Thursday, September 29, 2016

Safeway Chocolate Chip Cookies, Spider Cookies and the Black Moon, by Margaret Ullrich

Goodness, it’s almost October!
Time to start getting ready for the holidays! 
In Canada that means Thanksgiving… Halloween… Christmas… New Year’s… in addition to whatever else a person or family celebrates.
It’s all good.

During the past summer I posted the recipes that had been on the back of Safeway’s 2.5 Kg bags of Instant Skim Milk Powder.
If you missed the posts, the recipes were for Tuscan White Bean and Zucchini Soup
They’re easy to make, and are perfect for this time of year.

The large bags of Instant Skim Milk Powder were not the only things Sobeys decided to discontinue when they bought Safeway.
Safeway used to sell 1 Kg bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
They were at a very reasonable price, compared to the brand names.
Safeway knew how quickly chips get used up by any home baker.

As with the bags of milk powder, the chocolate chips bag had a great recipe for ‘Our Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookies’.
It was a favourite of quite a few families, too.
A neighbour asked if I still had the recipe.
Of course I did, and now so does she, and so will you.

If you don’t like walnuts, leave them out.

Do not overbake.  Really, if you want moist and crisp cookies.  
These cookies are soft when they come out of the oven, but will crisp up as they cool.

The cookies may be stored airtight for several days.
They can also be frozen.

About Halloween…
If you’d like to make the chips look like tiny spiders, it’s easy, and the kiddies love it.
All you have to do is:
After the cookies have cooled, melt about 1/4 Cup of chocolate chips.
Put the melted chips into a piping bag with a very small opening. 
Pipe 8 spider legs onto the chocolate chips that are showing on top. 

If you can’t see any chocolate chips on some cookies, don’t panic.
While the cookies are still warm you can place a chip or two upside down into the cookie and then add legs to the additions.

for a bit of variety, you could also bake a batch of 

As you can see, it’s easy to go through a bag of chocolate chips during the holidays!

                        Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 5 dozen cookies

Place the 2 oven racks in the centre of the oven.
Grease 4 cookie sheets          

In a large mixer bowl beat until creamy
1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
Mix in 
1 Cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Beat until fluffy.
Mix in
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda

With the mixer at low speed, gradually add
2 cups flour
Beat only until mixed.
Mix in
1 1/2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 Cups walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º           

Scoop the cookie dough by rounded tablespoonfuls .
Place the dough balls 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
Bake 2 sheets at a time for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are golden and tops are set when lightly pressed.
Cool 2 minutes.
Remove cookies and place them on racks to let cool completely.

About the sky this week, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

September 30 – This is the second New Moon of the month! It will occur at 8:11 p.m. EDT. The second of two new Moons in one calendar month is sometimes called a Black Moon.

Yes, we also had a New Moon on September 1st.
Having two New Moons in one month happens roughly once every 32 months, according to, so we haven't seen a Black Moon since March 2014.

There’s a Creedence Clearwater Revival song called Bad Moon Rising.
That’s about a Bad Moon not a Black Moon, so there’s no connection.
Nothing to worry about - no earthquakes, lightning or hurricanes.
Well, at least none that are connected to the moon.

If you were curious... When we have two full Moons in one month, that second one is referred to as a Blue Moon, as in "once in a Blue Moon", since it doesn't happen too often, either.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Anna Sultana’s Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies, The Harvest Full Moon & Gemini

Autumn is coming.
The towns in the western part of Manitoba are getting night time frost warnings.
it’s time to start putting our gardens to bed.
It’s also time to do a bit of baking.
The days of ice cream are coming to an end for this year.

A friend asked why I’ve been labelling some of my posts ‘The Hump’.
I’ve been trying to make use of things that I already have.
In other words, I’m trying to live off the hump.
I’m not getting any younger.
And neither are the things, or food purchases, in my home.

Anyway… back to doing a bit of baking…
Autumn and winter are peak holiday and visiting time.
It’s the season for folks to drop by for a holiday dinner or a cup of coffee or tea.
And what’s better with a cup of either coffee or tea than a few cookies?

There are dozens of cookies recipes, of all flavours and colours.
Ma’s Gingersnap Cookies are a rich dark brown.
They would look pretty on a platter with Ma's Easy Sugar Cookies. 

Cookies can also be used to make use of a bit of the hump.
One of the items I bought a while ago was a bag of poppy seeds.
No, I don’t know why.
Luckily I had a recipe from Ma that called for poppy seeds.
Maybe making a batch of Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies was meant to be.
Whatever… they taste good and would look pretty on a platter, too.


I suggested having 4 cookie sheets so you could make 2 pans of cookies while 2 pans are being baked.
If you only have 2 pans, let them cool after the first batch before using for another batch of cookies.
If the pans are hot the cookies will be affected.

I put the 1/2 Cup of poppy seeds for the coating in an 8 inch square pan so I could make about 10 balls, put them in the pan, and coat them together before transferring them to the cookie sheet.
It seemed more efficient and less messy this way.

If you want puffy cookies, use 6 ounces shortening instead of 1 Cup butter. 
If you’re using shortening, first cream the shortening, then gradually beat in the sugar.

You can also roll the dough into logs, wrap them in plastic and freeze them for up to two months.

                        Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies 

Makes about 50 cookies 
Have on hand 4 cookie sheets
Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper

Sift together into a medium bowl
3 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place in a large mixer bowl 
1 Cup butter or margarine, room temperature
1 1/2 Cups sugar
Beat well until light and fluffy.
Blend in 
2 large eggs
juice and zest from 1 lemon
Beat until combined.
Add 1/4 of the flour mixture and beat in well.
Repeat three times, blending the flour mixture in well each time.
Form the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic.
Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight. 

Place in an 8 inch square pan
1/2 Cup poppy seeds

Place the oven rack in the centre of the oven.        
Preheat oven to 350º F

Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
Take a spoonful of the dough and roll the dough (in your hands) into a ball about 1 1/4 inch in diameter.  
Place the ball in the pan of poppy seeds.
Repeat about nine more times.
Roll the balls around until they are coated with poppy seeds.
Place the coated balls, about 2 inches apart, on a cookie sheet.
The cookies will flatten and spread as they bake.
Repeat with the remaining dough until it is all used.

Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they are a golden yellow colour..
Remove the cookies from the pans and place them on wire racks.
Let them cool completely.

Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

About the sky this week, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

September 16 — The Harvest Full Moon is the full Moon nearest the Autumnal Equinox (which occurs on September 22nd). Learn about the meaning behind the name of one of the year’s most popular full Moons and how it related to the annual gathering of crops and the autumn equinox in this short video.

September 18 – The nearly-full waning gibbous Moon is at perigee, its closest point to Earth.

September 22 – Autumn begins at 10:21 a.m. with the Autumnal Equinox. The Sun crosses the Equator and darkness begins to win out over daylight. It also means the Sun will rise due east and set due west!

September 23 – If you want to see the waning crescent Moon and the two stars of Gemini, the Twins, Castor and Pollux, you have to set your alarms early, or stay up late!  Look low to the eastern horizon after midnight, then they’ll be climbing higher in the sky before dawn.