Thursday, May 06, 2021

Party Cookie Hearts For Moms

It's interesting how certain foods or recipes instantly evoke memories. Recently I made bourbon balls for a friend for her birthday. Usually they are a Christmas treat. When I did the final stir and all the fragrances mingled, it took me back to being a little girl and helping my Mom make rum balls for the holidays. 

Today I'm making my version of Cobb salad, and that brought back memories of when we would have it for dinner when the kids were young. Because I made it on a wooden tray in rows - each of the ingredients had their own row...or two...across the board, each of us could choose to scoop the desired ingredients onto our plate and in the quantity we wanted, too. These days there is no blue cheese on the tray, but tonight there will be fresh steamed green beans, not something we had those many years ago. 

It also made me think of past dinners when the kids were home where we would make our own burritos, adding as much or as little chili, diced tomato, diced avocado, salsa, shredded cheese and so on to the burrito tortilla as desired.

I've just returned from a visit to my daughter and her crew in Phoenix. While there we baked together, making a multi-grain sourdough loaf and braid, and, with 11 year old Raine, Party Cookies. 

The Party Cookie recipe is another blast from the past recipe since I think it came from Sunset Magazine in the 70s. I used to bring it to school instead of cupcakes for birthday parties where the Mom was expected to bring birthday treats. It has standard Toll House chocolate chip cookie ingredients, but also uncooked rolled oats, mix-ins like dried fruit and nuts. We used dried cherries and chopped pecans for those. The fun thing is that you scoop up a cup of the dough and shape it into a large cookie on a greased, foiled baking sheet. We made an oval, a flower, and two hearts, then saved the rest in the freezer to be baked as individual cookies sometime in the future.

One of the hearts was decorated with pink icing, gold glitter and a bit of purple icing around the edge. That went with Raine as an early Mother's Day gift for his mom. She was surprised and delighted. It's an easy surprise for your own mom or grandma, too. 

Big Heart Party Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar, light or dark, packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
½ cup quick rolled oats
2 cups (12-oz. package) semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
½ cup dried fruit (I used dark cherries)

For circle or heart shaped cookie:
1 cup M & M candies in appropriate colors (optional but fun)
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons hot milk
Assorted cake decorations such as dragees, colored sugar, colored small shapes, chopped nuts

Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape bowl and beaters. Gradually beat in flour and beat until mixed. Beat in oatmeal. Mixture will be stiff. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Line a 12” pizza pan  or baking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray. For a big circle cookie if using the pizza pan, put 2 cups of the dough on the foil. Using floured fingers, shape dough into desired shape, either circle or heart. Smaller hearts on baking sheets use 1 cup dough each. Exaggerate the shape since cookie will spread. You can fit two smaller hearts per pan. Sprinkle M&Ms over dough shape and pat lightly into dough, if using.

Bake one sheet at a time in middle of oven for 10 - 18 minutes (depending on the size of the cookie) until golden brown. Let sit on sheet for 10 minutes, then slide shape on foil onto a cooling rack. Continue to bake the rest of the dough. You can make regular drop cookies with the remainder of the batter if desired.

Once the cookie has cooled, if you like you can decorate for a party! Mix the confectioners sugar and milk and drizzle over the cookie in a random pattern. If you like you can color the icing. While it is still wet, sprinkle cake decorations over as desired. To edge with colored icing as Raine did, add a bit more confectioners sugar. The cookies are pretty with just the M& Ms, too.

Put decorated cookies on party platter and serve. Pieces can be broken off or you can cut it into portions. If it is for a birthday party, candles will stand up for a brief time; long enough to light them and sing Happy Birthday! For Mother's day, wrap carefully in clear plastic wrap and add a bow. If you are good with icing, you can put Mom or her name in the middle of the heart.

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