Leadership WITH Recipes!

One of the highlights of this wonderful legislative career has been the opportunity to share my wife’s wonderful pastries and baked goods with the community, especially those who visit the Councils on Aging in Burlington, Bedford and Wilmington.

Some of you have asked for the recipes.  Here are some of my favorites. If you have some of your own favorites you want to share with our campaign friends, please send them to me and I’ll post them.  Maybe we can come up with a campaign cookbook!

Some of the recipes that follow are original, created by my wife Breena Daniell and her former catering partner, Sharon Kessel.  Some were collected from existing cookbooks.  Our thanks to Ina Gartner for her recipes for Jam Thumbprint Cookies (Family Style) and Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies (Back to Basics), and to the King Arthur Flour Cookbook for Soft Molasses Cookies, Peanut Blossoms and Classic Apricot Squares.

And a big thank you to Dottie of Burlington for asking that these recipes be posted to our web site!  Good idea, and keep up the creativity.

Ken with Dottie of the Burlington COA,
who inspired this recipe page.

Ken during one of his frequent
visits to the Burlington COA.

Makes 32 cookies

¾ pound (3 sticks)  unsalted butter,  at room  temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2  cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten  with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry and/or apricot jam

1. Preheat  the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In an electric  mixer fitted with  the  paddle  attachment, cream  together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla.

3. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With  the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture  to the creamed butter and sugar.

4. Mix until the dough starts to come together.

5. Dump on a floured  board  and  roll together into  a flat disc.

6. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.Roll the  dough  into 1 ¼-inch balls.  (If you have a scale, they should  each weigh 1ounce.)

7. Dip each ball into  the egg wash and then  roll it in coconut.

8. Place the balls on an ungreased  cookie  sheet  and  press a light  indentation into  the  top  of each with  your  finger.

9. Drop ¼ teaspoon of  jam into  each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes,  until  the coconut  is a golden  brown. Cool and serve.

Recipe By:  Breena Daniell Gordon and Sharon Kessel
1 TB Lemon Rind, grated
½  cup lemon juice, fresh
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 ½ cups flour, sifted
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup water

1.    In a large mixing bowl, add juice, rind, butter, sugar, eggs and 1 ½ teaspoons of poppy seeds.  Mix together.

2.    Alternatively add water and sifted dry ingredients to sugar mixture.  Fill tins. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and sugar if too tart.

3.    Bake at 350-degrees for 15-18 minutes (NOTE: IT WILL NOT BROWN).

Recipe By: Breena Daniell Gordon and Sharon Kessel

½ cup margarine or butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup sour cream
1 cup overripe bananas (2-3 bananas), mashed
Cinnamon and sugar mixed for topping

1.    Cream butter and sugar.
2.    Add vanilla and eggs.
3.    Add bananas and sour cream, alternating with remaining dry ingredients.
4.    Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.
5.    Sprinkle top with a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
6.    Bake at 350-degrees for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

From King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
makes 44 cookies

1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter”
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar, plus more for coating the dough
½  cup (6 ounces) molasses
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼  teaspoons cinnamon
1 ¼  teaspoons ground cloves
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs
3 ½ cups (14 ¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the molasses while mixing at slow speed, then the baking soda, salt, and spices.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Stir in the flour. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.   Shape or scoop the dough into 1 ½ inch balls; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here. Roll them in granulated sugar and put them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. The centers will look soft and puffy, which is okay. As long as the bottoms are set enough to lift partway off the cookie sheet without bending or breaking, they’re ready to come out of the oven. Cool the cookies on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

makes 30 to 35 cookies
From Back to Basics Cookbook

1½ cups pecans
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 ½ cups raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes, until crisp.
Set aside to cool. Chop very coarsely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together into a medium bowl.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats, raisins, and pecans and mix just until combined.Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop 2-inch mounds of dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper.
Flatten slightly with a damp hand. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.

Makes 4 dozen (48) cookies
King Arthur Cookie Companion

1/2     cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (7 1/2 ounces) creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup (2 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar, plus more for coating the dough
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk (regular or low fat, not nonfat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
48 chocolate kisses (7 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter together until well blended. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, baking soda, salt, and vanilla and beat well. Gradually mix in the flour.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and roll them in granulated sugar. Place the balls on  the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until they’re a very light golden brown. Remove them from the oven and immediately place one chocolate kiss atop each cookie, gently pressing it in. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

Adapted by Breena from Recipe 
Posted by Catherine Newman

4-6 unsalted matzohs (we used 5)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (we used salted)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts toasted in a 350 oven until fragrant and golden (5-10 minutes)

 Heat the oven to 375 and line a large cookie sheet completely with foil, then cover the bottom of the sheet with baking parchment (on top of the foil). Don’t skip this step, since the caramel gets wildly sticky during baking.

Line the bottom of the cookie sheet evenly and completely with the matzohs, cutting or breaking extra pieces, as required, to fit.

 In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter and the brown sugar, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (about 2 to 4 minutes). Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly; it will get very thick and fluffy.

 Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and pour it over the matzoh, using a heat-proof spatula to spread the caramel and completely cover the matzohs (or using a butter knife, which won’t work very efficiently, but you forgot to get out the spatula and were panicking a little about the hot caramel).

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350. Bake for 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the mixture is not burning (if it seems to be browning too quickly, remove the pan from the oven, lower the heat to 325, and replace the pan).

Author’s Note: I heard about burning problems, and ended up reducing the oven heat after about 4 minutes. Also, I wasn’t sure when it was done, but at a certain point it seemed to be quite brown and done bubbling and I took it out of the oven.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the chocolate chips (it won’t seem like enough, but it will be). Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the matzoh and top immediately with the almonds. While still warm, break into squares or odd shapes

Chill, still in the pan, in the freezer until set.

From King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
makes 24 squares

2 cups (12 ounces) chopped dried apricots
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
½  cup sugar
1 ½  cups water
Crust and topping:
2 ¼  cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ¼  cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup chopped pecans or shredded sweetened coconut (optional)
Coarse sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch, 11×11 inch, or similar sized baking pan.

To make filling: In a medium-size saucepan, stir together the apricots, brandy, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Cook the mixture for 8 to 10 minutes, until fruit is soft and has absorbed most of the water. Cool slightly, then puree in a food processor, blender, or with an immersion blender.

To make crust and topping: In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Using a pastry blender, your fingers or mixer, cut the butter until the mixture is crumbly but will hold together when squeezed.

Transfer about 1 ¼  cups of the mixture to another bowl, stir in the nuts, and set aside.

Press the remainder of the crust mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan.

Bake the crust for 14 to 16 minutes.

Remove from the oven.While still warm, spread the crust with filling. Spread the reserved topping mixture over the filling. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired. Return pan to oven and bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Cut in squares.  These freeze very well.

From Bon Appetit Desserts 
Servings: 20-25
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours

For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 tablespoon ice water
1 large egg yolk

For the Caramel Layer:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup (such as Lyle’s Golden Syrup) or dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Generous pinch salt

For the Chocolate Layer:
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces, best quality
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions For the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, pushing the foil neatly into the corners and up the sides of the pan, using two pieces if necessary to ensure that the foil overlaps all edges (the overhang will help removal from the pan).

Spray the foiled pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease with butter.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt; process until well combined and no lumps of brown sugar remain.

Add the butter and pulse until a coarse meal forms.
Add the ice water and egg yolk and blend until moist clumps form.

Dump the dough into the prepared pan and press with your fingers into an even layer (dust your fingers with four if the dough is too sticky).

Pierce the dough all over with a fork and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For Caramel Layer:
Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, golden syrup, vanilla and salt together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil.

Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and boil gently, whisking constantly, until the caramel is thick and the temperature registers 225 degrees F, about 6 minutes.
Pour the caramel over the warm crust; cool for about 15 minutes, or until the caramel is set.

For the Chocolate Layer:
Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is about 75 percent melted.

Stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the remaining chocolate, until smooth (if necessary, place the chocolate back in the microwave for a few more seconds; just be sure not to overheat or the mixture with curdle).

Spread the chocolate over the caramel layer. Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is set, at least 1 hour.

Using the foil overhang, lift the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into small squares and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Note:  The shortbread layers will crumble a bit when you cut it; that’s just the nature of it.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies 
Baking temperature 325○
Baking time: 18-22 minutes
From The King Arthur Flour Cookie Cookbook
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup (5 ¼ ounces) sugar, superfine preferred
3 cups (9 ounces) shredded sweetened coconut

Preheat the oven to 325○.  Lightly grease (or line with parchment) one large or two smaller baking sheets.

Put the egg whites in a large, clean, dry, non-plastic mixing bowl. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat the whites until they form soft peaks.  Add the vanilla, then gradually sprinkle in the sugar while continuing to beat the egg white until they form stiff peaks. Fold in the coconut.

Drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 1 ½ inch mounds; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.
Bake them for 18 to 22 minutes until the coconut is a toasty golden brown and the crust is set; they’ll still be moist inside.
Remove them from the oven and let cool on the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 16 bars
Baking temperature 350○  
Baking time: 25-30 minutes
Adapted From The King Arthur Flour Cookie Cookbook

1/3 cup (2 ½ ounces) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1 cup (9 ½ ounces) pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or ½ teaspoon cinnamon plus ¼ teaspoon each ground ginger and nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup minced pecans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ cups (5 ¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 9-inch or 7 x 11-inch pan.

To make the bars: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt and baking powder. Add the flour and pecans, stirring just until smooth.  Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

Bake the bars for 30 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack.