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Cookies are my perfect snack food

I love cookies. I would rather have a couple of cookies with my morning coffee than a muffin and when reading a book they are the perfect snack. They pack easily into lunches and a plateful makes a football game sweeter.

This first cookie is ridiculously rich and chocolatey. This recipe came from Martha Stewart via Food Network, I’ve had it for about seven years and it is still a favorite. I like to add about 3/4 cup of toasted walnuts for a little crunch and have also added a little powdered instant espresso to really bump up the flavor. Instead of a tablespoon, I use a medium size ice-cream scoop so they are really big.

Mudslide cookies

2/3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely shopped

1 pound semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

6 tablespoons butter

5 large eggs

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 pound milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a heatproof bowl or the top of double boiler, melt together the unsweetened and semisweet chocolate and the butter, set aside to cool. With an mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the cooled, melted chocolate mixture and combine on low speed, add the flour mixture and continue to beat on low speed until almost combined then stir in the chopped milk chocolate by hand. Scoop dough by the large spoonfuls onto the baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake until set which takes about 12 to 15 minutes. Let them cool completely.

It won’t take you but just a glance through the ingredient list to see where this name came from. It takes a big bowl to mix all of these ingredients, or, as we know in the South, a dishpan. These are chock-full of yummy ingredients. I have added chocolate or butterscotch chips to really make them good.

Dishpan cookies

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups sugar

2 cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

4 cups corn flakes

Preheat the oven to 325 and very lightly spray your baking sheets with nonstick spray. I spray mine and then lightly wipe them with a paper towel. Cream together the sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, soda and baking powder. Using an electric mixer combine the two mixture together just until mixed. Then stir in by hand the oatmeal, coconut, nuts and corn flakes. Drop by large rounded spoonfuls on the cookie sheets, not too close together. Bake them for about 12 to 15 minutes. Let them cool and enjoy.

This cookie is the exact opposite of the two above. Its simplicity is what makes it so delicious. Be sure you don’t overbake these, just set and barely browned is perfect.

Cream cheese cookies

2 sticks of margarine, room temperature

3 ounces cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg yolk

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 315 degrees. Cream together the margarine, cream cheese. Then add the egg yolk and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour, mixing well, and then add in the pecans. Drop by small spoonfuls onto the baking sheets. You can top with a pecan halve, a sliver of maraschino cherry or leave plain. Bake until set and very light brown.

Christina Hall writes a weekly column for The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com

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