Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Month of Hanukkwanzamas - Yin and Yang Cookies

Seriously dudes, is there any better way to achieve Whirled Peas than for everyone to celebrate each other's holidays? I don't mean for Jews to start attending Midnight Mass or for Christians to start lighting menorahs while chanting the blessings in Hebrew, but rather to share the human emotions of joy and happiness associated with each occasion. That's the way I've done it since starting college back in 1970. It means partying together and learning about each other's traditions and being happy for each other.. It means telling the rabid atheists to fuck off, and rather submerge yourself in potato latkes and bright, shiny tinsel. It means being happy instead of being hateful. It means respecting each other's traditions while staying close to your own religious roots and requirements. It means sharing the best of you. It means finding balance. It means universal inclusion instead of exclusion. It means resisting Balkanization and embracing this single world in all its variations.

I grew up at a time when America was considered a great melting pot of religions, ethnicities, and races. It was before pride and particularism resulted in societal guilt and the culture of chronic apology. It was a better time. Not perfect, but better.

The moral of the story is for us Chosen People to share our latkes and for our Christian brethren to invite their Jewish friends help put tinsel on your tree - 2 strands at a time. (Yes, there's a story here. Another time, perhaps.)

I forgot the cucumbers and missed a hibiscus flower. Also, the loquat tree has started to open its blossoms and I am seeing happy honey bees hard at work. The bees are crucial to the whole process and I'm so glad they are back. A few more photos from the December in Florida file:

Sneaky creeping cucumber vines

More bougainvillea

Crotons, just naturally in the holiday spirit

Trying to look innocent cucumber vines


Black Beauty Eggplant 

Okra Blossoms at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock

I feel pretty crappy today, but I have a spectacular cookie recipe, that I developed a couple of days ago, to share. This cookie is easy - STUPIDLY easy - but it looks so fancy and tastes so fine, nobody will believe that. Now they may look like New York black-and-white cookies but they are something more. Like the concept of yin and yang, these cookies are all about contrasts and opposites and how they come together to form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.                              

You will need 2 - 1 pound packages of Nestle's refrigerated cookie dough, the kind that comes in a flat package with precut cookies. I used a chocolate chocolate chip and the white chocolate macadamia nut. This meant I cut the chocolate cookies, which came 12 extra large cookies to a pack, in half so that I had 24 pieces of cookie dough for each flavor.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press one piece of each cookie dough into a cookie scoop so that you can clearly see each half.

Use a small spoon to scoop out any cookie dough that sticks to the inside of the scoop, 
and use those bits of dough to fill up the scoops
Place the cookie on a baking sheet lined with a silpat.  Place a total of 12 cookies on the baking sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are barely set.  Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, then move them to a wire cooling rack. You could stop right here and serve them to friends and family, but in honor of the holidays, let's get excessive together.

Now you will need 2 cans of prepared frosting, about 1 pound each can. Any national brand (Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, Pillsbury) is fine. I picked vanilla and chocolate fudge.

Once your cookies are completely cooled, turn them over so that the flat bottom is right side up and place the racks on top of waxed paper or parchment or even foil.

Uncover the vanilla frosting and remove the foil inner cover. In the microwave, melt the frosting on time cook level 7 for 20 to 30 seconds.  Stir the frosting to distribute heat and until all the solid bits are melted. With a regular kitchen teaspoon, cover the vanilla half of each cookie with some of the vanilla frosting.  Let it set  bit, then go back with remaining frosting and cover each vanilla side a second time.  Set the cookies aside for a least 30 minutes.

Once the vanilla frosting is completely set, repeat using the chocolate frosting.  Refrigerate or freeze the cookies, single layer only.  Even so, the chocolate never hardens 100%, so handle carefully, preferably from the vanilla side.  Serve them in extra large paper muffin cups.

Very little work, but you are going to impress a whole lot of people. Unless you horde them for yourself, in which case you are going to have to have your blood sugar checked. I limit myself to one a day, like the Meloxicam. Works like a charm.

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