Maybelle Turner’s Blonde Brownies…

0CEBA9D8-A454-4781-B693-1EB9B355C514I never knew Maybelle Turner. She might have been a friend of my grandmother’s double first cousins, since this recipe was tucked in their cookbook and on the same page as Nellie’s Wicked Brownies…which I’ve never had the nerve to bake. I don’t know whether Maybelle was short or tall, young or old. Whether she had blonde hair, was a redhead or had salt and pepper hair wadded up in a bun, it really doesn’t matter- Maybelle Turner must have been a generous soul; must have loved doubled recipes (because this one certainly could be halved!) and she had to be a creative cook since she gave a variation. Or… maybe one day she was making these Blonde Brownies and ran short of chocolate chips! Whatever… I do know this is an old recipe- why? Because it was in one of my oldest family cookbooks and nobody says- ‘Blonde Brownies’ anymore!

E8157407-54E2-47DE-B2E5-351B9CF537FBHere’s how you make- Maybelle Turner’s Blonde Brownies 

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs – beaten
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 (12 ounce) package semi sweet chocolate chips (variation- 8 oz. chocolate chips plus 4 oz. butterscotch chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8×8 glass baking dishes- lightly butter, line with buttered parchment paper. Set aside. Melt butter, combine with brown sugar, beaten eggs, vanilla and salt. Stir in flour and baking powder- do not overmix! Fold in pecans and chocolate chips. Divide dough in half and spread lightly in the 2 prepared baking dishes. Bake for 25 minutes. Do not overbake! Allow to cool in baking dish. Cut into small squares and serve. These are very rich.B943EB76-94F4-4382-A911-28CF222CE0D3

I’ve hung onto the recipe for Maybelle’s Blonde Brownies a while now… why? I don’t bake bar cookies or brownies very often! These are moist and very rich. I used her variation of adding butterscotch chips, though I’m sure they would be good either way! And, please don’t overbake- who wants a dried out blonde brownie? Also, they are truly rich- I cut mine in small bars and truthfully if you’re as generous as Maybelle, a bar is rich enough to share! So… I’d like to say- ‘Maybelle, wherever you are- your Blonde Brownies are delicious, darling!’ Who knows maybe closer to Halloween, I’ll get up the nerve to bake Nellie’s Wicked Brownies!

C2AACC1C-5F49-4BDD-8698-B7F8294BDFCBSchool’s back in session, the garden is headed into ‘curl up and die’ time and I’m beginning to see fall fruits in the grocery store…these Blonde Brownies tasted awfully good with apples, and they sure would make a wonderful addition to a lunch bag or as an after school snack!

Love y’all, Camellia

* All photographs are obviously mine!

Camellia’s Cottage Cookies

Not a lot of cookies are made here at the cottage. Okay, I make shortbread cookies, they’re my favorite plain and also I’ve have experimented with add ins like pecans or orange zest, have even made a variation with brown sugar and pecans as a unique shortbread, but that’s about it for cookies. I do admit to enjoying bar cookies and the ease of making them,. yet I’ve wanted another cookie to add to my repertoire, if it’s a go to recipe that’s a bit different, with a crisp crumb and a bit of texture added, and of course loaded with southern flavors.

I ran across a cookie recipe- from a community cookbook that I’d kept for over 20 years- it called for walnuts and a few other things I knew would have to change before it would be a cookie I thought would taste good and be worth the time and effort. Now… the baker had called the recipe- ‘World’s Best Cookie’. Southerners do tend to exaggerate when it comes to making up a title for their recipes…everything is – Best, Delight, Divine or named, King or Queen– after Royalty or a famous ranch for all I know… Still. I wondered about this world’s best cookie…it did sound good, and except for the walnuts, had solid southern flavors. I’ve been clearing out my pantry for a fresh start to the new year and I had all of the ingredients on hand. You might have them too!

 I tweaked the old recipe and what do you know? It’s a really good cookie. World’s Best, who knows? Still. For me to put our name on it- well, it’s has to be good!

I’ve named these cookies simply Camellia’s Cottage Cookies… easy to make, even easier to enjoy and the easiest to share! Otherwise… well, let’s just say I was standing there eating them one after another thinking- ‘I’ve got to get these cookies out of here!’  Hope you’ll try them. As always…

Love y’all, Camellia

Camellia's Cottage Cookies

A truly good cookie that has everything but the kitchen sink- pecans, oats, coconut and even corn flakes! The butter makes the texture light and crisp.  It's a great after school snack or with all that fiber even a quick breakfast treat with a piece of fruit of course...
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup regular or frosted corn flakes lightly crushed
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats not quick or instant
  • 1 cup shredded coconut unsweetened is best
  • 3/4 cup coarse chopped pecans
  • 1 cup butter I use salted, if you don't add 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar may use light brown
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg- lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda sifted with flour
  • 4 cups all purpose flour

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, toss to combine- lightly crushed corn flakes, rolled oats, coconut and pecans. Set aside.  With a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until light, about 4 minutes. Add beaten egg, mix well- then add vanilla and almond extracts, beating well. Slowly add vegetable oil until well incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer.
    By hand, carefully add mixture of corn flakes, oats, coconut and pecans. Then, add one cup at a time of the sifted flour mixture. Be gentle but mix well. 
    Drop by rounded tablespoons on ungreased sheet pans. Flatten each ball of dough with a fork dipped in water - making a cross hatch pattern.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 14-15 minutes. Check cookies after 12 minutes. Bake until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. Makes 3-4 dozen.

Notes

I had frosted corn flakes in my pantry and they worked just fine! It's important to cream the butter, sugars, egg, extracts and oil in the correct order- and to do this with a mixer. Folding in the mixture of oats, flakes, coconut and pecans must be done by hand to have that wonderful texture. Depending on the size cookies you make- adjust the baking time accordingly. These are truly good cookies!

*all photographs are mine!

Bear Cubs…

IMG_3417Brown Butter, Brown Sugar and Pecans, now that makes a special cookie. There’s nothing like coming home from school to an afternoon snack- especially if it’s warm and home baked! Something sweet after a meal or before bedtime is extra good! Bear Cubs have been on my list of must-try cookies  for a good while… They aren’t true Shortbread but filed away with my favorite Shortbread recipes, this old cookie recipe made with browned butter, brown sugar and pecans has a notation- ‘not a true shortbread cookie’ – But so close…so deliciously close, it would make a hungry bear cub very happy!

I suppose, the way the pecan is inserted makes the cookie look like it has a tiny bear paw print! I’ve seen similar recipes by other names-

  • Brown Sugar Shortbread,
  • Brown Babies and even
  • Browned Butter Cookies.
  • Without the pecan, I have also found several recipes which were made for fussy babies!

I like the name Bear Cubs….They are an excellent After School treat, wonderful for Holiday Cookie Swaps, delicious at Baby Showers and alongside a cup of Coffee or Tea is just perfect.  Even a Grumpy Bear of a man will settle down if you give him a few Bear Cubs!IMG_3426

Bear Cubs aren’t overly sweet cookies. I find them easy to make, easy to freeze and even easier on the tastebuds. Don’t expect them to hang around long once they’re baked! The method for making Bear Cubs is unusual. Butter must be browned and cooled first.

 

 

 

 

 

Browned Butter – Melt 3/4 cup of salted butter on medium low in a small saucepan; for approximately 5 minutes heat until nutty brown. There will be foam on the top when it’s hot from the butter fat, but as it cools the foam will subside. Strain it for clarified brown butter- but for Bear Cubs, simply cool the browned butter along with the tasty brown bits before incorporating it into the mixture.  (Southerners generally use salted butter but you may use unsalted and add a pinch of salt to the dry ingredients.)

Camellia’s Cottage Bear Cubs

  • Ingredients: 1 and 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) of salted butter – Browned and Cooled,
  • 1 1/2 cup Brown Sugar- packed firmly,
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk,
  • 2 cups of Self Rising Flour, 3/4 teaspoons Baking Powder,  (if you use AP- add  1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder plus 1/4 teaspoons Baking Soda) ,
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract,
  • Approximately 30 pecan halves cut crosswise in halves,
  • A few tablespoons of Granulated Sugar. for dipping.

Sift Self Rising Flour and Baking Powder, set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cooled Brown Butter in a large bowl until fully incorporated and fluffy. Add whole egg /egg yolk and vanilla extract to Brown Sugar/Brown Butter mixture. Mix very well. Stir Flour Mixture into the Butter Mixture in 2-3 batches mixing well after each addition but do not overbeat. With rounded Tablespoon, scoop cookie dough and roll into balls. Then dip roll each ball in granulated sugar, placing them 3 inches apart on a parchment lined sheet pans. Press each ball with a small glass until the cookie is about 1/2 inch thick. Take a pecan piece and insert cut side up in the center of each, as shown. (*At this point Bear Cubs may be frozen on sheet pans for 45 minutes to an hour then stored in freezer safe bags.)  Bake each sheet pan on center rack for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Cool in the pans, then transfer to cool completely. Store in a tightly sealed container. Makes 4 dozen. IMG_3416

I have to admit, these Bear Cubs don’t hang around any longer than a bear raidin’ a trash can! Bear Cubs are wonderful all by themselves and excellent with Vanilla or Caramel Ice Cream. I think these Brown Butter cookies will become a favorite Autumn treat! Make up a batch of dough to keep in your freezer! *Do not thaw, additional baking time may be required.

The  South’s mountainous areas have always had Bears- remember Davy Crockett? He was from Tennessee! Bears are now seen occasionally in populated areas, I heard a Mother Bear and her Cubs were seen walking through a gated community just a couple of weeks ago!

 

 

 

 

 

If you find yourself in a den filled with cute little Cubs and growling tummies, a tired Momma Bear or a Grumpy Old Papa Bear- give ’em a Bear Cub!  I’ve heard if you eat one of these sweet Bear Cubs before bedtime- you’ll hibernate very well!

Love y’all, Camellia

*All photographs are obviously mine! *Bear Cubs should not be given to very young children- unless made without pecans, which could be a choking hazard or in the case of nut allergies. *Bear Cubs will remain crisp if covered tightly, but are easily crisped up when toasted a few minutes in a 350 degree oven…well, if they last that long!