Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cookie Cravings (Or How Mike and I Met)

Many of you have heard the story of how Mike and I met. How one day, when I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed 21-year-old receptionist- a mere weiner tot in the eyes of corporate culture- Mike approached the operator station of the software company that employed us both. Sitting on the desk was a freshly opened package of chocolate covered graham crackers- which, incidentally, I've never much liked since.

I didn't know Mike very well, since he was relegated to the Support Building, Building C, all the way across the courtyard from my coveted location in A Building. And here he was, but a stranger to my domain... STEALING MY COOKIES!!! AS IN, EATING THEM WITHOUT ASKING!!!

Well, you can totally understand what I did next. I proceeded to try and get him fired. Not over the cookies, of course. But over blind-transferring calls to the operator desk when I was on duty. Over perceived rudeness to our international customers. Any behavior that further incriminated him as World's Biggest Douchebag, I tried to tap into. But alas, I failed, and he remained one of Support's favorite analysts.

When my attempts to get him fired didn't work, I finally broke down and extended a friendly hand, inviting him to join the company softball team that I was re-forming. I was, like, waaaayyyy popular at Barr. (oh, and modest too, don'tcha know.) I had lots of friends in all the departments, and so the softball team was quickly filled with the most fun employees at the company.

Former teammates.... and you know who you are.... put in complaints to me at our first practice, requesting that Mike's friends Ann and Nick remain on the team, but that he be placed in our cheering squad. However, he soon became one of the most valued players on the team, our first baseman! Friendships formed. Subsequent business ventures formed as a result of those friendships. And Mike had me to thank for it!  So naturally, he was really doing me quite the courtesy to up and marry me as a token of his gratitude!

*This is my version of events. Suffice it to say that Mike's version starts out, "One time, when Tammy was a Super Bitch....," but, I digress.

The point of this little reflection here is that cookies have played a vital role in our relationship. They brought us together, in many ways- from the chocolate-covered-graham crackers at the beginning, to the sugar cookies from Uppercrust Bakery that Mike would overnight me while I interned in Orlando, (sweet boyfriend!) We often share cookies at lunchtime, and my sister even gave us each our own package of cookies on our wedding day to head off any potential disagreements! So it's natural that one of my big PG cravings is cookies!

Mike Baby made me delish chocolate chip cookies from scratch the other day, and I was inspired to spread some cookie love to the masses. So, once a week I'm going to share one of my favorite cookie recipes with ya'll. Chances are I'll be craving that particular cookie and you can feel free to whip up a batch your ownself and eat like a pregnant lady. And when it comes down to it, don't we all just want to eat like pregnant ladies? We eat and eat and eat... and it's okay, because the extra cushion can be attributed to baby makin'. Sweet!

This week's Cookie Craving: White Chocolate Cherry Shortbreads, from Better Homes and Gardens. Yum!

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter (the cold part is important- and NO MARGARINE!)
12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped  *I used chopped white chocolate chips and thought that worked out fine....)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 drops red food coloring (optional)
2 teaspoons shortening
White nonpareils and/or red edible glitter 

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.

3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

5. In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils and/or edible glitter. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. Makes about 60. *or more like 40 if you're me and keep sneaking bits of cookie dough.

These lil darlings are a perfect Christmas cookie, and would've been awesome for Valentine's Day too, had I gotten off my lazy tush in time to post this beforehand. But, next year you're all set! and really since they come out such a pretty pink color, you could use pink or other pastel sanding sugars and make them really cheerful for spring. Either way, you won't be looking at them for long- they're too tasty to last!


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