This past Tuesday night, October 6, 2015, was National Night Out Against Crime in Central Texas. A handful of our sweet, long-time neighbors always organize some form of a block party for the event. For the last several years, our small celebration has been hosted by a generous neighbor who happens to have a huge yard on a corner lot that easily accommodates a crowd.
It's typically a potluck-style party, and this year was no different. Some people brought a variety of meats, including smoky, barbecue chicken, ribs and brisket. Other folks contributed a few types of grilled sausages. And for side dishes, there were some spicy, homemade, borracho-style pinto beans, Mexican rice, green beans and bread.
Yes, it does sounds a lot like a summer barbecue and not a typical church-y potluck, right? Well, this is Texas, after all, and barbecue with a Tex-Mex flair is just what we're taught to feed the masses! The grilling addiction and indoctrination starts in childhood here. Seriously, serving something meaty, smoky, and straight from the pit, is the best way to go when planning a big party, everyone knows that!
Naturally, there was also the dessert table and that's where I come into the scope of this little buffet. As required by law at potlucks, there were store-bought pies, homemade sheet cakes, and tasty, fruit cobblers aplenty. And then, at the very edge of the table (yes, because I was late), there were four dozen fresh-baked cookies that were donated by me. I baked up two of my all-time, favorite cookie recipes to share with my friends: chewy molasses cookies and easy, double-chocolate chunk cookies.
And, when I say "fresh-baked", I mean it. Evan had already walked down the street with the kids in the wagon and I was left waiting for the double-chocolate chunk cookies to cool down! Yes, as usual, there was a brilliant display of enthusiastic baking and organization here at my house.
But, in the end, it all worked out and we had fun catching up with our neighbors. The kids enjoyed an exciting visit from our local police department and, when it was all said and done, I didn't come home with leftovers, which is about as exciting as it gets for me these days. And, I wouldn't change a thing.
Chewy Molasses Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature (I used salted butter)
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses (I used Grandma's brand)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 4 tbsp coarse sugar sprinkles (for the tops)
1. Pre-heat your oven to 325°. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and the spices together and set aside.
2. In another small bowl, mix the butter, shortening, sugar, molasses and egg together. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients with a mixer or a wooden spoon. Stir until ingredients are just combined.
3. Roll heaping teaspoons of dough into balls. Dip the one half of the dough balls into the reserved coarse sugar.
|I use this sparkling sugar often and top bunches of cookies with it. You can get it most anywhere, I think.|
4. Evenly space the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for at least 13 minutes or until cookies appear to be dry and done.
5. Cool on a rack. Serve with coffee or milk and enjoy!