Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Caramel Macchiato Thumbprints & Shortcut Guilt

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
1 egg
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
Success
Chill dough for about 20 minutes to make it easier to shape.

How-To
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.


42 comments:

Ms Bibi said...

I am sure I can enjoy them without any guilt,lol.

Federica said...

Ciao Laura!! ci credo che sono meravigliosi!!! bravissima!

Vrinda said...

I lov anything which has coffee flavor,that looks so divine and delish...

Blackberry Jam Cafe said...

This is really good. Seems like we all try to balance between the guilt of taking the easy way with a mix - and being so busy some days we're grateful there is a mix!
These look absolutely yummmm.
Susan

Blackberry Jam Cafe said...

I pushed the button too quick - I meant to also tell you I love your "other Laura" story. How fun was that!
Susan

La Table De Nana said...

Great twist w/ the espresso powder and they are drizzled beautifully.I am glad she was nice:) it's always great to find out they are as nice as we had hoped:)

Mimi said...

These look yummy and last time I checked guilt and yummy were not in the same part of the alphabet.
Mimi

Memória said...

What lovely cookies. I still think you can claim that you made these because there were more ingredients involved. Also, you put your beautiful decorations on top of them. I could never make cookies that beautiful.

P.S. I agree with you about men cooking. Thank you for including them haha.

ButterYum said...

Guilt or not, no body has to know! ;)

Seriously, I hid a box of cake mix in my shopping cart once. The I made sure the coast was clear before I went to the check out. Never again!

:)
ButterYum

Gulmohar said...

I could have these without any guilt feeling...looks too good and irresistible :-)

Sue Sparks said...

Laura, With this sufficient list of ingredients no need to feel guilty! These sound so decadent and look beautiful! YUM!

CinnamonAndSass said...

That is so funny, I feel EXACTLY the same way when I use a mix! These cookies look lovely however!

Michelle said...

I feel like that too!!! I hate when people compliment something I 'half-made' and I never know what to say... "Uh thanks... but I can only accept half of that compliment?!"

But then again, I do relish in the fact that I managed to produce something delicious and incredibly easy :)

(Sorry about all those deletions, I posted on the wrong post ahha)

alissa said...

Laura - These cookies are so beautiful and they sound wonderful! Sometimes it's ok to use a mix, right?!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Yeah lol. It has to be! :)

Carolyn Jung said...

These are gorgeous, cookie mix or no cookie mix. :)

Daydreamer Desserts said...

One of my favorite coffee drinks in cookie form... love it! :)

Cristie said...

I so enjoyed this post! I have to check the book out you mention and the cookies, well . . . they look wonderful.

Steve said...

Laura,
Excellent. I was talking with friend Amy (Gourmet Editor) just Sunday night. Same guilt. The only box thing we ever had growing up was Angel Food Cake. My mother claimed it was better than what you could make from scratch. I'll try to get over the guilt with these beauties. Thanks.
Steve
http://www.myfavoriteflavours.com

Dawn said...

I won't tell anyone. ;) They look gorgeous.

Debbie said...

I could eat these without any guilt!!! They look delicious and I love the drizzle!

my spatula said...

so so pretty! i've never been able to master the perfect drizzle like yours!

Pink Panda said...

As long as they taste good, then nothing else matters :D. I could go for some of those with a frappuchino right now.

shar said...

i have the same guilt! I'll be stressing out about what to cook for dinner and my husband will say, "Just open a can of soup." I just can't do it.

Cathy said...

There's nothing wrong with taking a short cut now and then. And these cookies looks soooo good. Love the caramel and chocolate.

Cinnamon-Girl♥ said...

These are the most delicious looking cookies! I don't mind that you used a mix - there's a recipe in there too. But I often feel the same way. Cute story about Laura.

I'm so happy that you all liked the pasta! I am shocked over the response I've gotten from it. I really didn't think anyone would be interested in it. It's turning out to be one of my most popular recipes. Thanks for trying it!

shaz said...

I often feel that guilt! Especially when using ready made curry pastes - mum would turn up her nose (she made them from scratch)

But, like these cookies, I ease the guilt by adding lots of other bits and the end result is a happy compromise. These cookies look like they'd make lots of folks happy, so here's to cheating :)

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

I know how you feel. I've always felt the same way regarding the mixes. We should have a new take on it....as long as we're the only ones that know it was a mix, then its still homemade. After all, it was made in the home, and that's the real definition of homemade. LOL! Right?
Mix or no mix, these cookies look divine and you should totally be proud of them!

notyet100 said...

wow,,thy look so good

lostpastremembered said...

I never do mixes, but these really are great... a little of each is a very smart idea!

bridget {bake at 350} said...

These are so pretty! I'm sure I could get over the "mix guilt" pretty darn quick! ;)

Velva said...

Laura, I will have no trouble enjoying these cookies. They look delicious.

ARUNA said...

I love coffee and anything with coffee. They look just perfect and iam sure delicious too!!

lisa @ dandysugar said...

Sometimes, it's a blessing to have a mix to help us out! These look fantastic--mix or no mix! They're beautiful!

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

I will looking out for you on Tuesday, 2/9/10...How exciting!

http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-want-to-wake-up-in-city-that-never.html

bakingwithoutabox said...

Those look great! And I especially loved your editorial about wanting to get back to the way things were made before the mixes.

Although sometimes you just don't have time to do it from scratch, there's a pride and sense of accomplishment that comes from starting with flour and sugar. Please check me out sometime at www.bakingwithoutabox.com as that's exactly what I'm trying to do.

I will definitely be back! These look fantastic and your photography is superb.

Chef Fresco said...

These are beautiful - perfect chocolate drizzle on top!

Danielle said...

I to have such a hard time taking credit if I didn't make it all from scratch! Like...doctoring it up isn't enough to call it your own. But hey...if it's good, it's good. and thumbprints look great!

Southern Cookbook said...

Hi Laura, Those look fantastic. I often feel the same guilt (sometimes) I do feel better when i make from scratch it is just something about the recipe that makes you want to shine...Lol. I do use box sometimes mostly if i need something quick. Great blog!

Southern Cookbook said...

Hi Laura, Those look fantastic. I often feel the same guilt (sometimes) I do feel better when i make from scratch it is just something about the recipe that makes you want to shine...Lol. I do use box sometimes mostly if i need something quick. Great blog!

Southern Cookbook said...

Hi Laura, Those look fantastic. I often feel the same guilt (sometimes) I do feel better when i make from scratch it is just something about the recipe that makes you want to shine...Lol. I do use box sometimes mostly if i need something quick. Great blog!

Veronica M. said...

I love mixes and have no guilt using them and taking all the credit. I did bake it, even if I did skip a few measuring steps, so there. These look fabulous!!!

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