Try delicious Lemon Bars made from big Ponderosa lemons

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At this time, right after Thanksgiving and a little while before Christmas, let’s have some fun with cookie recipes! And other sweet goodies.

My daughter Amanda’s friend, Michele Boudalis, shares some of her traditional Greek recipes with us. This one, for Greek Honey Cookies (Melomakarona), she pronounces as “Mellow mah car uhn ah,” and they are traditionally made around Christmas time.

From Cooking with Foliage La Sertoma of Apopka, we have Guava Filled Cookies.

We have Sunflower Seed Cookies from The New York Times NEW Natural Foods Cookbook, by Jean Hewitt.

Miz Belle Gilliam, an Apopka treasure, loaned us her favorite cookbook, titled The Progressive Farmer’s SOUTHERN Cookbook. We choose a molasses-ginger cookie called Gunjers (or Gunyers) to share with you. Miz Belle says “good” in her notes. So taken was I with this cookbook that I bought one for myself and another for my daughter. I found used copies online.

I love Magic Cookie Bars. The recipe is printed on Aldi’s Baker’s Corner Sweetened Condensed Milk can. This is one of those recipes kids (and adults) love that they can do in the kitchen together. Kids are great at making crumbs from graham crackers. And they can measure ingredients. They may need a little help, but it can be fun to do together.

Joyce Lampp’s Lemon Bars always capture my taste buds. Joyce makes them and brings them to share with us. We LOVE her lemon bars. And she makes them from big Ponderosa lemons she grows in her yard!

MICHELE BOUDALIS’
GREEK HONEY (MELOMAKARONA) COOKIES

Recipe from Reader of
The Apopka Chief newspaper

Cookies:

7 cups flour

2 heaping tablespoons baking powder

2 cups vegetable oil

1 cup unsalted/sweet butter (melted)

1 cup orange juice

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 ounce brandy

Syrup (see below)

Chopped walnuts (at least 2 pounds, for sprinkling at end)

Sift together flour and baking powder. In a large bowl combine the oil and melted butter. Add orange juice, sugar, 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts and brandy. Gradually and gently mix flour into oil and butter mixture by hand and knead until a dough is formed that doesn’t stick to your hands. Add more flour if necessary. Shape into small egg-shaped ovals, roughly walnut sized (about a tablespoon). Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. With cookies still in the oven, lower oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for another 25 minutes or until well browned. Remove cookies from oven.

Syrup:

12 ounces honey

2 cups sugar

1-1/2 cups water

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine honey, sugar, water, and lemon. Bring to boil and boil for 15 minutes. It will slightly thicken. Watch it and skim-off any scum that forms. Don’t let it boil over.

Keep syrup simmering while adding 7-8 cookies at a time to the syrup. Allow them to remain in the syrup for 2-3 minutes. Remove cookies gently and place on wire racks to cool. Be gentle. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts immediately once the cookies are out of the syrup. Once on the wire racks, don’t move the cookies till they’re fully cooled or they’ll fall apart.

Store in airtight tins when cooled, not the fridge. You can store any leftover syrup as well.

These may be baked well in advance and stored (dry, not syruped) and then dipped into syrup as needed.

GUAVA FILLED COOKIES

Recipe from Cooking with
Foliage La Sertoma of Apopka

1/3 cup shortening

1-1/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 egg, set aside for later

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3-1/2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 cups guava paste

1/2 cup boiling water

Cream shortening and add sugar slowly, beating well. Add one beaten egg, milk and vanilla. Add flour, salt and baking powder that have been sifted together. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll out thin on a lightly floured board and cut into rounds with a cookie cutter.

Add 1/2 cup boiling water to guava paste and stir until smooth. Place 1 teaspoon of guava filling on half of the cookies. Cover each with another cookie. Press edges together. Beat remaining egg and use to brush over tops of cookies. Bake on a greased baking sheet in a 375-degree oven for approximately 15 minutes. Makes 50 2-1/2-inch cookies.

SUNFLOWER SEED COOKIES

THE NEW YORK TIMES
NEW NATURAL FOODS COOKBOOK

Copyright 1982 by Jean Hewitt

1 cup butter

1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1-1/3 cups unbleached white flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup sunflower seed kernels

1/2 cup wheat germ

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 2. Cream the butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla. 3. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and stir into creamed mixture. 4. Fold in the oats, sunflower seed kernels, and wheat germ. 5. Place teasoonsful of batter 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Yield: About five dozen cookies.

GUNJERS (or GUNYERS)

Recipe from The Progressive
Farmer’s SOUTHERN Cookbook

This is a molasses-ginger cookie that was very popular with early settlers. Dr. Bernice Kelly Harris, well known North Carolina novelist, says this recipe was used by her grandmother.

1 cup sugar

1 cup molasses

2/3 cup butter, softened

1 tablespoon baking soda

6 cups flour

2 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves, if desired

Add sugar and molasses to softened butter. Add soda dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water. Sift together flour and spices and add to this mixture (slightly under 6 cups of flour). Put in refrigerator overnight. Roll thin on lightly floured board and cut. Bake at 300 to 325 degrees Fahrenheit about 6 to 8 minutes, or until light brown. Yield: 12 dozen.

MAGIC COOKIE BARS

Recipe from BAKER’S CORNER SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1-2/3 cup Baker’s Corner Sweetened Condensed Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in 8-inch square pan, heat in oven until melted. Combine brown sugar and graham cracker crumbs in a bowl and sprinkle evenly over melted butter. In layers, add chocolate chips, coconut and pecans. Put sweetened condensed milk over top. Bake 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

JOYCE LAMPP’S LEMON BARS

Recipe from Reader of The Apopka Chief and The Planter newspapers

Crust:

2 cups flour

2 sticks butter

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Filling:

1/2 cup lemon juice

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and mix with flour and confectioner’s sugar. Pat mixture into ungreased 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mix lemon juice, eggs, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Beat with mixer until foamy. Pour mixture over hot crust. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with confectioner’s sugar.