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Friday, December 16, 2011

More Cookie Recipes, and Brisket To Die For!

Tomorrow we have somewhere between 35 and 40 people coming for a Christmas party
at That Old House, so today I'm getting a jump on some cooking.  Some random thoughts to share . . . .

Hands up, anyone who knows why
Romance Cookies are called Romance Cookies.
You in the back, there?  No?
Okay, I'll tell you, but you have to understand that this is the Gospel according to my Mother, who was,
as her mother-in-law might have phrased it, "a bit of a Dickens."  And we don't mean Charles.

According to Mom, Romance Cookies are so named because they are made with two layers.
One on top, and one on the bottom, in a close and cozy arrangement.

Get it?  Yup, that's exactly what she meant.
(Recipe at end of post.)
I bet nearly all of you have recipes handed down from mothers or
mothers-in-law that are part of your go-to repertoire in the kitchen.
One of mine is Cranberry Onion Brisket,
given to me by Howard's Mom -- who is an excellent cook.
I've got four nice sized briskets, flat cut, and using just two other ingredients, dry Onion Soup Mix and whole berry Cranberry Sauce, I'm going to transform these 4 slabs into deliriously delicious buffet fare.

Brisket (duh!) -- any size, any quantity.  Costco sells them and they are usually larger and less costly than the supermarkets.
For each Brisket, one can of whole berry cranberry sauce, and one envelope onion soup mix (the stuff you make onion dip with).  I usually make more sauce than the minimum, as people love it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix the cranberry sauce and the powdered soup mix.  Loosely and casually, no perfection needed.
Line a big roasting pan with two sheets of foil, criss-crossing one another like a + sign.
After rinsing and trimming the brisket, put it (fat side up) into the pan, and ladle on the cranberry mixture.
Be pretty generous.  Cover the meat, and have some around it and oozing in underneath.
WARNING: Raw meat looks awful in pictures.
Plus - I forgot to line the pans with foil.  So, I'll just be
covering the tops tightly with foil, and the pans will be a treat to wash.
Wrap up the meat & sauce with the foil and cook for 2-1/2 hours if under 3 lbs of meat, adding a half hour after that for every pound above 3.  The more you cook it, the more tender it gets, so don't be shy with oven time.  Near the end of the cooking time, unwrap the top of the foil so air can get in, and put it back in the oven.  This thickens the sauce, and darkens (caramelizes) the meat.

Slice the brisket across the grain, and serve with the sauce.  I usually make this beforehand, and reheat the slices in the sauce, with extra sauce in a ... well, sauce boat.  This dish can make you famous.  Trust me.

(No pictures of the finished product yet; all our briskets are merrily roasting away in the oven!)

And now, those naughty-but-nice
Romance Cookies
(Bottom Layer)
1 cup butter
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
(Top Layer)
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
2 TBS flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts -- traditionally walnuts, but pecans can be used
And . . . powdered sugar for the finale

1.  Cream the butter and blend in flour, sugar and salt.  (This will make a loose crumbly mixture.)  Spread it in an ungreased pan -- you can use a smallish jelly roll pan or, for thicker cookies, a 9 x 13 pan.  You will have to smoosh the mixture with your fingers.  Bake this for 10 minutes; the top will not brown.
2.  Beat the eggs until light and frothy.  Stir in the brown sugar, then add the flour, baking powder, and vanilla.  Beat it all up till it screams "UNCLE!" and then fold in the coconut and the nuts.  Spread this layer over the hot crust, and pop it all back into the oven for about 20 minutes; it should be golden brown and not moist looking on top.  But if you overcook, the cookie gets too crunchy.
 3.  When the pan is cool, sift on some 10X sugar and cut into squares, and ... Mmmmm.... get ready to fall in love with Romance Cookies.  (Hint:  I find if I cut when the bars are still slightly warm, it's easier to do.)

And that's it for today; pretty dull, huh?
I've got a list a mile long of things to do.
I hope I remember to take some pictures of our party tomorrow.
Usually . . . I forget.  Doh.  -- Cass

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  1. I'll have to try that brisket recipe -- I've got a tried and true (have cooked a couple of "cows" worth! LOL) but it sounds good and easy. Brisket is such a good meat and my grandfather, the Butcher, didn't even feel that it was worth putting in hamburger -- go figure!

    Love the reason for the name of the cookies!

    Have a nice party tomorrow night!

    We're off to a party tonight -- and another tomorrow and a third one Sunday -- the tree is up and now is wrapping and partying!

  2. Oh Cas, the brisket sounds wonderful. I definitely have to give that a try. Love the romance cookie recipe too. Sounds so yummy. Have fun at the party. Hugs, Marty

  3. The brisket looks and sound delicious...thanks for sharing, Cass!

  4. Ah the meat dish--might have to try that one! HAve a good party!

  5. The brisket sounds so good! I will have a couple of slices, and a couple of romance cookies on the side - Please. :D Thanks for sharing the recipes.
    Have a great weekend! I also have a full house this weekend.

  6. I think I'd really like your Mother-a bit of the Naughty in her! I copied over the brisket recipe. My sil loves brisket. He's not fond of cranberries so I wonder if thickened tart cherries would work just as well?

    Can I pop over for a plate? Pleeeeeze...xo Diana

  7. I have saved your recipes, and since we are going to Costco tomorrow, I am definitely going to get a brisket and try it your way -- it looks incredible. And I do so want to be famous...

    I bet your party will be the hottest ticket in town, and I am so jealous I am not there!


  8. I'll be back to see the photos of the table-ready brisket. It sound wonderful!....I'm having a crowd for TGD's birthday at the end of the month...

  9. Oh my! We must make the brisket!! Oh and these delicious looking cookies!! Heavenly!
    Your party guests are SO lucky!!
    Wishing you the sweetest of Christmas Days!!

  10. OK, now tell this brisket in Cranberry Sauce sweet, or does the sauce just give it a certain flavor. My bunch is not big on sweet meats (boy, I sure am) so if I fix this for Christmas Eve dinner, will they all shoot me or dive in with both hands...??? :)))


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