lemon light drop cookies

Lemon Light Drop Cookies From Betty's Cook Nookthe power of lemon

Those who know me well know my love for lemons.

I’ve grown a few lemon trees from seed, I make my own limoncello, and anytime I incorporate the bright, citrusy flavor into food or drink, I’m reminded of its amazing power.

puttin’ on the spritz

After mastering the simple art of the drop cookie, I was ready to raise the bar by trying my hand with my cookie press, which I recently discovered due to this cheese straws recipe.

My Mom “Betty” had a metal cookie press that I remember well, but where do pressed cookies come from? I wasn’t too surprised to learn they originate from Germany… all the way back to the 16th century. Spritzgebäck or “Spritz” cookies are pressed butter cookies that are made by squirting dough through disks that make a variety of cool-shaped cookies. The cookie press is like a baker’s version of everyone’s favorite childhood toy – Play-Doh!

Lemon Light Drop Cookie RecipeHungry for more cookie history? You can learn a lot of interesting facts about the origins of cookies at this website.

foodie tips

  If using self-rising flour, decrease the soda to ¼ teaspoon and omit the baking powder and salt.

  The original recipe (below) makes about 70 2 ½” cookies. That’s right, 70! Since we weren’t having a party I decided to cut the recipe in half, which still yielded over 30 cookies.

  For the second half of my dough I experimented with my cookie press and was able to churn out some fun-shaped cookies*. Whether you try this or go the simple “drop” route, I wouldn’t suggest hand-rolling the dough into balls; these lost some of their charm and looked more like mini biscuits than cookies. So drop or cookie press all the way!

* Note: To get my cookie press to best form the dough, I chilled the dough-filled press in the freezer for a few minutes to stiffen the dough. I clicked the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and voilà!

i. ingredients

to grease cookie sheet | shortening or cooking spray
1 ½ cups | sugar
1 cup | shortening, at room temperature
1 tablespoon | lemon peel, freshly grated
| cage free eggs
1 cup | sour cream or lemon yogurt (I used sour cream, my childhood BFF)
1 teaspoon | lemon extract
3 ½ cups | Pillsbury brand all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons | baking powder
½ teaspoon | baking soda
½ teaspoon | salt
to sprinkle | sugar

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lemon Light Cookie Dough

1. Let’s make the dough! In a large bowl, cream the sugar, shortening, and lemon peel until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the sour cream (or yogurt) and lemon extract mix well. Lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup; level off. To the batter add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend well.

Lemon Light Cookies Going Into The Oven

2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar before placing them into the oven.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a light golden brown around the edges.

Enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Lemon Light Drop Cookie Recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

Lemon Light Drop Cookie Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Recipe Clipping

Here are some vintage Play-Doh commercials from me to you!


black forest squares

Black Forest Squares Recipe

Just like bad hair days, not every single food photo I take turns out amazing. This is one of them! But I promise you this tasted oh, so good!

Into The Forest We Go

When the word “forest” comes to mind, I often think about the first forest I ever visited – the San Isabel National Forest in Colorado.

Time warp 1980. It was the year of my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary and in the San Antonio Express News Mom read about a small, charming getaway in south central Colorado called Cuchara (Spanish for “spoon”). The article tugged at her heart and a family trip to Cuchara was going to happen! Since the only vacations I had been on were to the Texas Coast and one trip to Nuevo Laredo where I spent more time in the hotel sick than out and about, I knew we were in for a big treat – even bigger than when the Brady Bunch went camping.

Our Kiker family of five piled into two cars and with our CB radios at the ready we made the 12+ hour drive from San Antonio to Cuchara. Just inside the Colorado state line I remember my first few moments outside of the car – the air smelled so foreign … and fresh! It was like Mother Nature had sprayed air freshener and beauty in all directions!

Resting at an altitude of 8,468 feet, Cuchara had no stop lights and a year-round population about 100 strong. So this was a place you came to unwind. Fishing, horseback riding, hiking, sitting and staring this way and that (literally) – all the things we didn’t do in our usual city life. Mom and Dad rented a cabin at Yellow Pine Ranch – a working dude ranch with everything you’d expect and more. Here along the Cuchara River there was a pond, horses and even a donkey named “Cucklebur.”

San Isabel National Forest

Into The Forest We Go!

The National Forest was expansive and we had fun enjoying the views from our 1970s Toyota Land Cruiser. Mountains, pine trees and quaking aspens were abound and my Dad later referred to this land as “God’s Country.” It came as no surprise that in November of the same year Mom and Dad were back in Cuchara scouting for land to purchase so they could build a cabin in the woods – a joint venture with their friends Margie and Herb from Waco.

That is the kind of effect the beauty of a forest can create! Now let’s make black forest squares!

foodie tips ~

 As my kitchen smarts continue to deepen, I’m reminded that all pans are not alike! Glass and metal pans cook differently and you might find that if you’re cake is a little burned around the edges, you might switch to metal bakeware. Here’s why.

 In the 1970s while whip cream often came from the can, these days I use my gourmet whipper which creates a super fresh whip. When you make your own whipped topping you can flavor the creams but for this recipe we chose to go with the standard recipe.

i. ingredients

1 package | chocolate cake mix
8 ounces | sour cream
1 package (4-serving size) | instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup | milk
¼ cup | crème de cassis … or brandy (I had brandy on hand)
16 ounce can | pitted dark sweet cherries
2 tablespoons | sugar
1 tablespoon | cornstarch
to serve | fresh whipping cream
¼ cup | sliced almonds, toasted

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions. Turn batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out of the middle clean. Cool completely in pan.

2. In a large mixer bowl beat together the sour cream, dry pudding mix, ⅓ cup of the milk and the crème de cassis or brandy until the mixture is fluffy. Gradually add the remaining milk, beating until smooth. Pour mixture over the cooled cake and chill.

Black Forest Squares by Betty's Cook Nook

3. Meanwhile, drain the cherries, reserving ¾ cups of the syrup. In a sauce pan combine the sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in the reserved syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Add the drained cherries, remove from heat and cool.

4. Spread the cool cherry mixture on top of the chilled pudding layer. Cover and chill several hours or overnight.

5. To serve – whip fresh cream to soft peaks. Pipe over cherry mixture in a lattice design. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Yields about 12 squares, depending on size

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Black Forest Squares Recipe

Here’s a scan of Mom’s original recipe. Ironically it was from a 1980 Betty Homes and Gardens Magazine – the same year we took our awesome trip to Colorado (mentioned above).

From The Cuchara Mountaintop

Over the river and through the wood … we find ourselves above the tree line atop Colorado.


stroganoff steak sandwiches

A Stroganoff Steak Sandwich Recipe From Bettys Cook NookA Christmas Spectacular
(Part II)

This stroganoff steak sandwich recipe is a continuation of the ultimate holiday meal which begins with this tomato bisque recipe, which you’ve gotta check out if you want your holiday meal to be complete. ;)

You’ll also be able to read a little more about how this recipe was selected for Betty’s Cook Nook plus learn about the photographer who took the picture of the 1970s Christmas family below.

foodie tips ~

  I was a little bummed when I started this recipe then discovered the meat needed to marinate overnight. Turns out it was well worth the wait. The flavor was delicious. I hope you agree!

  Any recipe where the first ingredient is beer is dyn-o-mite! Add sour cream and you’re taking your tastebuds on a one way trip to Fantasy Island.

  I’m a Texan. So in the ingredient ranges noted below, I always round UP.

  The bread. At the store I was in a flurry and forgot to pick up some french bread. I used some thin sliced white I had loitering in the pantry and still loved this sandwich. Use your favorite sliced bread and you’ll be AOK. I promise.

  I prefer these sandwiches warm. If you follow the original recipe they are likely to be room temperature cool. Either way, you win.

  Some people cry over spilled milk. When I later realized I forgot to butter my bread I have to admit a few sniffles were born.

i. ingredients

the marinade:
⅔ cup | beer
⅓ cup | vegetable oil
1 – 2 teaspoons | salt
¼ – ½ teaspoon | garlic powder
¼ – ½ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper

all the rest: 
2 pounds (1” thick) | flank steak
2 tablespoons | falfurrias brand butter
½ teaspoon | paprika
to taste | salt
2 cups | white onion, sliced
6 slices | buttered french bread, toasted
1 cup | sour cream (I’m crazy for Daisy)
½ – 1 teaspoon | prepared horseradish

ii. what to do

1. Place the steak in a shallow dish. Combine the first 5 ingredients above and pour this marinade over the steak. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

How To Make Stroganoff Steak Sandwiches From Betty's Cook Nook

2. The next day … drain the steak and broil it 3 inches from the heat for 6 minutes on each side for medium rare in an electric oven (gas boiling tips here) or until its the desired degree of doneness. Slice across the grain in thin slices and set aside. Keep warm if you can.

3. Combine the butter, paprika and salt in a skillet. Add the onions and cook them until they are transparent then set aside.How To Make Stroganoff Steak Sandwiches From Betty's Cook Nook

4. Combine the sour cream and horseradish in a saucepan. Place over low heat, stirring until warm.

5. Place some onions on the buttered bread, top with a few steak slices then a dollop of your sour cream mixture. You can smear your dollop on top of your sandwich. I left mine a dollop for photo-taking purposes. Add a dash more paprika on top and you’re ready to dive in!

Yield: About 4-6 servings

Here’s a scan of the original recipe! Note the missing Apple Cider recipe (how could they?!). No worries – I have a substitute recipe coming soon. 

Southern Living Magazine December 1978

 


mom’s layered salad

A Layered Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook NookLayers Of Taste

This salad recipe should be in everyone’s cookbook, so best bookmark it now.

My Cousin Julie said this dish is very popular for potluck meals – and when she’s taken this she’s always been asked for the recipe.

It’s that good!

Foodie Tips ~

  If you plan to eat this salad right away, run hot water over the frozen peas before adding so that they will defrost. Or you can use canned or fresh peas.

  Ingredient amounts may be doubled and layers may be doubled for large party servings. You can add any of the optional ingredients below to make this salad more of an entree then serve it with rolls, iced tea and a dessert! Need some dessert ideas?

  You may notice that in my pic above I served my salad from a glass champagne bucket. Whoopsie – no big glass dish for me! If you don’t care as much about the presentation you can layer this salad in any bowl that you’d like but make sure it’s large enough to hold the head of lettuce and all its friends.

  If you can serve the salad with the layers in tact send me a pic! It’s probably best to toss the salad just before serving. That is, after everyone has already viewed and snapped pics of your multi-layered wonder.

i. ingredients

the main stuff:
1 head | iceburg lettuce, chopped
1 box | frozen peas
2 cans | water chestnuts, drained (I added a can to the recipe below)
| green onions, chopped
1 cup | swiss cheese, shredded
optional | ham, chopped
optional | black olives, sliced or chopped (I used 2 cans)
optional | hardboiled eggs, chopped
optional | green peppers, chopped
optional | dealer’s choice  :)

the topping:
1 cup | mayonnaise
1 cup | sour cream
½ – 1 teaspoon | sugar (it’s not me, it’s the ’70s calling!)

to serve:
1 bottle | hormel brand bacon bits (yummm… a bottle)
1 cup | parmesan cheese, shredded

ii. what to do

1. In a large glass dish layer the first five ingredients to form the base of the salad. Add the optional ingredients, as you wish.

2. Mix together the three topping’s ingredients above and spread over the top of the salad. Be sure to cover to the edges to seal. The salad may be covered with plastic wrap and left in the fridge for a day or two or enjoyed now.

3. When ready to serve sprinkle the salad with the bacon bits and the parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

mom's layered salad recipe from betty's cook nook

 

This photo is of Julie’s original Mom’s Layered Salad recipe. I took this pic on her dining room table which is as big and beautiful as Texas. The wood originated from a bowling alley.

Who would have thunk? My spectacular Cousin Julie, that’s who!


blue cheese bacon potatoes

blue cheese bacon potatoes about to get in my belly

You Say “Potato” …

I Say … “Get out of my way, It’s mine!”

There have been some great “home run” recipes in Mom’s cookbook and this is one of them. While blue cheese sometimes makes my nose turn and run for the hills, this dish isn’t smothered with the sharp and salty taste.

With the arrival of the microwave to modern cooking, potatoes were often “zapped” because who wants to wait for an twice-baked potato!?

After I made this recipe, I’m reminded of the slow-baked potatoes Mom used to make … they arrive on your plate super soft all the way through! And well worth the wait.

Cheers To My New Spud Bud

i. ingredientsSnoopy Celebrates The 2nd Anniversary For Betty's Cook Nook

to coat | shortening
| baking potatoes, medium
½ cup | sour cream
¼ cup | blue cheese, crumbled
¼ cup | milk
4 tablespoons | Falfurrias brand butter (per Nanny)
¾ teaspoon | salt
dash | black pepper, freshly ground
4 slices | bacon, crisp-cooked, drained and crumbled

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 400°F.

1. Rub each potato with shortening. Place them in the oven uncovered or wrapped and cook for 1 hour, or until done.

2. Remove potatoes from the oven. Cut a lengthwise slice into each potato (the potatoes are hot so be careful)! Scoop out the inside of each potato and mash the innards (yup, I wrote “innards”) in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

3. Add sour cream, blue cheese, milk, butter, salt and pepper to the potatoes then beat with an electric beater until fluffy. Some remaining potato lumps are OK.

4. Spoon the blue cheese potato mixture back into the potato shells.

5. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and return them to the hot oven for 15 minutes or until heated through.

6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon.

Yields: 4 Servings (or 1 meal, if you’re me)

Twice Baked Blue Cheese Bacon Potatoes From Betty's Cook Nook

foodie tips ~

  It may take some practice but try and keep the potato from breaking into 2 separate halves. 1. When slicing, don’t cut it all the way through top-to-bottom. 2. When scooping, you can leave about an 1/8″ of the potato’s inside with the skin to give it a happy but hollow foundation.

  This is a great sidekick for this steak diane recipe that I also made on the 2 year anniversary of BCN. It’s also a good side for this barbecue pork chop recipe. Come to think of it, it’s really just a great recipe all by itself!

  Note below that this recipe hails from Better Homes and Gardens, March 1968. Why, I was just a young tot of one way back then!

a scan of Mom's steak diane meal - 6 recipes in 1 scan


ground beef goulash

Mmmm... beef goulashA New Favorite

On the anniversary of Betty’s Cook Nook, it was a unanimous decision to make this somewhat off-ishly-sounding dish, but a tasty delight.

I always pictured goulash as something that was made from cabbage, sauerkraut, an perhaps an eye of newt… and stirred by a witch maneuvering a wooden stick into her cauldron.

Tonight, it was a nice surprise to celebrate the 1st birthday of BCN (that’s Betty’s Cook Nook, y’all)!

Let’s Eat

i. ingredients

2 tablespoons | falfurrias brand butter (per Nanny)
2 cups | thinly sliced onion
2 pounds | ground beef
1 tablespoon | sweet paprika
to taste | salt
1 | green pepper, cut into strips
½ cup | canned tomato sauce
| beef bouillon cubes
1 cup | water
3 medium | potatoes, diced and cooked
½ cup | sour cream

ii. what to do

1. Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet.

2. Add onion and cook, stirring often, about 10 minutes.

3. Add meat, paprika, and ~1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until meat loses its red color.

4. Add green pepper, tomato sauce, bouillon cubes and the water.

5. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes.

6. Add potatoes and heat. Stir in sour cream.

7. Don’t add more salt, unless you *really* need it. : )~

Serves 6

Foodie Tips ~

Dish it over noodles or mashed potatoes, folks.

 





impossible taco pie

Go Loco For Taco

Mmmm... Taco Pie!This Pie Makes Its Own Crust ~ Total magic!

The idea of “magic” was something I was obsessed with when I was in 5th grade. I dreamed of being a professional magician after seeing a store display on Broadway Avenue… a mechanical magician who could perform tricks compliments of his table, a cup and a few eye-shifty shenanigans.

Oh, yeah… I was hooked.

Magically obsessed, one day I drug my Dad and best friend Sean to Central Park Mall to a magic shop. My eyes rest upon on a magic kit and I knew in a blink it was meant for me.

Dad selflessly bought me and Sean each the magic cred (I remember triple digits, so it was a big deal ~ especially in the 70s).

Back at our upstairs playroom at 2927 Trailend, complete with black light, cloth-covered table and my instruction manual cleverly tucked underneath, I performed ~ almost flawlessly ~ some of the tricks I could decipher.

This recipe? Totally easy to make. And especially easy and great to eat!

impossible taco pie ingredients

Ta Dah!

Let’s.
Make.
Magic!

i. ingredients

1 pound | ground beef
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 package | taco seasoning mix
4 ounces | chopped green chilies, drained
1¼ cups | milk
¾ cup | bisquick brand baking mix
3 | cage free eggs
2 | red tomatoes, sliced
1 cup | monterey jack or cheddar cheese, shredded
to garnish | ice burg lettuce, chopped
to garnish | red tomato, chopped

slice of heaven...ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 400°F.

1. Grease a 10½” pie plate and set aside.

2. Cook and stir beef and onion until brown; drain, then stir in taco seasoning mix.

3. Spread in pie plate and top with chilies.

4. With a blender or hand mixer, beat milk, baking mix and eggs until smooth; about 1 minute.

5. Pour into pie plate.

6. Bake pie 25 minutes then remove from oven.

7. Top with sliced tomatoes and cheese; return to oven and bake until knife inserted in the pie’s center returns clean (about 10 minutes).

8. Cool 5 minutes then top with sour cream, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce and cheese.

Serves 6-8 Texans

Great For Breakfast Or Dinner

Foodie Tips ~

Wanna spice up life? Add fresh diced jalapeños to the beef before you cook it. Adventurous!

Tre colori!

mom's impossible taco pie recipe. impossible? think again!