When I make anything with a mix I always feel a bit guilty. Like I can’t take credit because I didn’t really make it, a company did. I used to think this was just damage from guilt trips my mother used on us kids in an attempt to make us behave. (They rarely worked by the way, sorry Mom!)
Now that I’m deep into Laura Shapiro’s book, “Something from the Oven. Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America.” I realize it isn’t just me. Women in the 1950s felt the exact same way I do as marketers tried to sell their products by promising an easy way out of cooking.
Woman felt like they should cook. That it was their duty, and a chore most women actually enjoyed. Cooking was a matter of pride, just as it is today. (Men often fit in this category too. Or I know my dad and brothers do anyway.) For example, no one felt they could brag about a cake made from mix back then, but one from scratch was worthy of showing off.
Maybe most of us still feel this way 50 plus years later. I can’t be the only one right? Even though I made these cookies, and they are a variation on a mix, I still don’t feel I can take real credit for baking them.
I have a funny little story about Laura Shapiro before I set you loose with this recipe. Although I’m certain she doesn’t remember me at all, I followed her around and talked to her for two days at a food photography conference last June. I just thought she was a neat person who had the same first name as I did. Little did I know she was the Laura Shapiro who wrote all of my favorite American women’s history and food books, plus lots of good articles! Until the day I was leaving that is, and I didn’t even find out from her. It all clicked when I found her Julia Child book for sale on the authors' table.
I’m such a genius sometimes. Geesh! The good news is Laura is really sweet and great to talk to, even if I can’t tell her now that her books are wonderful. So if you find her, please let her know for me.
Caramel Macchiato Thumbprints
This brilliant cookie take on a favorite coffee drink is by 2009 Betty Crocker Cookie Contest Winner Edwina Gadsby from Great Falls Missouri. They really are wonderful, so ignore any feelings of guilt and enjoy them.
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder or granules
1 tablespoon hot water
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
18 caramels (from 14-oz bag), unwrapped
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening
1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, dissolve coffee powder in hot water. Stir in cookie mix, flour, butter, vanilla and egg until very soft dough forms.
2. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (I made 1-inch balls). On ungreased cookie sheets (use parchement paper here), place balls 2 inches apart. Using thumb or handle of wooden spoon (floured pastry tamper works best), make indentation in center of each cookie.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. (Re-indent cookies right away) Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.
4. In small microwavable bowl, microwave caramels and milk uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring once, until caramels are melted. Spoon (about) 1/2 teaspoon caramel into indentation in each cookie. Cool 15 minutes.
5. In another small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and shortening uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds or until chips can be stirred smooth. Drizzle chocolate over cookies. Let stand about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.
Edwina Gadsby ‘s Tips
Chill dough for about 20 minutes to make it easier to shape.
To drizzle chocolate easily, spoon melted chocolate into small resealable food-storage plastic bag; cut small tip from 1 bottom corner. Squeeze bag gently to drizzle chocolate over cookies.
Recipe by Edwina Gadsby @ Betty Crocker. Picture by Laura Flowers.