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Welcome to My Kitchen

Almond Joy cookies & squash biscuits

Series: Recipe Column | Story 62

March 29, 2018

This week we have an assortment of culinary odds and ends, some with Easter dinner in mind, others, answers to recipe requests and cooking inquiries. Often it is a little trick or tip, or knowing exactly which brand to purchase, that insures exact results.

Several weeks ago, Debbie Buscher brought some tasty crackers and a sweet bread for a Sunday coffee hour. Many asked for the recipes. Debbie reports, both were purchased at Costco. They looked and tasted homemade. The crackers were, Mary's Gone Crackers, Original Style and the bread Cinnamon Swirl from the Costco in-store bakery.

Dennis Hubbard made Almond Joy Cookies for a recent soup supper treat. These delectable morsels garnered a dozen or more recipe requests. Dennis told me it was a “secret recipe”, but I could find it on Pinterest at You will find a number of quick and easy recipes on this site.

Almond Joy Cookies are easy to prepare and require only 4 ingredients. One bowl, mixing spoon, measuring cup and a large baking sheet with parchment paper are the equipment needed.

Almond Joy Cookies

1 package (14 ounces) sweetened flaked coconut

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup chopped, lightly salted almonds

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk, regular or fat-free

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine coconut, chocolate chips, almonds and sweetened condensed milk. Stir until well blended.

Scoop out dough with a cookie scoop onto prepared baking sheet. Moisten the tips of you fingers with water and shape into disks. Pat the tops flat, (about the thickness of a chocolate chip).

Bake cookies for 12 to 14 minutes or until tips of coconut are just turning golden brown. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet (cookies will firm up as they cool). Store cooled cookies in airtight containers, separating layers with waxed or parchment paper. Yield: 3 dozen.

Note: parchment paper is critical for these cookies to turn out right, Silicone mats and waxed paper and grease will yield less than desirable results.

Fielded a request for the peanut butter cookies served at a recent spaghetti feed. Haven’t researched if there was more than one variety, but Rich Peanut Butter Cookies was the recipe I brought. I will check on any other varieties donated.

Rich Peanut Butter Cookies, a recipe from the C and H Brown Sugar boxes around 1970, makes a soft dough that requires minimal shaping and produces a firm but chewy soft cookie.

Rich Peanut Butter Cookies

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup soft butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup golden brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

In a large mixer bowl, cream together shortening, butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into creamed mixture and mix well. Chill dough one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop dough into 1 inch balls and place on greased or parchment lined cookie sheets. Flatten with a fork dipped in granulated sugar.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes until just set and edges are golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 4-5 dozen depending on size.

Note: shortening, butter and margarine yield different textures when used in baking. Shortening based cookies, remain thicker, and butter and margarine based spread out more. For best results, always use the suggest fat in each recipe.

You can fudge a little when shortening is called for. You may substitute margarine, and whip separately about 5 minutes before adding additional ingredients. This adds air which increases volume and helps a little bit to produce a thicker cookie.

I was asked to explain the difference between apple juice and apple cider. If we are talking about the clear bottled versions found on the shelf in the juice section at the grocery store, not much. Both are juice with the cider having a bit if citric acid added for the tangy bite. So, when it comes to pasteurized bottled apple juice or cider, buy what is on sale and ditch the label if you have persnickety imbibers.

True cider is fresh pressed, unfiltered and un-pasteurized. It is cloudy looking and has a limited shelf life even under refrigeration. Hard cider is fresh cider that has fermented.

Cider flavor is determined by the apple varieties used. The best flavor comes from early to late fall and winter cooking varieties. Old time recipes call for at least half the apples being the Winesap variety.

Squash Biscuits, another of the recipes from The Church Supper Cookbook, edited by David Joachim, are a perfect addition to ham or lamb Easter dinner menus. Leavened with both yeast and baking soda, the biscuit texture with yeast lightness is ideal for soaking up meat juices or sweet cream butter.

Squash Biscuits

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup mashed cooked squash

1 1/8 tsp yeast

1/2 cup warm (110 degree) water

5 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup melted shortening

1/2 cup melted butter

Heat milk to 110 degrees. Combine with sugar, salt and squash in a large mixing bowl and cool to lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in warm water and add to squash mixture.

Combine 2 cups of the flour with baking soda. Stir into squash mixture, blending thoroughly. Add shortening and beat well. Stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rise until double in bulk. Punch down and let rise again.

Turn out onto flour surface and shape into biscuits. Dip each into melted butter. Arrange on baking pans. Let rise once more until light.

Preheat oven and place biscuits in oven. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately. Yield: 3 dozen.

Share your favorite spring recipes by sending them to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa, WA 99159 email, or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office. Watch for volunteer spinach and lettuce in your garden space.


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