The Gourmet Touch: Sweet treats for visiting sweeties
by Prudence Hilburn
Jun 17, 2009 | 2653 views |  0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Now that school is out, it's important to keep the cookie jar filled. When my grandchildren and great-grandchildren come to visit, they start looking to see what I have for them. Homemade cookies are always a favorite treat.

If the cookie jar is empty, they will quickly volunteer to help make cookies. A choice recipe for the kids would be cookies made from pie crust.

I have been making cookies using the boxed pie crust mix for almost 40 years. The first one I made was a peanut butter version and I forgot that the pie crust mix already has plenty of butter in it. Much to my regret, I added butter and you can imagine what my oven looked like when the butter caused the cookie dough to spread and drop off the sides of the baking sheet.

When I studied the recipe closer, I finally realized that the butter was the problem. I corrected that and the easy version of peanut butter cookies won me a trip to the 1970 Pillsbury Bake-Off in San Diego.

Since that time, I have made many new cookie recipes with this simple basic recipe. One of my favorites is the following Orange Date Drops made with candy orange slices. This one reminds me of some bar cookies that I remember from my youth. Of course, if the children are young, you will probably need to chop the orange slices and nuts before the baking begins.

For those who prefer "from scratch" cookies, you might like my Key Lime Crispies. These extra crispy delights have just a little tang from the Key lime juice so I like to give the warm cookies a coating of confectioners' sugar. If you don't have any Key lime juice, you can substitute lemon juice.

Neither of these last very long at my house so maybe you would like to make them both.

Orange Date Drops

1 (11 ounces) box pie crust mix
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
½ cup chopped candy orange slices
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup chopped pecans
Confectioners' sugar for coating cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine pie crust mix, baking soda, and brown sugar. Stir to mix. Add eggs and coconut flavoring and beat until mixed. Stir in orange slices, dates and pecans. Drop from a teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet and coat with confectioners' sugar. Cool on rack.

Key Lime Crispies

1¾ cup sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
⅔ cup oil
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons Key lime juice
confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the sugar and butter. Add eggs and oil. Beat well. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir to mix. Add to the creamed mixture along with the Key lime juice. Beat until smooth and well mixed. Roll the dough into small balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Using the bottom of a glass dipped into sugar, flatten the balls. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the pan immediately to a wire rack. Coat with confectioners' sugar.

NOTE: Refrigerating the dough for about 30 minutes makes the mixture easier to handle when rolling into balls.
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