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Kitchen Mailbox: Cookie recipes will keep coming until Christmas

Thursday, December 14, 2000

Compiled by Arlene Burnett

Can you handle more cookie recipes? We hope so, because this week and next we'll feature cookies and other Christmas treats. Some recipes are moderately easy and others take only minutes to prepare.

Keflets are utterly delicious! They're a crescent cookie filled with a nut and date filling. The dough is made with a combination of cottage cheese, margarine and flour. Be aware it's a tender dough and can tear easily, so be gentle and don't forget the dusting of powdered sugar for rolling. Without it the dough will stick.

The next recipe, Lemon Bread Crisps, is actually made with bread, butter, sugar and lemon. The only time-consuming part is spreading the butter mixture on the bread. The cookies are tasty and no one will really know they're made from bread.

It may seem old-fashioned and out of date to give gifts of food. But they can be a treasure to someone who doesn't have much time to spend on Christmas baking. That's why Date and Nut Bread is so special. It's baked in 10 3/4-ounce soup cans, which makes the bread a perfect size for gift giving.

M. L. Lococo of Brighton Heights requested a recipe for a date and nut roll cookie that's rolled in powdered sugar. Here's a recipe from Mary Jura of Springdale.

(Cottage Cheese Cookies)

1 pound margarine (2 cups or 4 sticks)
2 cups cottage cheese (we used large curd cottage cheese, not creamed. We drained the cottage cheese for about 1/2 hour)
4 cups sifted flour

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups nuts, ground (we used walnuts)
2 cups pitted dates, chopped
1 pound powdered sugar (to roll dough before baking and after)

Filling: Mix nuts and dates with sugar. Set aside.

Dough: With electric mixer, mix margarine and cottage cheese until creamy. Add flour a little at a time (we added about 2 cups).

Mix in the remaining flour by hand. Roll dough in balls the size of a walnut -- place on cookie sheet. Refrigerate overnight. Roll balls into a thin circle on a board sprinkled with powdered sugar. Drop a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle; roll tightly. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake 24 minutes at 375 degrees. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar. Yields about 5 dozen.

Note: We used a food processor to grind the nuts and chop the dates. Instead of rolling the dough with a rolling pin, we found it easier to use the palm of our hand to flatten the dough into a circle about 31/2 inches wide. Watch the cookies carefully. The recipe calls for baking the cookies for 24 minutes, but ours were done in about 15 minutes. The cookies are done when they're golden brown around the edges.

Here's a cookie recipe from Doris Stokes of Ross.

Lemon or Orange Bread Crisps

1 loaf thin-sliced Pepperidge Farm bread
2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange

Cut crusts from bread. Combine the butter, sugar and zest. Mixture should be very soft. Spread bread and cut each slice into 3 strips. Place on sheet pan and bake for one hour at 225 degrees. Cookies should be barely brown around the edges.

Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Don't toss out your empty soup cans! Save them for the Date and Nut Bread recipe sent in by Genevieve Bogda of McKees Rocks.

Date and Nut Bread

7 10 1/2-ounce soup cans
1/2 pound dates
2 cups boiling water with 2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/4 pound margarine (1/2 cup or 1 stick)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

In a food processor fitted with metal blade or a blender, combine the dates and boiling water/baking soda. Process until the dates are chopped into small pieces. Allow mixture to cool.

Cream margarine, sugar and eggs. Mix in the flour, baking soda, vanilla, nuts and the date mixture. Fill ungreased cans half full. Bake about 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Note: Though this recipe calls for 7 soup cans, there was enough batter to fill 8 or 9 cans. Don't make the mistake we made. Because there was leftover batter, we filled the cans more than half full and that caused the batter to overflow while baking (good thing we placed the cans on a cookie sheet). Before using the soup cans, we removed the labels, then placed the cans in boiling water for about 10 minutes and dried thoroughly inside and out.


Anne Howerter of Akron, Ohio, would like a recipe for stuffed cabbage (stuffed with ground beef and rice) cooked in sauerkraut and carrots. Anne tells us this dish "tasted somewhat sweet."

Linda Gaskins of Raleigh, N.C., is "having a problem finding a pastry that my husband remembers as a child. Bear claws with a date filling. All I can find are almond fillings with no recipe for the pastry." Can anyone help?

Pat Cafaro of Moon writes: "As a child my mom would make a dessert with evaporated milk, sugar and Jell-O. Sometimes she would add pieces of fruit. She would freeze the milk until crystals formed on the can. She would make the Jell-O not using all the water required. The evaporated milk was then whipped and combined with the Jell-O and sugar. I would be so grateful if someone would be kind enough to submit a recipe for this."

Anyone have a recipe for the chicken salad at Wagner's Market in Allison Park? If not, does anyone have a similar recipe? Sandra Hartman of Allison Park is hoping one of our readers may have this recipe.

While vacationing in Rochester, N.Y., Lois Merkel of Mount Oliver bought a box of eggnog cookies and thought they were so good she was wondering if anyone would have a recipe.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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