Monday, August 15, 2011

cookie o' the month...

Ice cream. ICE CREAM! 

I love it. There's no other way to say it. Even a less than stellar flavor still ranks pretty well as long as it's in the context of the creamy, cool, silky stuff. 

Then there's the combo of the sweet with a touch of crunchy and salty that makes it all perfection. When ordering hot fudge sundaes, I ask for extra nuts. My favorite is when they do a layer right after the hot fudge is poured, then the whipped cream and then another layer of nuts on top. I can go either way with the maraschino cherry. I love cherries, but the maraschino/sundae ones tend to throw my whole sundae flavor experience off. It's like listening to someone play your favorite song and all of a sudden a wrong note is struck. Hard. Not good times.

Then we have the drumstick. Aaaaah, Dear Drumstick. How you've combined all my favorites into one easy to carry, easy to love and must enjoy treat. 

AND THEN, we have Baker Beth. She has reinvented the Summer favorite into this ingenious new take. When she sent me the recipe and pic yesterday I found myself slowly getting closer to my computer screen. As if starting at the recipe long enough would somehow make it so---OR, maybe I was going to lick the screen. 

Kids, I give you Baker Beth's August cookie (and ice cream, of course). 

Go forth and bake...
Ah, summer. The waning days of summer. Get to the beach while you can.

Or, closer to home, flag down the ice cream man.

Does your town still have a roving, truck-driving ice cream man? Mine does. Every so often, I hear the tinny music, which is usually "Pop Goes The Weasel" but once was the theme from Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo & Juliet." Yes, really. Yes, it was weird. I presume the driver was a film buff.

Given a choice of pre-fab treats, I'm a Drumstick gal. And Angelo likes them, too. The kind with nuts. Frankly, no other kind counts, as far as I'm concerned. But my problem with Drumsticks is that I end up eating all the chocolaty, nutty coating first and then I'm left with vanilla in a cone.

So to send summer off with a bit of a last hurrah, this month I made sugar-cone-inspired brown sugar cookies. Then I dipped them in dark chocolate (to offset the sweetness of the cookie) and then I dipped them in chopped peanuts, lightly salted, for a salty-sweet sensation.

Serve them along with scoops of great vanilla ice cream and savor all the Drumstick flavors in every bite.


— Beth

Drumstick Cookies
(Adapted from a recipe in Taste of Home Cookies, Published by Reader's Digest, 2009)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 bars chocolate (I used Nestlé's Chocolatier Bittersweet Chocolate - 62% cacao)
1 jar peanuts (I used Planters Lightly Salted Dry Roasted)

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla; mix well. Stir together the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture until well combined.

Roll dough into 3/4-inch to 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to about 1/4 inch with the palm of your hand. Bake at 375° for 7 to 10 minutes or until set. Let cool on baking sheets for two minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Grind the peanuts in a nut grinder or chop finely with a knife. Put into a small dish.

Using one bar at a time, break the chocolate into pieces, put into a small microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for one minute. Stir. If the pieces aren't completely melted, microwave for another 10 seconds and stir again. Repeat, if necessary, until a smooth consistency is achieved. (Note: The bowl will be hot. Use a pot holder to remove it from the microwave.)

Place a cooling rack over sheets of waxed paper. Dip each cookie partway into the chocolate, scrape off any excess along the edge of the bowl, and then press the cookie into the dish of chopped peanuts. Place on cooling rack. Continue with all cookies, melting more chocolate as needed. When finished, place cooling racks on baking sheets (to catch drips) and put into the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to set.

Yield: about 3 1/2 dozen

Beth Note: Grind more nuts than you'll think you'll need. If you have any leftover, you can save them to sprinkle on ice cream. Or, better yet, if you have leftover peanuts and leftover chocolate, stir them together, then drop spoonfuls onto a plate covered with waxed paper and put it in the refrigerator until set for chocolate-peanut candy.

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