Cook’s Corner

Readers come through with Payday and Lucky Stars recipes

 

Dessert

Payday Bar Cookies

1 (18.5-ounce) box yellow cake mix

1 egg

2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 (10.5-ounce) bag miniature marshmallows

Topping:

1 (10-ounce) bag peanut butter chips

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2/3 cup light corn syrup

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup cocktail (salted) peanuts

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix dry cake mix with egg and melted butter. Press on bottom of a greased, 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Layer the marshmallows on the hot crust and return to oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Push down on them a little while hot.

For topping, melt peanut butter chips with butter, corn syrup and vanilla. Drizzle over marshmallows, covering all. Sprinkle on peanuts while warm. Cool and cut into bars. Makes 36 bars.

Per bar: 217 calories (44 percent from fat), 10.6 g fat (5.2 g saturated, 3.2 g monounsaturated), 17.8 mg cholesterol, 3.2 g protein, 27.8 g carbohydrates, 0.8 g fiber, 183 mg sodium.


Soup

Belizean Seafood Soup

The seafood in this soup from coastal Belize can vary depending upon what is available in your market.

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup flour

1 cup onion, diced

4 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

3 cups fish stock

Pinch of thyme

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup cubed potato

1 cup cubed cassava

1 cup diced green bell pepper

1 cup diced carrots

1 large lobster tail, with shell

1 pound fish fillets

1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and butterflied

1 pound conch, tenderized and cubed

1 green plantain, peeled and grated

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 half-ripe plantain, peeled and cut in small chunks

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat vegetable oil in a heavy pot. Add flour and whisk constantly until flour is copper in color. Add onions and tomato paste and stir for two to three minutes until onions are a deep golden brown. Add coconut milk, fish stock, thyme and garlic. Mix well, bring to a gentle boil, lower heat and let sauce simmer for 10 minutes.

Add potato, cassava, bell pepper and carrots. Boil until vegetables are cooked. Add lobster, fish, shrimp and conch; simmer until cooked.

While soup is cooking, mix grated plantain with coconut oil and salt and pepper to taste. Form into little dumplings the size of a teaspoon. Add dumplings along with half-ripe plantain to the soup and bring to a rapid boil for 5 minutes or until plantains are cooked. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 636 calories (61 percent from fat), 44 g fat (26.8 g saturated, 5.7 g monounsaturated), 117 mg cholesterol, 35 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 3.7 g fiber, 596 mg sodium.


Cookies

Lucky Stars Cookies

1 1/3 cups sifted flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 egg

Filling:

1 1/4 cups ground walnuts or pecans

1/3 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/16 teaspoon maple flavoring

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Sift flour with baking powder. In another bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla, almond extract, salt and egg. Gradually add dry ingredients; mix well. Roll out on floured surface to 1/8-inch thick. Cut with star-shaped cutter.

For filling, thoroughly mix nuts with sugar, salt, butter, maple flavoring and 2 tablespoons water. Place a teaspoonful in center of each star. Bring 5 points upright: Start at base; pinch sides together so points stand up, allowing filling to show.

Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 7 to 10 minutes, until browned as desired. Makes 24.

Per cookie: 109 calories (53 percent from fat), 6.7 g fat (1.9 g saturated, 1.3 g monounsaturated), 14 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 0.6 g fiber, 55 mg sodium.


LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com

Responding to a request from Lydia, “loyal reader” Jeanne Luster of Medina, Ohio, shares a recipe for a sweet and salty bar cookie for cookie swaps. It mimics the taste of Payday candy bars, and is quick and easy to make. Because I will inevitably be asked, you only use the dry cake mix, not the ingredients called for on the box to make a cake.

Katherine McNeill asked for help replicating a cookie her grandmother made called Lucky Stars. They were “shaped like a star that came up over a filling that tasted like pecan pie,” she wrote.

“I’ve been making these delicious and fun morsels since I was in high school in the 1950s,” Donna Craig of Miami responded. “These look pretty and are absolutely delicious,” wrote Linda Cowie. “Thank you for the good old memory of this cookie,” added Betty of Medina, Ohio.

Cowie traces the origin of the recipe: “This is exactly how it appeared in a Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbook from the late 1950s or early ’60s.”

Paprika primer

Barbara wrote to ask about a recipe that called for sweet Hungarian paprika. “Where would I be likely to find that spice? I haven’t found it at my local grocery.”

There are three basic types of paprika: sweet, hot and smoked. If a recipe doesn’t specify, use sweet paprika, often labeled simply “paprika.” The generic type you get in the grocery store is usually from Spain and isn’t as intense in flavor as the paprika from Hungary, but you can certainly substitute it.

Use smoked or hot paprika when you want to add those qualities to a dish. You can find Hungarian in large supermarkets and online at many sites including deandeluca.com.

Cookbook Corner

If you’re planning an “end of the world” party on Friday pegged to the supposed Maya calendar prediction, why not go with a Maya theme? Flavors of Belize (McNab, $39.95) explores the ancient history, culture and cuisine of the Central American nation, with emphasis on Maya influences. A team from Flavors of Belize magazine collected the recipes; flavorsofbelize.com.

Tried and New

Beanitos is a flavorful take on chips with redeeming nutritional value. Made from beans and whole-grain rice, the chips ($3-$3.50 per 6-ounce package) have 6 grams each protein and fiber per serving. They are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index for diabetics and others who have to watch their blood sugar. The newest flavor, black bean chipotle barbecue, packs a punch and needs no dip, my tasters agreed.

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132. Personal replies are not possible.

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