Musical pairing – Fire and Rain by Dido
We cooked for plenty of family and friends over the Memorial Day weekend; we celebrated not only Memorial Day, but also a graduation of our nephew Taylor and birthday of niece Avery. We threw in a bit of Father’s day as well . . . and we housed overnight guests . . . yep, life is never dull around our house and we wouldn’t have it any other way! Now planning, shopping and cooking for a large group might be intimidating but I had a couple of tricks up my sleeve . . .
Actually friend and cookbook author Debi Shawcross has a ton of tricks up her sleeve – which she shares in her new book, ‘Friends at the Table.‘ If you love entertaining or participate in any type of Supper Club, ‘Friends at the Table’ will be your ‘go-to’ cookbook; the themed-menus are seasonal with complete shopping lists, (including quantities) given at the end of each menu . . . and Debi also lists those items that can be prepared ahead. Anyone who has planned a party or two will tell you those tips right there are worth the price of admission.
May was super busy for me as I had two back-to-back trips scheduled and in fact, by the time I arrived home from the last trip, I only had 5 days to prepare before everyone arrived – ‘Friends at the Table’ was a godsend! From starter to dessert, the recipes are uncomplicated yet absolutely delicious while photograph after photograph keep you turning the pages; you might even find yourself planning parties just so you can make every dish . . .
I chose a Mexican theme for our Memorial Day party: Cilantro Shrimp Skewers with Tomatillo Dipping Sauce, Crab and Poblano Chile con Queso, Chicken Enchilada Suizas, Yellow Rice, Black Beans with Peppers and Tomatoes and Cinnamon Sugar Cookie Crisps . . . uhm, do I have your attention now? Everyone raved. You know when you’ve hit a homerun? When people start asking for the recipes!
If you love to entertain, if you love having friends at your table, you really need to have this book on your shelf – I’m pretty sure you’ll love it as much as I do!
CINNAMON SUGAR COOKIE CRISPS
Makes 15 to 18 Cookies
- 1 (.25-ounce) package active dry yeast
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup milk, scalded and cooled
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- In a small bowl mix the yeast with warm water and set aside to soften. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two forks until only small crumbles remain (I used my food processor). Combine the milk, egg yolk and softened yeast in a small bowl and add to the flour mixture. Mix well and cover the bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 2 hours or more.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix together ¾ cup sugar with the cinnamon and set aside.
- Place dough on a lightly floured cutting board and knead for about 1 minute. Roll out into a 10×18 inch rectangle and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle three-fourths of the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the buttered dough. Beginning at one 18-inch side (the longer side), roll dough jelly-roll-style to close. Cut roll into 1-1/4-inch slices and place on an un-greased cookie sheet. Gently press slices to flatten out a bit. Brush tops of all slices with melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
SMITH BITES NOTE: I brushed the baked cookies with a bit more melted butter and sprinkled with a tad bit more cinnamon-sugar before serving.