Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mrs. LBJ's Moonrocks

I can remember a time before First Lady candidates had to produce a cookie recipe for an election-season bake-off. And yet it would seem from this recipe that there were still First Lady cookie recipes back in the day.

I guess this is a good cookie to represent the late 60's: it has some back-to-earth, crunchy-granola elements with all the coconut, dates, raisins, and nuts, and yet it's got that down-home spice cookie feeling. And it's the kind of cookie that would keep in a care package, like the "hermits" my parents used to send me. Very Lady Bird, I'm guessing. I wonder if Maida edited the recipe to substitute butter for "oleo".

This is certainly a love-it-or-hate-it kind of cookie: it's got cinnamon and raisins, which both seem to inspire strong emotions. Oh, and coconut, too. I actually made a few with no "goodies" for Claire, and she loved them. But I happen to love all those divisive ingredients, and so does Julia, so we have been powering through them. Good cookies are good cookies, politics or no.

Here's the recipe.

Mrs. LBJ's Moonrocks

1 cup (8 oz.) butter, room temperature
1 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
1 t. cloves (these are strong--I cut this to 1/2 t.)
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. allspice (I used 1/2 t.)
1 t. nutmeg
1-1/2 c. (10.5 oz.) sugar (I used about 9 oz.)
3 large eggs
1/2 c. (5.5 oz.) dark corn syrup (I used a German cane syrup called R├╝bensaft)
4 c. (16 oz.) sifted flour (yep, I used about 5 oz. whole wheat)
1 c. (3.5 oz.) shredded coconut
1 c. (5 oz.) raisins
1 c. (8 oz with pits) dates, pitted and quartered (use scissors)
2 c. (7 oz.) walnuts, in large pieces (I used about 5 oz. and that was plenty)

Heat the oven to 350; have ready some cookie sheets and parchment or foil. In the large bowl of a mixer, beat the butter with the baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time until each one is incorporated. Beat in the corn syrup, and then on low speed gradually add the flour. Take the bowl out of the mixer and stir in the coconut, raisins, chopped dates, and walnuts. This is a lot of stiff and chunky dough. Use two spoons to scoop out large dough balls (one spoon to scoop; the other to scrape the dough off the first spoon) onto parchment or foil sheets--Maida says you should get 48 cookies (four sheets of 12), but I barely got 36 (four sheets of 9). You decide how big you want the cookies to be. Bake for 18-20 minutes (the cooking time will vary depending on how big you made your cookies) until the cookies are golden all over. Transfer to racks to cool. Enjoy with a glass of milk or a cup of tea.

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