My brother-in-law, Chuck McLaughlin, recalls the days when we were growing up in western Pennsylvania. He and my sister Jane were married as she was the second oldest of five. I was still a young pup at home. Chuck often recalls when “Barb would spend her whole summer baking…then she would eat it all!”
Truer words were never spoken so when summer comes and the days are long, I still have the urge to bake and please my family. Summer vacation equals homemade cookies.
Last week I noticed our son (age 11) snacking frequently from the bag of chocolate chips. I said to him, “Patrick, if you want me to make homemade chocolate chip cookies just ask me.”
Minutes later, “Mom, can you make some homemade chocolate chip cookies?”
That was all I needed to hear so off I set to bake my trademark chocolate chip cookies. One problem, thanks to Patrick—not enough chocolate chips left in the bag. So I skimped on the chocolate chips and added a few butterscotch chips. The result was delicious but the color? Patrick said, “Mom, these are really good but I’m going to call them “Pale Cookies.” (He gets the naming rights.)
"Pale Cookies" named by Patrick. Read why.
Pale? First, one of the good things about my chocolate chip cookies is the texture—big, soft and chewy. TIP: This is achieved by using unsalted, melted butter cooled to room temperature in the creamed mixture with the sugar. Second, the cookies are not baked fully so they are not rock hard so they lack a truly browned finish. Add this to the lack of dark chocolate chips and you have some pretty darned awesome “pale cookies.”
We Have a Theme Going Here
Snickerdoodles, an old-fashioned cookie, definitely fits the pale cookie theme.
You can see I don’t need much encouragement, so what other “pale cookies” could I bake?
Snickerdoodles—Oh! Those are really pale for sure. This is an old-fashioned cookie made with butter, cream of tartar and the trademark cinnamon-sugar coating. You can find a recipe anywhere and they are all pretty much the same. TIP: I use a recipe with both unsalted butter and solid vegetable shortening which makes it the right amount of chewy and crispy.
So I whipped up a batch of Snickerdoodles and watched four boys devour two dozen of them with milk right before my eyes.
Kevin, a real boy, dunks his pale cookie.
You see, the boys in this neighborhood are hungry. They are a breed of boys (ages 10-14) who still play outside, climb trees, swing on ropes, ride bikes, hike to the creek and catch crawly things, play flashlight tag, flag football, kick-the-can, and more. (Okay, so the can is now Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes instead of canned green beans like the old days…) These real boys are not sitting in front of video games all day, so they get really, really hungry! Better yet, they burn off everything they eat so they are lean and healthy too!
You can’t get any whiter than these. They have a limited audience but for those who love coconut, they are a hit. For purposes of this blog and the pale cookie theme I did not dip these macaroons in chocolate. However, when I’m done blogging, I will. I am such a coconut nut that I like them both ways.
These are so delicious and, really, a great no-fat cookie if you don’t dip them in chocolate. If you do dip them in chocolate, choose a dark chocolate and you really do have a cookie that is good for you. Bring ’em on.
School doesn’t start until September 7, so I have a little time left to re-live the summer baking days of my past. And, a message to Chuck—I’m not eating them all up this time! Love ya bro!