Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Has Arrived!

By Andrea Renee Cox

Well, it’s official. Summer has arrived. Maybe not by the calendar, but the temperatures reveal the truth. With temps nearing closer to triple digits by the day, north Texas is warming quite nicely. Which means air conditioning, ice in my water, and sunglasses at all times when outdoors. Sunblock, lighter meals, bug spray, and sand volleyball.

The thing I’m looking forward to most this summer is my family’s Fourth of July barbecue. It might be a small affair with only one other family in attendance, but we make fun memories every year and share lots of food and conversation, squeezing in a cool movie of some sort. And, of course, there’s fireworks. Not my favorite part of the night, never has been, but we can usually see two or three different sets of fireworks from our front yard. Since we live in town, that’s a nice little luxury that comes as a surprise.

Since fireworks isn’t my favorite part of the Fourth of July, would you like to know what is?

Trying new recipes.

Not just any recipes, either. Typically, I test out new dessert recipes around this time of year. This year is no exception.

One I tried just last week, in preparation for the Fourth, is Root Beer Float Cookies. Talk about melt-in-your-mouth delicious! My dad said these cookies bumped up into his top five cookies of all time. I’ll take that compliment. Everyone who’s tried them so far has absolutely loved them. Not only are they great for family barbecues, but they also make great tips for furniture movers, a great barter for a ride (especially if you’re broke and can’t afford gas money), treats for children’s birthday parties, and so many more events. These cookies have been such a great hit, I thought I’d share my recipe with you. Trust me, if you make these cookies once, you better be prepared to make them often… and in large batches!

Root Beer Float Cookies

Cookie Ingredients:
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon root beer concentrate
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

Filling Ingredients:
¼ cup butter, softened
1 ⅓ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon root beer concentrate

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and root beer concentrate. (I used my standing mixer, and it worked great, especially during step two.)

2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add this dry mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well. (The batter will get pretty thick. That’s why I recommend using a standing mixer. It seems to be able to handle the thickness better than a handheld mixer.)

3. Shape dough into ¾-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.

4. In a medium bowl, beat the filling ingredients until smooth. Spread on the bottoms of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies. (I spread a bit of filling on the bottom of one cookie, then immediately topped it with another cookie. This method worked well for me. You could also put filling on ten or so cookies, then top them, continuing this pattern until all the cookies are used. Feel free to try different methods until you find one that works best for you.)

This recipe yields about 2 ½ dozen cookies. When I made it, I doubled all the ingredients, which worked really well. Since it’s so popular, I might even consider tripling it next time.


Now it’s your turn: What summer plans does your family have? Are you planning anything special for the Fourth of July? What recipes do you especially enjoy making during the summer months?


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