Cook’s Corner

Schrafft’s recipes come with a side of lore

 

Sleuth’s Corner

Q. I thought your readers might have suggestions for me. I recently downsized to a small apartment in Key Biscayne. I know you can never have enough cookbooks, but the reality is I have no available space to store all the ones I have. Aside from the local library, where I can donate the books?

Mariana


Cookies

Schrafft’s Butterscotch Cookies

In the heyday of this recipe, vegetable shortening meant Crisco. Modern-day alternatives include Earth Balance Natural and Spectrum Organic shortenings, which are available at natural foods stores and do not contain hydrogenated or trans fats.

2 tablespoons, butter at room temperature

3/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature

11/4 cups dark brown sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder

1 tablespoon vanilla

13/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely chopped pecans

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease baking sheets.

Combine the butter and shortening in a bowl and beat for a few seconds. Add the sugar and beat until creamy. Add the egg, dry milk and vanilla and beat until light.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Stir with a fork to mix and lighten. Add to the butter mixture and blend well. Stir in the pecans and mix well.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto the baking sheet.

Dip the bottom of a 3-inch diameter drinking glass into flour and use it to press the dough into a circle of the same dimension. If the dough sticks a little as you lift off the glass, scrape it from the glass and pat any bits back into the circle of dough to make it even and neatly round. Dip the glass into flour after each use.

Bake the cookies for 7 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and gently lift the cookies onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container. Makes 30 large cookies.

Per cookie: 145 calories, 1 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (2 g saturated), 9 mg cholesterol, 76 mg sodium, 0 fiber.


Cookies

Schrafft’s of Boston Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

11/2 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats

11/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup milk

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice in a large bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the two sugars until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until light and well blended.

With the mixer on low speed add the oat mixture and the milk, beating until well combined and a stiff dough forms. Stir in the raisins and nuts. (If not using immediately, refrigerate dough up to 12 hours.)

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Press the tops gently to flatten very slightly. Bake until the edges are brown and the centers are still soft and puffy, about 11 to 14 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes 36 cookies.

Per cookie: 115 calories, 41 percent calories from fat, 5.3 g fat, (2.0 g sat fat, 1.2 g mono fat), 17.0 mg cholesterol, 2.0 g protein, 15.5 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g fiber, 59 mg sodium


Soup

Cat Cora’s Sweet Potato Clam Chowder with Bacon

2 dozen medium clams such as Manila or 3 dozen small clams such as Littlenecks

12-ounce bottle clam juice, as needed

1 cup diced raw applewood smoked bacon (4 to 5 slices)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 11/2 cups)

2 stalks celery, chopped

31/2 cups peeled and chopped sweet potato (2-inch chunks)1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 cups half-and-half

Scrub the clams well. Spread them in an even layer in a large 12-inch frying pan with a lid. Add 11/2 cups water, cover and bring to a boil. Set a heatproof bowl nearby. Cook the clams until the shells open, 2 to 5 minutes. As a clam opens, remove it from the pan with tongs and plop it into the bowl. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and discard any clams that remain closed.

Pour the pan liquid through a sieve or cheesecloth to strain any grit. You should have about 1 1/2 cups. If there is less, add enough bottled clam juice to equal this amount; set aside.

Transfer the clams, still in their shells, back to the pan and cover it with a lid to keep them from drying out.

Cook the bacon in a 3-quart soup pot until crisp and brown. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, reserving 1 tablespoon bacon fat in the pot. Discard the rest.

Add olive oil to the pot and heat over medium for a few seconds. Add onion and celery, cooking until soft and golden, about 5 minutes.

Add sweet potatoes, clam liquid, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and simmer just until sweet potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove clams from their shells. When sweet potatoes are done, add clams and half-and-half. Heat gently until chowder is piping hot. Serve topped with bacon. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 389 calories, 47 percent calories from fat, 20.0 g fat, (10.2 g sat fat, 5.8 g mono fat), 74 mg cholesterol, 19.6 g protein, 32.4 g carbohydrate, 3.4 g fiber, 980 mg sodium.


Dessert

Lemon Dream Pie

This recipe was inadvertently omitted from the print edition of last week’s column.

4-serving-size box lemon pudding mix (not instant)

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups water, divided

1 egg

1 baked graham cracker crust

1 envelope Dream Whip

1/2 cup cold milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons sugar

Combine dry pudding mix, sugar and 1/4 cup water in pan. Blend in the egg. Add remaining 13/4 cup water. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a full boil and is thick, about 5 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Measure out 1 cup and set aside to cool completely. Pour remaining mixture into prepared pie crust

Prepare the Dream Whip with the milk, vanilla and sugar. Fold about two-thirds of the cream into the cooled reserved pie filling, and spread on top of first layer. Chill thoroughly and garnish with remaining cream. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 156 calories (13 percent from fat), 2.3 g fat (1.2 g saturated, 0.4 g monounsaturated), 24.8 mg cholesterol, 1.4 g protein, 32.4 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 198 mg sodium.


Joan Newman reminisced about the cookies at the fabled Schrafft’s chain, familiar to generations of Northeasterners. She particularly remembered “walking to our neighborhood Schrafft’s at 79th and Lexington in New York and getting one of the butterscotch cookies and my grandfather always got the oatmeal.” She asked if anyone had a recipe.

Colin Freebury provided Marion Cunningham’s adaptation of the recipe here for Schrafft’s Butterscotch Cookies, from the cookbook Lost Recipes: Meals to Share with Friends and Family (Knopf, 2003).

The late Cunningham, of Fannie Farmer cookbook fame, wrote: “Many New Yorkers have such fond memories of Schrafft’s large, crisp cookies that I decided to track down some of the recipes, particularly the one for butterscotch cookies with finely ground pecans, which seem to have been an all- time favorite.”

Grace Michaels, Jon Cranston and Barb H. all sent similar versions of the oatmeal cookie here, from When Everybody Ate at Schrafft’s by Joan Kanel Slomanson (Barricade, 2006).

I was so intrigued I had to order a copy of the book, and it is a fun read with lots of Schrafft’s lore. The Saturday Evening Post reported after a shooting at the restaurant that “the setting makes murder seem almost respectable,” and noted that the shooter “was a perfect gentleman” who paid his check first. And of course there are the dozens of recipes to peruse!

TV dinner

Iron Chef and Food Network personality Cat Cora shares a favorite recipe, a clam chowder made with sweet potatoes. I was quite taken by this unusual twist with its bright colors and flavors. You can find more of her recipes at catcora.com.

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

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