Tag Archives: Chocolate cookies

Quick,No-Cut-out Football Cookies/+Vegan version/Lactose free

It’s countdown to Superbowl and if you want a simple, (no electric mixer needed), quick, delicious, ball-shaped cookie that you don’t have to chill, roll and cutout, do I have a recipe for you!

These delicious quick and easy  no-mixer-needed cookies are always a huge hit

These delicious quick and easy no-mixer-needed cookies are always a huge hit

[Cut-out cookie recipes can be found in here the October Archives. Oval or egg-shaped cookie cutters will make a decent substitute for football-shaped cutters.

And although you can have these ready in a short amount of time, they are even better tasting after they have aged a few days, so you can make these ahead of time for Superbowl Sunday, or any time.

The simple recipe below was my mother’s most requested recipe and mine, too. Because it came form an old cookbook of my aunt’s,( that my sister made off with when she was little because she liked to look at the pictures it contained), my mother would give away the recipe….as printed.
I will also give you the little tweaks that make these perfect.

My family makes these in the original round shape for any time of the year. My mother would at times add English, (regular) walnuts. At Christmastime, she made some with Black walnuts and some she iced with peppermint icing, (my sister’s favorite; I like them plain).

I expected to feel a slap from beyond the grave when I relented to teenagers’ pressure and added chocolate chips to the cookies, but no. The cookies were good, but I think it’s overkill. And I experimented with a bit of espresso powder added; they were nice, but I have gone back to plain, and everyone is happy.

Here you go:
Chocolate Drop Cookies
2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate {I prefer Baker’s (brand) and that is all my mother ever used.
OR you can use 2 ”premelted” baking chocolate that comes in packets
½ cup (one stick) butter or margarine
1 cup of sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
2 cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.
Melt the butter or margarine and baking chocolate together, preferably over boiling water.[Make a double boiler out of a metal or ceramic bowl that sits into,(but not all the way down), in a small pan of boiling water], OR melt slowly in a heavy pan over low heat stirring almost constantly. Do not let the butter or margarine turn brown or the chocolate scorch . You can melt these in the microwave but it is preferable for them to be very hot and general directions for melting these in a microwave are to partially melt them then remove and stir to melt completely. (If using the pre-melted chocolate, just melt and heat the butter or margarine completely and add the chocolate after adding the butter/margarine).

Put the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the hot butter/margarine and chocolate,(if squares were used and melted); mix well; the sugar will semi-melt; this is good.(Now add the pre-melted chocolate, if that is what you used). Add the milk and vanilla to cool the mixture, then add the egg.(Don’t add the egg first or it will solidify; it will cook in the hot mixture). Sprinkle in the baking soda and mix well, then slowly stir the flour in, about ¼ cup at a time, to keep it from lumping. If it still lumps, try to beat most of them out with your (preferably wooden)spoon. If lumps are very small, don’t be concerned.
(If you wish to add nuts or chips, fold them in now. I suggest that you do not add anything if you want the cookies to be ball-shaped.)
Now, let the dough sit for just a few minutes while you prepare the baking sheets.[Grease them , use baking spray or line them with parchment paper.] Just a minute or two of sitting will allow the flour to absorb the moisture and the dough will become stiff enough to make the cookies.

To make traditionally round cookies: using a teaspoon, pick up half to a full teaspoonful and , using your opposite index finger, push it out, dropping them onto the prepared baking sheets.(Of course your hands were scrubbed before you even started to make the cookies and you probably cleaned them after handling the packages, right?).
Place them about two inches apart as they will spread a bit.
To make football–shaped cookies: use a Tablespoon, fill about half-full and use the side of the spoon to create an oval shape.

Bake for about 12 minutes or until they lose their shine and a finger touched to the top does not leave a mark.
Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. When cool, make icing laces on them with  a few quick lines of royal icing, [October Archives; you can use a pastry bag or a plastic sandwich bag with a tiny part of the corner cut off], or you can use ‘cookie icing’ available at most retail grocers.(‘Cookie icing‘ will become firm when dry; do not use gel-type cake decorator icing as these will remain wet and sticky.)


[Lactose-free: use margarine and almond/soy, coconut milk.

Vegan version; use margarine or ‘vegan butter’ almond soy or even coconut milk and a favorite vegan egg substitute; I would suggest puréed tofu or “Enger-G Egg Replacer”]

Even plain, these cookies are a nice lunchbox cookie or a gift; they would make an excellent addition if you are a guest at a Superbowl party. They are good with coffee and  excellent  with milk!
I hope you try and enjoy these cookies at any time, any shape!

SuperBowl /March Madness Party Tips and Potato Skins

It’s time to kick-off some tips for SuperBowl, (and every other Bowl) and get into March Madness parties…and any other ‘Football” parties anywhere in the world.(Too bad it is so long between World Cup matches,I love  them!)

Many of the recipes in the archives would suit a nice and easy buffet, which is the only way to go when it comes to watching events and for all-day parties.

Remember that there is probably going to be a lot of hands-in-the-air and jumping-up, either in celebration or in disgust, decided by the individual on how the plays go and who makes them!

Depending in just how long you anticipate your guests, some or all, to be there will help you to make the choices of foods to offer. Are you going to have fellow fans in for most of the pre-game programs as well as the game itself?Or just for the game, which will be long enough,(expect four hours for the SuperBowl.)
If you are expecting things to go on for some time, you are going to want some of the foods to come out at varying times; some substantial, some snack-type, some sweet. It does not matter how many or how few, people need food , people want interesting food and you don’t want to work too hard to make a nice spread. Much can be done ahead of time.

Ideas for your offerings can be founds among those already posted in this blog. They are:

Lentil Soup, Bean Soup [August Archives], Savory Bread Rolls, Taco Salad, Teriyaki Pork , Meatball Stew[Sept. Archives; which also tells of “Pitfalls and Parties”],Zucchini One-Bowl, Cookies and Sarah Ballance’s Pecan Bars [October Archives], Crispy Veggies, Vegetables with Cheese Sauce[November Archives], Ham, Broccoli, Potato & Cheese Casserole [Dec. Archives],Salads, Vegetable Pasta Salad [Previous Post]
All can be made ahead of the game day and, (with the exception of the Cheese Sauce and Salads), frozen even earlier and re-warmed before your guests arrive.

I will admit that I have waaaaay overdone the football theme at times. I made 2 kinds of cookies, one in cut-outs that were ball-shapes and helmet-shaped and iced them in the teams’ colors and , using the side of a spoon to ‘drop’ the Chocolate cookies, I made them reasonably football-shaped and put ‘laces’ on them with icing.[ October Archives]. I made chicken salad football-shaped, covered it in brown sesame seeds and made cream cheese ‘laces’. I made a Crab Cheese Ball the same way, but in walnuts:Football cheeseballfootballcheeseball

I made a quarter sheet cake and covered it with green colored coconut for grass, used white icing for hash marks and goalposts, wrote the teams names in the end zones and made candy shaped like footballs and helmets,(and colored them in the teams’ colors).

In other words, I went nuts.
There is no need for all of that, really.(OK, I will admit; I made the cheeseball when I made the one for New Year’s Eve; it is in the freezer and it will come out for the SuperBowl. But see? Many things, most things, can be made ahead of time. )

Chili is a traditional food here for the SuperBowl…and I will let you in on my shameful secret: It’s McCormick’s Mild Chili mix in a packet. I brown one pound of ground beef, drain it, add one can of petite diced tomatoes and one can of kidney beans .That is it. I usually two pounds and then it is two cans of tomatoes, two packets of mix and one can of light red kidney beans and one can of dark. How creative can I get?
If you make your own chili, good for you; I have never made one that I like as well as this easy recipe. It is ready in no time, (especially if you have pre-browned the ground beef; it will last in your refrigerator for days, or you can pre-brown the beef and freeze it. You can freeze the chili, too, but it takes almost as long to warm it as it does to toss it together in a pot and simmer it for a short time;that’s all it takes.)
Texans may get really get upset with me; they claim chili has no beans. Here, people add spaghetti; I have no idea why. If you are into trading ground turkey for beef, that is up to your taste but as far as I am concerned, there is not enough chili powder in the world to hide the fact that it is turkey. I don’t dislike turkey at all, but I do not believe that it is a substitute for beef in any recipe.

Do you know all of your guests well? Do you know their tastes and dietary restrictions? Is there any chance that someone will be bringing a guest whom you don’t know? Always have meatless alternatives; always have dairy and gluten-free and low sugar ones. It’s a nicer to have a variety and it’s healthier, too.
Don’t forget to look for ideas for more foods in the Meatless Protein Combinations [Sept.Archives]

No matter what you make, keeping the hot food hot and cold food cold is a challenge that you must meet. Depending on how for your TV is from your kitchen, you can keep food hot in pots on low heat on the stove, or in oven-proof stoneware or bakeware in your oven , set on 200F.(SuperBowl isn’t a time for your finest china and  your crystal anyway.) You can use slow cookers, warming trays, buffet servers and even press electric frying pans and rice cookers into warming service. Just make sure that you have a sturdy table and place it against a wall. Never have electric cords where anyone needs to walk by or around or where people have to reach over hot pots or servers to get to other foods and drinks.

ways to keep food warm for serving

ways to keep food warm for serving

Borrow slow cookers, or warmers if you must, but
you should have at least one slow cooker; you can get them for under $20. The big one here was about $35 and came with the little warmer as a bonus. The mini buffet-style warmer I have here was under $30, (and was given to me by my sister); the warming tray was left behind by the previous tenant and found when I moved into a place nearly thirty years ago. The electric frying pan was my mother’s.(Quality lasts.) If you anticipate doing entertaining, look for sales; you can get many of these at even lower prices. They make things easier, but are not necessities.(That is my rice cooker in the middle.)

It is easier to just prepare to put out small portions of cold foods and replenish the serving dishes, or if you have the room, prepare several dishes/platters and switch them out before the food becomes room temperature. Use a picnic cooler for extra storage room,(and place outside if the weather is cold).

You don’t want to miss the game and the fun …and let your guests see you working too hard; be a gracious host.

Make sure you hit your local dollar market/stores and pick up extra small, covered plastic storage containers for leftovers and for sending some home with your guests. YOU WILL HAVE LEFTOVERS ; that is a commandment! Never underfeed guest and never underestimate the appetite of sport fans, (especially male ones!) You may also want to pick up some covered, compartmentalized ‘carry-out’ containers; men love these and you can find them at dollar stores in packets of 10 for a dollar.
I often keep covered carry-out or pre-made item’s plastic containers in which to give away food. (“Recycle, Reduce, Reuse”). Foil pans are in all stores, (and cheap in dollar markets), and are also good for giving away food. Try never to give food on plates or in containers that you want to keep; you may not get them back. People may be too rushed to remember, or embarrassed if they break, or give them ‘back’ to the wrong person.(My aunt ‘returned’ my mother’s best cake dish to her next door neighbor.The woman took it and never told my aunt that it wasn’t hers!). If you want to use ‘real’ plates or bowls, use any odd pieces you may have or buy some at your local dollar store or  from you favorite charity thrift store. And put a note on your gift to pass the plate/bowl along.

Some people consider chicken wings another ‘must have’. My next post (I hope) will be on chicken wings and how easy it is to make them and how to make a variety of them.


3 Potato Skins  (9)

Make your own Potato Skins; make them healthier and wow ’em in the process.
Scrub potatoes and peel them in long strips. Place the strips in cold water and make mashed or Parsley Potatoes [December Archive], withe the insides, especially if you are making the Ham Casserole or other recipe for the party.

Line a flat baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Brush with vegetable oil of your choice,(I prefer regular olive or peanut oil), and sprinkle with salt,(preferably sea salt, but any will do).
Place the potato skins outside-down on the prepared baking sheet, brush the insides (top) with  vegetable oil and sprinkle them with…whatever you like! Some ideas are: Cheddar cheese; Pepper Jack cheese, parsley/ paprika/rosemary; chipotle; garlic/oregano; chives, with salt and pepper; Italian seasoning, (parsley, basil, marjoram); turmeric/ garlic; garam masala; or any group of herbs you like; mix or match them with cheeses, too.

Bake at 400F until very firm. When cool, these may be frozen wrapped well, with paper or plastic between the layers, and after thawing, can then be re-crisped in a hot oven before serving.

Don’t forget a fruit. A fruit tray is not hard to make and much less expensive if you do the slicing yourself. Fruits that will quickly oxidize,(turn brown), like bananas, apples and pears, will not do so as rapidly if they are dipped in either citrus soda or pineapple juice.Some people use lemon juice,[wince!].
If even THAT is too much trouble or you don’t feel that you will have the time, make a fruit salad, and feel free to use canned/jarred pineapple, plums, peaches, mandarin oranges, berries,(or frozen, thawed berries).This can be made a day or two ahead of time, and you’ll be glad it’s there.

Have plenty of ice and non-alcoholic drinks…good water, coffee, sodas and teas, with sugar and sweeteners on the side. Limit the alcohol if serving and cut it off long before your guests need to leave.Make sure they eat and drink plenty of clear fluids before and after.

Make sure there is a variety of chips, pretzels and/or popcorn or other non-sugary snacks. Avoid messy desserts and melting ones, such as those with whipped cream or ice cream, puddings and ‘molten cakes’. You are better off with cupcakes, muffins or bar-type cakes,(brownies, etc.), than a cake you need to cut. Cakes are seldom  pretty once they are  cut and are often a sticky mess; men, especially, don’t want to deal with the mess, (and you don’t need it on our floor or in the rugs).Plus, it takes up a lot of table room, you can put muffins and bar cookies stacked or in a basket.

I hope to get back with more recipes; if you have any questions, please shoot them my way! And no matter who wins or loses, I hope you at least get a kick out of the SuperBowl ads, like I do