Kitchen Mailbox: Brown-edge cookies are a bit better with butter

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Nancy Gilberti

of Robinson requested a recipe for Nabisco's Brown Edge Wafers, which, according to Mrs. Gilberti, are crispy-thin wafer cookies with a vanilla flavor and a brown edge. Unfortunately, Nabisco stopped selling the cookies in 1996.

Readers responded with recipes for Brown Edge Wafer Cookies, Crispies and Brown Edge Cookies. There was only one difference in the recipes -- about half were made with butter and the other half with shortening.

How much of a difference do these ingredients make in the flavor and texture of cookies? We decided to experiment. We baked a batch of cookies using shortening and another batch using butter.

"You can substitute equal amounts of butter and shortening, usually with no effect on the taste or texture of the final product, and some times with minimal effect: The cookie may be slightly less crisp, and may spread a tiny bit more," according to "The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion."

And that's exactly what happened. The butter cookies spread more than the cookies made with shortening and they were not as crisp. But given how quickly the cookies disappeared, they obviously passed the taste test -- yummy! Here's a plus for the butter cookies: They were even tastier the next day.

Katie Uzzo of Moon sent a recipe for Crispies, which she obtained from her late mother-in-law, Jule Marie Dereume of Punxsutawney.

"My mother-in-law used to serve these wonderful little cookies with a bowl of ice cream or fresh fruit. They were a favorite of her bridge club. I just got around to experimenting with the recipe. It calls for shortening and I couldn't remember what kind. I made the dough in two parts. I used butter-flavored Crisco in one half (terrible) and margarine in the other. They were great! Butter would probably be better."

The recipe for Brown Edge cookies, the cookies made with shortening, was sent by Betty Gerginske of Shaler.

Store both cookies in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

CRISPIES

PG TESTED

  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour.

Drop a little less than a teaspoon of dough on ungreased cookie sheet. The cookies will flatten and spread. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes. Watch carefully until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven. Allow the cookies to set briefly on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

Yields approximately 4 to 5 dozen cookies.

BROWN EDGE COOKIES

PG TESTED

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • Sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place shortening, salt and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add sugar, then eggs. Beat thoroughly. Add flour and mix well. Drop a little less than a teaspoon of dough on ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Let stand a few minutes.

Flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until delicately browned.

Yields 4 1/2 to 5 dozen cookies.

Requests

Kimberly Pierson of Wexford: "I'm looking for a recipe for Apple Coffee Cake Bars similar to what was sold at the Starbucks in the William Penn Hotel around six years ago. They were cut it in a bar shape, but it was thick enough that you could use a fork, rather than pick it up like a bar. It had a crumb topping and the cake part was very rich and unique. It may have had almonds in it."

Lucretia Gibbons, Black Canyon City, Ariz.: "I have tried many butterscotch pie filling recipes but they never taste like the butterscotch candies that I buy. Instead they always taste like a mild to strong caramel pie. How can I get a true butterscotch flavor for my pie filling?"

Shirley Pengidore of Brookline: "In the '40s and '50s my German grandmother used to make a cookie called Stonecrock with walnuts and spices. They had a distinctive flavor. She kept them in a closed tin and they softened up. They were similar to chocolate chip cookies. I would appreciate it if you could find this recipe."


If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com . Include a name, neighborhood/city/borough/township and state and a daytime phone number.


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