born on September 18, 1957. I mention this because, unlike Betty Crocker and Aunt Jemima, who were bred as figments of corporate imaginations, Debra Jane Sivyer [Fields] is a "real" California native who is the youngest of five children.

By most accounts, Debra "managed to do what most people considered impossible."

At the age of 20, Debbi was a young housewife with no business experience. Yet, she had a dream, a recipe, and a passion for sharing her chocolate chip cookies. She managed to do what most people considered impossible. She convinced a bank to finance a business concept which had never before been proven and which appeared on the surface to have little likelihood of success.

Mrs. Fields wanted to open a chocolate chip cookie bakeshop and store. On August 16, 1977, Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery opened its doors to the public in Palo Alto, California. Twenty-plus years later, Debbi Fields' role had expanded from managing one shop to supervising operations, brand name management, public relations and product development of her company's 600+ company-owned and franchise stores in the United States and 10 foreign nations.

To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to share a few recipes from Mrs. Fields Best Loved Cookie Book authored by Debbi Fields and the Editors of Time-Life Books ©1997. I must admit, it was rather difficult to choose from the 200 recipes for drop cookies, filled cookies, fancy cookies, bar cookies, and an assortment of pies, cakes, pastries, puddings, souffles, frozen desserts and candy. Whew! See what I mean? Since Mrs. Fields is widely know for her cookies, I thought a few cookie recipes would be most appropriate.

Let's begin with the Glazed Honey-Nut Rolls filled with walnuts, raisins, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. After all, September is Honey Month:)

Next up we have a personal favorite of mine, Apple Cream Pennies. When my daughter Michele is kind enough to send her mom some homemade apple butter, Marion and I both agree Apple Cream Pennies are worth their weight in gold:)

Apple Cream Pennies
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk. Set aside.
3. Blend sugar in large bowl using an electric mixer set as medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
4. Add the flour mixture and blend at low speed until just combined. Do not over mix.
5. Shape dough into marble size balls. Place balls on un-greased cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cool, flat surface with a spatula.
6. Prepare the filling: Blend cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium until fluffy. Add apple butter and beat until filling is smooth and thoroughly combined.
7. With a small knife spread 1 teaspoon of apple cream on the bottom half of each cooled cookie. Top with another cookie to create a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Makes about 6 dozen.

I love No-Bake cookies, don't you? Here's a recipe for Refrigerator Thumbprint Fudgy Cookies. Chocolate, raspberries and oats, oh my:)

Refrigerator Thumbprint Fudgy Cookies
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) salted butter, softened

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 ounces (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

2 1/2 cups quick oats (not instant)

1 cup raspberry preserves

1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

In a 2 quart saucepan, combine butter, cream, and sugar. Warm over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add vanilla and chocolate chips, 1 cup at a time, stirring until chocolate melts. To complete the dough, fold in the oats and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten cookies to 2 inches in diameter. Make a depression in center of each cookie with your thumb. Chill cookies in refrigerator 30 minutes or until set. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of preserves into center of each cookie. Dust with powdered sugar. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

If you're planning on celebrating Talk Like A Pirate Day, September 19th, just barrel full steam ahead into these Buried Treasure Muffins:)

Kids Cooking Klutz Press ©1987

For those of you who don't want to miss it, National Punch Day is celebrated on September 20th. I did, what I believe to be, a fun post last year for National Punch Day, including a Swig of History:) You may not enjoy punch as much as the next person but, if you're a tiny bit curious about Daniel Webster's favorite punch recipe, you may want to take the high road for a quick visit.

33 Nibbles:

SissySees said...

Happy birthday to the lady with great '80s hair. And I totally forgot I have that cookbook.

Mich - Piece of Cake said...

I love Mrs Fields and I had no idea she had a recipe book. Thanks for sharing her story, she is such an inspiration. Wish I could start a business someday too!

Barbara said...

Well, I add my birthday greetings to this smart cookie. Literally. (although her photo reminded me of a Stepford wife.)
Love all your recipes....think the apple one is going on my list. What a super idea.

mylittleitaliankitchen said...

Debbie is an inspiration to all of us. This is what passion can do. And you cannot stop passion from ruling your life! It is just something you can't control.
I love these cookies recipes! Lots of lovely treats to bake here! I am going to bookmark them.
Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my site.
Have a nice day X

yummychunklet said...

Love the cookies, but that first photo is scary. Looks like she never blinked in real life.

~~louise~~ said...

I was going to grab the picture from the website, Channon but when I saw this one on the back of the book, the decision was made!!! Just curious, what's your favorite recipe from the book???

~~louise~~ said...

Actually she has quite a few cookbooks to her credit Mich and she also wrote a book about how she started her business titled One Smart Cookie: How a Housewife’s Chocolate Chip Recipe Turned into a Multimillion-Dollar Business: The Story of Mrs. Fields Cookies Some say it is most inspiring. Who knows, perhaps one day you will be the next Mrs. Fields!!!

~~louise~~ said...

Only you would mention the Stepford Wives, Barbara. That is so funny!!! But now that you mention it...

Kitchen Riffs said...

That first photo is a classic! Love it. What a great tribute to Mrs. Fields and her cookies. I must admit it was news to me that her birthday was the 18th. I really should have had a chocolate chip cookie to celebrate - maybe this weekend! Fun post - thanks so much.

~~louise~~ said...

Your new site looks refreshing and delicious, Alida. Of course that Plum Tart looked yummy too:) Please let us know if you bake any of them we would love a "taste."

~~louise~~ said...

I'm thinking she was quite in style for her time. If I remember correctly no one blinked back then, lol...

~~louise~~ said...

They say she was more than fussy about the ingredients she used in her cookies, especially the chocolate chip. I wonder what she thinks of the "new wave" of chocolate chip recipes floating about, Kitchen. I, however, still adore the classic:)

Zoe said...

Wow! It has been a long journey for Mrs Field's cookies to reach its current popularity. Everyone including little kids knows Mrs Field's cookies. The first photo is truly a classic!

Love the Buried Treasure Muffins recipe. I think my son will love it too!

CarrieMarie said...

this was a fun, fabulous post! i love entrepreneurial inspiration stories! especially about food, but just in general. heh.

also, thanks for mentioning pirate day! : )

~~louise~~ said...

The Buried Treasure Muffins were so cute, Zoe I just had to include them. I do hope your son will enjoy them:)

~~louise~~ said...

Thank YOU, Carrie. And thanks for visiting...

Helene Dsouza said...

Hi louise!

I learn always a lot from your countries culture. Otherwise I have little knowledge about American treats and looking at those wonderful recipes of Mrs Fields, I ought to say that I d love some of them right now with my afternoon tea break. u know, I have heard of Betty crocker before, but until date I never knew who she was. lol funny right?

artofnaturalliving.com said...

Ohhh, I still remember the first time I tasted a Mrs Fields cookie! Never knew she had a cookbook--how fun!

Gloria said...

I love this post dear Louise and especially the apple cream pennies recipe look delicious !! gloria

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I have this book (my ex-employer lent it to me and when I left the enterprise it stayed with me... ;-P)! Her recipes are lovely.



Katerina said...

I didn't know who she was up until now, but her cookies look absolutely delightful!

Pierce said...

I have never heard of apple cream pennies...now I want them more than ever. Well happy B-day (I am late now) to Mrs. Fields. She sure knows how to dish up a cookie. I love those cookies. Sorry I haven't visited much.......it's been one of those months,

Marjie said...

The Treasure Map muffin recipe is really adorable! And I like no-bake cookies, too. During the summer, it's nice to hot have to heat the kitchen, and it's good to let the little boys make these without my having to worry about them playing around the oven!

I downloaded a cookie cookbook that was free, but I'm not much of a cookie baker, because I need such vast quantities to last even 2 days! Ah, the joys of having 6 sons! We do enjoy Mrs. Field's cookies when we buy them...for about 10 minutes!

(I don't think I've ever seen a cookie recipe in the WSJ or I'd probably have tried it. Out here, it's delivered by mail, so if you subscribe, your friendly mailman will visit you every day!)

grace said...

i've never seen those apple cream pennies before--i like the look of them! i didn't realize mrs fields was my mom's age--i expected a little ol' gray-haired woman!

The Squishy Monster said...

I love your oldies but goodies...refreshing nostalgia in this day and age...I grew up with her cookies and it's been awhile since I even thought about it =D

Lizzy Do said...

Such excellent cookie recipes...you can't beat Mrs Fields! And you've reminded me how much I love no-bake cookies..never thought of making thumbprints from them. YUMMY!

Kathy said...

Oh Louise…you have me longing for those Apple Pennies…they sound scrumptious! I have a Mrs Fields cookbook…I have to dig it out!

~~louise~~ said...

I feel the same way when I visit you space, Helene. Isn't the internet a world of exciting discoveries!!!

~~louise~~ said...

I'm not much on store bought cookies but I must admit Inger, in the hey day of Mrs. Fields, I was definitely a muncher!

~~louise~~ said...

I had a feeling you would like those pennies, Gloria. They remind me of Whoopie Pies, sorta kinda:)

~~louise~~ said...

That's interesting to know, Rosa. For some reason I just never imagined Mrs. Fields cookies in the Swiss Alps:) Very cool...

~~louise~~ said...

There are quite a few tempting recipes in her book, Katerina. It was difficult trying to choose some:) I must say though, your Little Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cakes look mighty tasty too!!!

lena said...

i first heard of mrs fields when doing an marketing assignment for an examination...many many years ago, i actually forgot about this lady until i read your post now! oh louise, you brought me back to my college days and thanks so much for the recipes !