Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Raspberry-Topped Cookie Cups a health-attentive birthday treat

Clearly I’ve saved the best until last; the crowning dish of the recent birthday luncheon for Son-in-Law indeed was the dessert—Raspberry-Topped Cookie Cups. Nobody wanted a monster-sized, sicky-sweet cake to sit around for days-after to tempt and to add inches to the waistline. Birthday desserts, especially for the health-conscious, ought to be sweet but short—a nice blast of specialness but without the lingering guilt and leftovers.

That’s why I was thrilled to find this winsome dessert, which I first clipped from Southern Living magazine to save and bake for my granddaughter, because I thought she’d be intrigued by the mini-treat featuring a tiny scoop of ice cream (we used Blue Bell Sugar-Free Vanilla) in the top. Then, as I concentrated on it, I thought that placing a set of the dessert cups on a tray and removing one of the raspberries to add a candle would be a darling birthday idea. So Son-in-Law got to be the first recipient.

The base of the dessert was formed in 24 no-stick mini-muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Into the cups the cook presses about one tablespoon of refrigerated cookie dough and bakes until the dough is brown. Pressing down with a spoon handle makes the indentation to hold the goodies. Once cooled the cup is removed and the rim dipped in melted chocolate chips and those healthy Mighty-Mites, chopped walnuts. Each cup then gets 1/2 teaspoon sugar-free red raspberry jam, followed by a tablespoon of sugar-free ice cream, and a fresh raspberry on the tippy-top. Wonderful plan! A blast of sweetness (after all, it’s a birthday celebration) that occurs in miniature. Any leftovers could just be stored in the freezing compartment of the refrigerator.

Obviously I'm not the only person who thought this was a dandy dessert. The originator of the recipe, a cook named Sue Compton from Delanco, NJ, parlayed it to win the grand prize in the 2010 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, Southern Living reported.

Don’t do what I did—leave the ice-cream pint sitting out on the counter while the early part of the dinner was served. I thought this would make the ice cream more malleable at dessert time so that it more easily would spoon into the cookie cups. Bad idea! It was too melty. I stuffed it into the cups fast, but it was, shall we say, on the run. Son-in-Law was highly forgiving and was only too happy to down the muffin cup speedily after he blew out his birthday candle.

Nobody at the table could believe how may ways this birthday treat could be tweaked to be health-attentive.

Raspberry-Topped Cookie Cups

1 package (16-ounce) refrigerated sugar-cookie dough
4 teaspoons sugar (or sugar substitute-I use Splenda brand)
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup sugar-free red raspberry jam
1 1/2 cups sugar-free vanilla ice cream, softened
24 fresh raspberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 24 mini-muffin cups with cooking spray. Place 1 cookie-dough round (about 1 tablespoon of dough formed into a round) into each muffin cup. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Place 2 teaspoons of the sugar in small bowl. Dip into the sugar the end of the wooden spoon handle. Carefully press handle into center of each cookie to make 1-inch-wide indentation. Cool cookie cup completely in pan, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile in small bowl mix walnuts and remaining 2 teaspoons sugar; set aside. In small microwavable bowl microwave chocolate chips uncovered on high 30 seconds; stir, then microwave 30 more seconds until smooth. Run knife around edges of cookie cups to loosen; gently remove from pan. Dip rim of each cup into melted chocolate and then into walnut mixture. Place walnut side up on cookie sheet with sides. In another small microwavable bowl microwave jam uncovered on high about 15 seconds until melted. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon jam into each cup. Freeze cups about 5 minutes or until chocolate is set. Using measuring tablespoon spoon ice cream into cups. Top each cup with fresh raspberry; serve immediately. Makes 24 tartlets.

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