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.