Friday, December 14, 2012

A Cooking Challenge

Life is best lived by being bold and daring. People tend to grow fearful when they taste failure, face a daunting challenge or fall ill. Yet that is precisely the time to become even bolder. 
Not sure who to attribute this quote to but was fitting since today a made a bold move and challenged a Betty Crocker recipe. 
Hopefully you are aware that besides being a cultural icon, as well as brand name and trademark of American Fortune 500 corporation general Mills, Betty Crocker is not a real person. The name was first developed by the Washburn Crosby Company  in 1921 as a way to give a personalized response to consumer product questions. The name Betty was selected because it was viewed as a cheery, all-American name. It was paired with the last name Crocker, in honor of William Crocker, a Washburn Crosby Company director.
This poster shows the evolution of Betty Crocker over the years.
I have been on a holiday baking roll since I am supplying a tray of assorted desserts for a progressive dinner party. 
I struggled to make a classic Russian Tea Cakes recipe work. The recipe originally appeared in a Betty Crocker Cookbook in 1965 and in 1973. Despite following the recipe directions exactly I found the dough mixture a bit dry and would not form into balls.  So I made some adaptations and was quite satisfied with results. 
Russian Tea Cakes
Ingredients:
  • 1 stick of butter and 1 stick of margarine
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar plus 2 cups of confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts
  • 1 egg beaten
Directions:
  • Preheat oven 400
  • Beat butter and margarine, sugar and vanilla till creamy
  • Add 1/2 of beaten egg mixture and mix well into butter/sugar mixture
  • Stir in flour, salt and nuts to mixture
  • With hands work flour mixture till dough holds together to be able to form balls
Cook's note: I found that warming the dough in microwave about 20 seconds made the dough mixture easier to form into balls
  • Bake 10 minutes or until set but not brown
  • In a large bowl put in 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • Add warm balls to sugar and cover each 
  • Cool on a wire rack and sift confectioners sugar over cooled cookies


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