Farm Journal’s best-ever cookies, 280pp.
by Patricia A Ward
Farm Journal, Philadelphia, 1980
Cooking on page 32
This book has seen a lot of action at our house. The dust cover is tattered, many pages are splattered, notes are jotted in margins and new recipes are scribbled on inside front and back covers.
Over the years, our kids and exchange students have helped me to make (or begged me to bake) a whole range of cookies (called biscuits in Australia), slices, bars and holiday treats from this useful book.
I like Farm Journal cookbooks, especially because the recipes work and rarely call for convenience foods. I own five or six of their books, and a while back, I shared the stuffed big burger recipe from their barbecue book.
Today we’re on page 32, with a recipe I’ve never made before. It’s in the chapter on ‘From Grandmother’s Kitchen’. Page 32 also has a recipe for peanut butter cookies.
Date meringue bars
3/4 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. chopped, pitted dates
1 c. chopped walnuts
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
Beat eggs in bowl until thick and lemon-coloured, using electric mixer at high speed. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Blend in vanilla.
Gradually stir dry ingredients into egg mixture, mixing well. Stir in dates and walnuts. Pour mixture into greas 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
Bake in 350°F oven 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool in pan on rack. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into 3×1-inch bars. Makes 39.
How it played out
About 10:30 last night, I remembered I had to make something for today’s morning tea at the gym. So I made a hurried scramble through a stack of cookbooks awaiting their turn in the page-32 limelight.
This looked just the thing. Quick and easy to make, not too sweet, healthier than many options AND I had all the ingredients on hand.
So I made this as written and was in bed long before midnight. 🙂 The recipe says that after baking, the mixture divides into a chewy date layer on the bottom and a meringue-ish crusty top. The photos show the transition, but I sampled one as they cooled and couldn’t quite detect the meringue aspect.
I cut the servings in the morning, and only got 30. Completely forgot to sprinkle them with confectioners’ (icing) sugar.
Grandmas sure knew what they were doing. The forgotten icing sugar didn’t matter, my exercise buddies loved ’em anyway. So did the lifeguards and various other hangers-on at the gym and pool.