Sunday 23 December 2012

Lace Cookies

This is a recipe from The Fanny Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham.  Like many of the recipes I revisit over and over again, it's very simple to make and uses ingredients I almost always have on hand.  

Brown sugar is the predominant flavour in lace cookies, much as it is with pralines. They're more a candy than a cookie really; a special treat at our house, served for dessert on occasions when I need something that I can make ahead.

Because they are so delicate, lace cookies tend to break apart as you layer them in the cookie tin.  I bake them the day I need them and make just the quantity I need; no more.  I freeze any extra unbaked cookie batter, and store the finished cookies in a single layer, on platters or cookie sheets covered with plastic wrap.  

To make Lace Cookies you'll need:

  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal (not instant)
  • 1-1/2 cups light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the oatmeal, brown sugar, flour and salt together.

Add in the melted butter and stir it through, as if you were making a crumble topping for a fruit crisp.

Beat the egg and vanilla together.

Add them to the oatmeal mixture and stir until they're mixed through.

Portion the cookie mixture out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Use a small amount of dough and make sure there's at least 2 inches space between each cookie.

(I used a scoop that portions out about 1/2 teaspoon quantities.  The dough is crumbly.  You may have to gather up a few bits after you scoop the cookies and press them back into the portion.)  

Bake the cookies until they're lightly browned.  This will happen quite quickly.  Mine took about 7 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool completely on the cookie sheet.

If you wish to, you can drizzle some melted chocolate over the cooled cookies.

I recently came across instructions for melting chocolate in a freezer bag and then using it like an icing pipe.  I wish I could tell you where I saw it but I didn't bookmark it and now can't find them again.

Anyway...The instructions said to chop the chocolate up, put it in the bag and zip it closed.

Place the bag in the microwave and heat the chocolate until it's about halfway melted.  

Use your fingers to work the chocolate around in the bag until the unmelted pieces have melted too.

Cut one corner off the bottom of the bag and squeeze the chocolate out onto the cookies.

It looked simple enough but I missed one little piece of unmelted chocolate.  It formed a plug in the opening I'd cut.  When it worked its way out it was followed by a big blob of melted chocolate, all of which landed in the center of the first cookie.

Once the unmelted piece was out of the way, the chocolate came out fairly easily.  I just drizzled it randomly all over the place.  

It worked okay but I didn't much care for the untidiness.  

Next time I'll do what we used to do at the bakery:  Melt the chocolate in a small, wide bowl, dip my four fingers into the chocolate and then drizzle the chocolate off my fingers as I move my hand fairly rapidly back and forth over each cookie.  It sounds messy but it's very quick and it works consistently well.  That's how they get the nice evenly spaced drizzles you so often see on professional baked goods. 

Or you could drizzle the chocolate from a spoon.  Whatever works best for you.

Once the chocolate has hardened, the cookies are ready to serve.

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