Monday, December 3, 2018

Cookies and Books By Friends

This past week was full of every day moments. I attended my monthly Library Board of Trustee meeting, I helped Emily with her home school lessons, I switched the children's library display case from Fall to Christmas, and I worked on Christmas cookies.

I made batch two of the Railroad Cookies that my one niece loves so well. You might also know them as Date Nut Pin-Wheels. I found this recipe in my Martha Adam's Heirloom Recipes cook book, and she presumes the name railroad cookies came from their resemblance to railroad tracks winding around hills and valleys. Whatever the name, these crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, butterscotch flavored cookies are delicious. They aren't overly complicated, so if you want to try your hand at making some, check out the recipe below.

Cookie Dough:                                                  Date-Nut Filling

1 cup vegetable shortening                                 2 cups finely chopped dates       

2 cups sugar                                                        1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar                                  1/2 cup water
3 large eggs                                                         1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vanilla                                                         1/2 cup ground pecans   
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cream tartar
1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and thoroughly mix. Divide dough into two proportions, roll dough and flatten into a thick pancake shaped patties. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour. 

In a medium saucepan, combine dates, sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat until the mixture sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture thickens. If you have a stick mixer, blend the mixture to make it easier to spread. Add vanilla and nuts and mix thoroughly.

Roll one of the dough patties out into a rectangle the size of a silicone mat (I usually roll mine on a mat to gauge size and for easier rolling). Spread 1/2 of the filling on the rectangle and gently roll jelly roll style. Slice dough in 1/4 inch pieces and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan and place on cooling rack. Repeat.

This week I also grabbed a new batch of books from the library to read and review and was thrilled to find books by two of my literary friends. The first book, Duck, Duck, Porcupine, by the talented Salina Yoon, was a simply written and colorfully illustrated book containing three short stories about Big Duck, Little Duck, and Porcupine. Whether picnicking, celebrating a birthday, or camping, the three friends find adventure that your beginning readers will love to share with them.

The other book I found was the marvelous Loren Long's There's a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake. I met Loren in person this past spring at The Southern Kentucky Book Festival and besides possessing uber amounts of talent, he is just as nice as nice can be. There's a Hole in the Log is Loren's take on that old familiar song There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, but the surprise ending, which I wasn't expecting, in addition to commentary by a small turtle and snail really sets it apart. 

Debbie Dadey, Loren Long, and Me!
Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

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