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Twickers Bars

Here is another recipe from my huge file of bookmarked blog posts. This one is from A Southern Grace. Grace's sense of humor and southern sensibilities, not to mention her eye for tempting recipes, makes her posts a must read for me. Sometimes I think we must be from the same home town.

This recipe makes a simple cookie bar that looked so unexpectedly delicious I had to give it a try. I was pretty sure my family would be grateful.

These bars have some features in common with the Golden Treasure Cookies I made for St. Patrick's Day last year. If you found those intriguing but the dipping process put you off then these are the bars for you. They are made from packaged crackers that many people have in their pantry along with peanut butter and butterscotch chips. Adding only a few other ingredients, butter, chocolate chips and sugar, this makes another fabulous treat that is layered in a pan and, with just a little stovetop time, is ready to cool in the refrigerator then slice and devour.

My family consumed the whole pan in no time. Still I felt compelled to adapt the recipe to a 9x9 pan, to cut down on personal temptation. These really are delicious, taking that sweet/salty, chocolate/peanut butter taste phenomenon to a new cookie bar extreme. They really do taste like Twix candy bars, only better. Try them. You'll see.

Twickers Bars

48 saltine cracker squares
2/3 cup butter
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter (I used chunky)
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup butterscotch chips

Line a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with enough foil to extend over each end.

Line the bottom of the pan with a single layer of saltine crackers (approximately 16 squares).

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the next four ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and pour half the mixture over the saltines, spreading to coat evenly. Place another layer of saltines on top of the caramel and pour the remaining caramel on top of those, again spreading until even. Top with a third layer of Saltines.

In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter, chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. Melt over low heat stirring constantly. When melted and smooth, pour over top of the bars, spreading evenly. Refrigerate the bars for at least one hour, until completely set.

Lift the bars from the pan using the foil overhang. Cut into 1½ inch squares. Store in the refrigerator.


Eating Our Words - How Will Yours Taste?

A Different Kind of Recipe

Have you ever had to "eat your words"? That little cliché has never really given me much pause for thought. Maybe it should. It is, after all, about eating and about words. What could speak more plainly to a food blogger?

What if I did have to eat my words? What would they taste like? Would my words be sweet and nourishing like bits of dried fruit? Or would they be hard and bitter like dried beans?

I first considered these questions when I picked up a worksheet featuring what appeared to be a simple recipe. (How better to capture a food blogger’s attention?) The recipe begins like this...

Fasting From Faults of the Tongue

1 lb. dried beans
1 lb. raisins (or other dried fruit)
2 medium size bowls
a large measure of Honesty

The execution, however, is a little more difficult. It asks us to commit, over the course of a month or so, to being mindful of our words. Each time we speak we are asked to consider what has passed our lips. Are our words sweet and nourishing? Or are they hard and hurtful?

Dried Beans and Raisins

The dried beans are there to represent our indiscretions, the faults that slip past our tongue on a daily basis. Every time we speak in anger or refer to someone in negative terms, whenever a lie passes our lips, or an unkindness, every time we share a little gossip, criticize or complain, it asks us to drop a dry bean in one of the bowls.

The raisins represent the fruits of the Spirit, the kindness and encouragement we offer and share. In the course of a day, whenever we find that we have spoken in gentleness or offered words of kindness or support, whenever we express love, joy, patience, peace or find ourselves practicing self-control, we put a raisin in the second bowl.

Why are our faults like dried beans? They need some attention and application of process before they can edify us and add nourishment to our diet. As they are, dry and hard, they have little value. Like small stones they are more likely to callous and irritate, wounding us without adding nutrition, incapable of providing complete protein and, if consumed, largely pass through our system without benefit. Yet our words do have potential. If we attend to them, if they are soaked, softened, seasoned and combined with other nutrients, these hard nuggets can become both nutritious and palatable.

Raisins, on the other hand, are nuggets of fruit. Plump and sweet, raisins are fruit of the vine that are preserved and tucked away to sustain us in seasons of plenty or drought. They sweeten the staff of life and make the ordinary special. Raisins have long been treasured as a treat added to holiday sweets. They are valued for the bright flavor of light and warmth they bring to a cold off-season meal.

As you may have already realized, this recipe requires a lot of personal awareness and a very large measure of honesty. But then, if we aren’t honest, who are we fooling? Only ourselves.

Eating Our Words

When the month is done we will cook and eat the bowl of beans we have collected. Soaking them in water the beans soften as the hard outer husk cracks and often pulls away. When heat is applied they become even softer until they are actually palaltable and can provide nourishment. Then the beans are able to absorb a little salt and other seasoning making them into a tasty meal.

Then we can focus on the bowl of fruit. Using the raisins or other dried fruit we have collected we can bake a delicious loaf of sweet bread, cake or other sweet treat to share and enjoy with family or friends in celebration of the good gift of words and the power they have to build, encourage and transform.

This project came to my attention when it was introduced at our church as a practice for Lent. Whether or not you are drawn to observe Lent this is a practice you might want to consider during any season. It is said that habits can be formed or changed with regular practice over a period of roughly one month. Why not reflect on this practice over the course of any month to see if you can transform any stray faults of the tongue into fruitful words that will encourage and nourish those around you.

Oysters Buffett

Fresh Local Seafood

One of the best things about living in this part of the country is the ready availability of fresh regional seafood. It is easy to find a variety of salmon, Pacific halibut, shrimp, clams, oysters and Dungeness crab. Most can be found at the local grocery store. Still, I am not above claiming that we need to take a trip to the coast to pick up the freshest seafood even closer to its source. It provides a great excuse for a nice day trip or an overnight getaway.

Last weekend was just such an occasion. It was Valentine’s Day weekend and I planned a seafood dinner to accompany some locally produced Pacifique absinthe I recently acquired. The herbal and anise notes of the absinthe work well with the flavor of oysters and other seafood and so I planned a dinner around those flavors.

I seldom cook with oysters. The only ones I have ever used, even then, came in a jar. I have eaten some great oysters, though. One of those occasions was a fantastic weekend in Astoria, Oregon where I faced down my fear of bridges as well as my fear of raw oysters. We had a wonderful dinner followed by lunch the next day, at Clemente’s, where I sampled oysters in a variety of dishes both raw and cooked. I fully enjoyed every oyster I ate that weekend.

Rich Flavors, Updated

Though I am no longer squeamish about raw oysters I admit that, in general, I still prefer to eat them cooked. And, I must admit, I am still squeamish about serving uncooked oysters myself. I really don’t understand oysters well enough to feel confident about serving them raw. So, when I brought home a half bushel of oysters last weekend my husband definitely wanted to cook them.

That worked for me since I wasn't as interested in recreating an authentic version of the whole rich-butter-laden-bacon-enhanced -creamed-spinach-topped-Oysters-Rockefeller-thing as I was in borrowing the primary flavors and adapting them to the tastes of those who would gather around my table.

This recipe interprets the rich flavors of classic Oysters Rockefeller with an updated take on the quantity of fat and freshness of the ingredients. The spinach here is wilted, not creamed or cooked until mushy. It is added, along with a splash of absinthe, to shallots and garlic sauteed in butter. The steamed oysters, topped with the spinach mixture, crumbs and a dusting of Parmesan are then lightly browned and served warm.

Oysters Buffett

2 dozen fresh oysters in shell
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons butter
8 ounces baby spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon absinthe (or anise flavored liqueur)
pinch of salt
ground pepper to taste
dash of Tabasco
¼ cup dry bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan

Clean oysters by scrubbing the shells with a stiff brush.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add spinach and sauté until wilted. Stir in absinthe, salt, pepper and a dash of Tabasco and remove from heat. Set aside.

Bring several inches of water to a boil in a large covered pot fit with a steaming basket (if you have one). Once boiling, add the oysters to the basket (or simply add to the water if you don’t have a basket) and cover the pot. Steam the oysters for 5 – 10 minutes or until the shells open slightly.

Drain the oysters and, using an oven mitt or towel to hold each oyster carefully, remove the top (flat side) of the shell and discard, revealing the oyster. Run a table knife under the oyster to release if from the bottom (cupped side) of the shell but leave it resting loosely inside.

Place the bottom half of the shell with the oyster in it on a large baking sheet. Top each oyster with a scant Tablespoonful of the spinach mixture.

Stir together the bread crumbs and Parmesan. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the top of the spinach mixture.

Place the oysters in the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes or until the crumb mixture begins to brown. Place oysters on a serving dish on a bed of kosher salt, if desired.

Serve and enjoy!

Dutch Baby Pancake

What a week. Following a trip to the coast, a Valentine's Day cooking extravaganza and a quiet President's Day break, Shrove Tuesday has arrived without me giving a thought to the pancakes that are expected for dinner tonight. Luckily pancakes are....well..... pancakes! They are easy and made from ingredients most everyone keeps on hand.

I haven't got any buttermilk and I didn't start early enough to make my favorite Pancake Dinner recipe for Overnight Pancakes. Swedish Pancakes aren't that complicated but they do take some time at the stove to make enough to fill everyone up. As the day wore on I decided the best strategy would be to make the kind of pancake I remember trying many years ago, a one-pan wonder called a Dutch Baby.

After consulting several recipes I found that a Dutch Baby was just as I remembered, quite simple and open to variation. What every recipe shared in common, besides the list of basic ingredients, was the conviction that this baby is quite impressive straight out the oven, puffed and arching over the sides of the skillet in a most deliciously inviting way.

They didn't exaggerate! Make sure everyone is looking when you pull this pancake from the oven. It deflates very quickly and you don't want anyone to miss the drama of its fantastic presentation when fresh from the oven.

Though the pancake will soon shrink into the pan, don't despair. The deflated pancake that remains is a delicious treat. Top it simply with powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon or some maple syrup. With just a little more investment you could top it with Homemade Applesauce or even Hazelnut Pear Flambe. No matter the choice of topping it will be tasty and satisfying. And where else can you get such a simple and dramatic dinner from so few ingredients and such limited preparation?

You're gonna love this pancake!

Dutch Baby Pancake

¾ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cardamon or cinnamon (if desired)
3 Tablespoons sugar (use vanilla sugar if you have it)
3 eggs
¾ cup milk
1½ Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together the flour, salt, spice and sugar. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk the eggs until frothy. Add the milk and dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth.

Place the butter in a 10 or 12 inch oven proof skillet (preferably cast iron). Set the skillet in the oven for a few minutes until it is hot and the butter has melted.

Remove the skillet from the oven. Swirl it to cover the bottom of the skillet evenly with the hot butter. Immediately pour the batter into the pan and return it to the oven.

Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and turning golden.

Remove from oven. Quickly dust with powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon or other topping.

Slice and serve.


Blood Orange Olive Oil Brownies and Parfaits

Oil and Vinegar On Tap

Along Cedar street in downtown Camas you will find a new shop that has this small town talking. It's called Navidi's Olive Oils and Vinegars and it sells a huge selection of flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars. These are on tap and available to taste before you buy.

It's an interesting buying experience. Once you've tasted a selection of oils and vinegars, and decided on your favorites, you can try their selection of sea salts and teas from around the world. I found the Northwest Alder Smoked Salt particularly interesting.

Smelling and tasting samples of oil and vinegar it is easy to imagine dipping a piece of crusty bread in the Italian herbed Olive Oil. Dreaming of the flavorful salad dressing that could be made with Ripe Summer Peach or Fig Balsamic Vinegar lights up my winter doldrums with a ray of sunshine. I begin to feel hungry thinking of grilled fish or chicken drizzled with Whole Fruit Lemon Olive Oil. I have to admit, though, I felt a little bit challenged by some of the unique flavors I found there, particularly the Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and the Whole Fruit Blood Orange Olive Oil. I couldn't quite get my mind around how best to use those flavors.

New Ideas

Luckily the owner had some recipes to offer. One of those was for some fantastic sounding Fudge Brownies made with Whole Fruit Blood Orange Olive Oil, ground almonds and a mere 1/2 cup of flour. It inspired a few ideas of my own. I took home the recipe, a bottle of the flavored olive oil and a bottle of Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar.

The result is a lusciously rich, and arguably healthful, brownie, brimming with walnuts and delicately infused with orange. The use of ground almonds is an interesting element that adds depth and a touch of mystery to the orange flavor. It also seems to add moisture to the texture. The almonds and walnuts are said to be a good source of heart healthy protein, the chocolate is rich in flavonoids and extra virgin olive oil is said to contain phytochemicals which help to ward off some types of cancer. Overall it made an extraordinary brownie to share with someone you love.

I have to admit I added a touch of scarcely redeemable heavy whipped cream laced with the Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar as a topping for this Valentine's Day treat. In fact it was such a nice complement to the brownie that I also layered it, with the scraps left over from the brownies I cut into hearts, to make a delicious parfait. In every incarnation these brownies tasted divine.

Navidi's Blood Orange Fudge Brownies
from Navidi's Olive Oils and Vinegars

1½ cups walnuts
9 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup blood orange olive oil
4 eggs
¾ cup almonds, ground in food processor
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan and set aside.

Sift together the flour and baking soda. set aside.

Melt the chocolate slowly until smooth. Stir in the olive oil. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, almonds, sugar and orange zest. Add the chocolate mixture stirring until smooth.

Fold in the flour mixture and then the walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes. When done, remove from oven and set pan on a wire rack to cool. Let stand for five minutes then unmold onto the cooling rack.

When cool cut into squares or, using cookies cutters, into hearts or other shapes.

Garnish with Chocolate Balsamic Whipped Cream and a chocolate Filigree Heart, if desired.

Note: If you are serving heart shaped brownies there will be scraps left over from the edges. These can be put to good use by layering them in a pretty stemmed glass with light and crunchy Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies and Chocolate Balsamic Whipped Cream (or plain whipped cream, if you prefer). Garnish with a chocolate Filigree Heart and you have another pretty and delicious dessert variation.

Chocolate Balsamic Whipped Cream

½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon chocolate balsamic vinegar

Combine ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Beat at medium to high speed until peaks form.


Valentine Meringue Cookies

One of my favorite cookies in winter, or anytime really, are these divinely light, seriously sweet, and satisfyingly filled meringue cookies that my mother used to make. They are easily whipped up from items almost everyone has on hand. Two egg whites, some sugar and a splash of vanilla form the medium that embraces a handful of nuts and a cup full of chocolate chips while adding a dreamy light crunch.

This year as I began to think about Valentine's Day I wondered what recipe I should try. It seems that everyone is watching their weight and many, even my son, is likely to decline the richly chocolate treats I love to bake. But then what is Valentine's Day without at least a little chocolate?

In these cookies a little chocolate goes a long way. Here the synergy of a spare handful of ingredients marries the flavors of a few nuts and chocolate chips to produce a wonderfully delicious Valentine's Day treat. Piped onto parchment in the shape of small hearts they are also pretty and when dipped in chocolate, garnished with a chocolate flourish or packaged with a Chocolate Filigree Heart or two they make a lovely little homemade gift.

For heart shaped cookies I varied the recipe slightly from the original by adding almonds instead of walnuts and grinding them first in a food processor until they are in small bits so that the nuts will not plug up the opening of the piping bag. This recipe also uses mini chocolate chips for the same reason.

Valentine Meringue Cookies

2 egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup sugar
6 ounces semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
¼ cup almonds, chopped fine

½ cup chocolate chips, melted

Beat together egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually beating until peaks are stiff. Fold in the 6 ounces of mini chocolate chips and the almonds.

Scoop the meringue into a gallon sized Ziploc freezer bag. Seal it, then cut a 1/2 inch opening across a lower corner of the bag. Use it like a pastry bag to pipe meringue hearts onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.

To form the hearts, hold the pastry bag from the top with one hand. Position the open tip of the bag near the parchment paper, but not touching it. Gently squeeze the bag with the other hand forming a round dollop of the meringue on the parchment. Now relax the pressure on the bag as you draw it toward yourself forming the first half of the heart.

Lift the pastry bag away from the parchment paper and reposition the tip a small distance away from the first dollop of meringue. Form another dollop and draw the bag toward the bottom of the first dollop while relaxing the pressure on the bag. The meringue should form into a rough heart shape or a sort of V.

Repeat until heart shaped dollops of meringue cover the cookie sheet.

Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes or until set and beginning to brown slightly.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

When cool, dip the lower half of each cookie in melted chocolate allowing the excess to drip back into the pan before placing the dipped cookie on a parchment lined cookie sheet to set. When the cookie sheet is full place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes until the chocolate is firm.

Or, place the melted chocolate in a small Ziploc freezer bag and snip ¼ inch from a lower corner of the bag. Drizzle the chocolate over each cookie in a zigzag or other design. Place cookies in the refrigerator until the chocolate is firm.

If you have melted chocolate left over after drizzling the cookies you might want to pipe filigree hearts to dress up a Valentine dessert or to tuck into a small box of valentine meringues you are sharing with a friend.

Filigree Hearts
similar to those in the February 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living

½ chocolate chips, melted

Place the melted chocolate in a small Ziploc bag and snip ¼ inch from a lower corner of the bag.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beginning at one corner of the pan carefully pipe the outline of a small heart, one or two inches wide, in one continuous motion. As you keep moving gently swirl the piped chocolate in a random design filing in as much of the area inside the heart as desired. Make the swirls touch the outline of the heart in at least several places. Lift the point of the bag and then begin another heart close beside the first.

Continue piping until the pan is covered or you run out of chocolate. Place the pan in the refrigerator briefly to set the chocolate. Once firm, carefully peel the hearts away from the parchment and store them in an airtight container until ready to use.


Sweet Expressions of Love - Fortune Cookies

The Written Word

Love blooms from beautiful expressions. Tradition tells us that Valentine’s Day commemorates the occasion when St. Valentine, jailed under harsh rule in the Roman empire, cured his jailor’s daughter of blindness. He did this by sending her a note about God’s love which her eyes miraculously opened to read. The expression of love sent by Valentine bore wonderful healing power.

I believe it is the same today. Words of love, personally confessed in writing, possess a special charm. They have the power to heal wounds, to bond affection and to celebrate a relationship in indelible terms. A letter written in one’s own hand is personal, perhaps even intimate, revealing a glimpse into the heart of the one who writes.

As Valentine's Day approaches I begin to think of some of the most famous words of love, lines from Shakespeare, the Romantic Poets, the Song of Solomon and other wonderful sources of quotes that are so worthy of sharing with those we hold dear. Though not our own original work, sharing the perfect romantic quote can also be a special acknowledgement of love. We are not all writers but we can all appreciate a perfectly chosen word offered at the perfect time or in a creative way, especially by someone we love.

I also adore the romantic accessories that suggest the written word. Think of quill pens and parchment paper and the flickering flame of candles burning low. I think of rugged hands making flourishes in ink as their script runs across a page. I think of Joseph Fiennes and his ink stained fingers writing words of love to Lady Viola in Shakespeare in Love.

Fortunes of Love

Sometimes fortune offers these tokens in unexpected places. A few years ago I shared a wonderful dinner with my husband while we were in Oxford England. Hungry from the journey, when we arrived at our hotel we asked where we might order dinner. The hotel clerk recommended a restaurant just down the street, Shanghai 30's.

To the back and up the stairs of a 15th century building along St. Aldates we found ourselves in a well appointed 1930's style lounge, complete with Victrola and pipe stand. We were soon seated in an elegant room with dark wood floors and an intricate ceiling at a table dressed with a white tablecloth. We ordered dishes that were presented with tremendous attention to detail. We enjoyed shrimp rolls that were served on a breadcrumb beach resting under carrot stick palm trees and sesame crusted King Prawn Toast snared in a green onion net. The food was as beautiful as it was delicious.

After dinner fortune cookies were brought to the table to be chosen from an ornate chest. Mine read, "Your path is arduous but will be amply rewarded." The receipt was presented with a nib pen and inkwell for signing. What romance! It was an exquisite surprise, delightful and wholly unexpected when we arrived at our destination hungry and simply hoping for an adequate meal.

While fortune cookies aren't always a culinary delight they do add a touch of drama to a meal. With a creative presentation and carefully selected fortunes they can add romance as well. If you make your own you can add fortunes worded according to your own inclination. A carefully composed fortune nestled within a freshly baked and folded circle of sweet dough will make these cookies the perfect punctuation to conclude a romantic dinner, a thoughtful and creative Valentine token, or simply a sweet surprise.

Personal Expression

To make your own Fortune Cookies, the first step is to choose your fortunes. If you are inspired or creative, compose your own. If not, borrow. It is easy to find quotations on every topic from friendship to love or romance with a quick Internet search. Some of my favorites are:

"My beloved is mine, and I am his"
~Song of Solomon 2:16

"Grow old with me! The best is yet to be."
~ Robert Browning

"I've fallen in love many times... always with you."
~Author Unknown

"Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds."

"I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love."
-Henry Ward Beecher

"The richest love is that which submits to the arbitration of time."
-Lawrence Durrell

“If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?”


“Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots.”
~ Hoosier Farmer

“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people”
~ Vincent van Gogh

Then choose a pretty piece of paper, maybe parchment or other good quality stationery. If you have nice handwriting I encourage you to write out the fortunes by hand using a fountain pen if possible.

First trim your paper into strips that are ideally no more than 4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. (If you need longer strips to write out your message you can fold them in half. ) If you don't want to write them out yourself print them out on your computer using a calligraphy font and trim afterward.

Next gather the ingredients needed to make the cookies... as well as a fair dose of patience. Light a candle. Turn on a romantic playlist and enjoy crafting the cookies. They must be made a few at a time as they set up quickly and must be folded with speed while they are still hot. I made mine one by one as I tried to take photos along the way. Three would be the most I could imagine handling at once.

Fortune Cookies

1 egg white, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar

Prepare fortunes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a cookie sheet or other flat pan. (I sometimes use mini pizza pans, baking one cookie on each pan.)

Stir together the flour, salt and sugar. Set aside.

Beat the egg white with the vanilla until foamy.

Fold the flour mixture into the egg white.

Place level tablespoonfuls of the batter on a cool prepared pan, one tablespoon for each cookie, placed at least 4 - 5 inches apart. Swirl the batter by using gravity as you carefully tilt the pan or by using the back of a wooden spoon to spread it into circles approximately 3.5 - 4 inches in diameter. The more round and even the circles, the better. (In the beginning don't try to make more than 2 - 3 cookies at one time.)

Bake at 400 degrees approximately 5 minutes or until the edges turn golden.

Remove from oven. Remove the cookie from the pan with a wide spatula and turn it upside down on a wooden board.

Working quickly, place a fortune in the middle of the cookie and fold the cookie in half. (This step is best accomplished wearing cotton gloves or very snug fitting oven mitts as the cookie must be shaped while it is still hot. They set up quickly as they cool.)

Then turn the cookie over the edge of a bowl or measuring cup to form the crease in the center.

Pull the ends together and set the warm cookie in the cup of a muffin tin until it cools and becomes firm.

Once cool, these can be drizzled or dipped in chocolate, if desired, or served plain.