Baking these cookies from scratch will totally make you feel like a grown-up
I associate Pillsbury’s Poppin’ Fresh Homemade Cookies with a sweet time in my life —pun not intended. I acquired the cookbook at a school book fair in 6th grade —right before spring break—and proceeded to bookmark the recipes I wanted to make over the holiday. Which was every recipe (obviously). 6th grade, and the summer that followed was very sweet, because that was when I started to grow into myself and really find my voice. I began to make decisions about clothes, hair, music and pastimes that were not dictated by parents or friends. In case you are interested in the details of those decisions they are as follows: black and fish netted, half-shaved and red, NIN and Tori Amos, and cooking, dancing and acting. And drinking coffee became a thing because of course it did.
So as sweet and homey (and maybe a little corporate-y) as Poppin’ Fresh Homemade Cookies is, I still feel a sense of freedom and rebellion when I make things from it.
This book is geared towards moms and kids, with sections like “Cookie Jar Favorites” including Applesauce Cookies, Lunch Box Crunch Cookies and Chocolate Ginger Zebras. Then there is “A Baker’s Dozen of All-Time Favorites.” This part includes classics like chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and lemon bars. If you are more into assembling than actual baking, the “Cookies for Kids” section is filled with recipes using pre-packaged doughs and Dip-a-Cookie Treats which is basically melting chocolate and dipping stuff in it. My favorite chapter is the “Bars: A Panful of Pleasure” section. I have made and devoured the Cappucino Fudge Brownies for half my life now.
Rather than try and be a rebel (because if you are trying you aren’t one, duh) I am going to get super-Pillsbury on you and give you the recipe that won the famed Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1955. It has stood the test of time. I actually do associate these cookies with being a rebel because when I first made them it was supposed to be for my parents to take to some potluck function but promptly after making them my friend and I ate too many of them. Oops.
Now that I’m officially “adult”, I made these cookies and shared them at a friend’s birthday. Okay so I saved a couple for myself at home but what can I say? I’m an addict and a rebel.
Caramel Cream Sandwich Cookies adapted from Pillsbury’s Poppin’ Fresh Homemade Cookies
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened (I used unsalted)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. butter (again, unsalted)
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (I added about 3/4 tsp.—I love vanilla!)
- several teaspoons of milk (I used almond)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter until good and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and blend in. Add the flour and mix well. You might need to chill the dough a bit before proceeding.
When firm enough, shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on un-greased cookie sheets. Use a fork dipped in flour to flatten to about a 1 1/2 inch circle. Bake for around 10-14 minutes, until light golden brown Immediately remove from sheets and cool completely before making frosting.
For the frosting, heat the butter over medium heat, swirling and keeping a close eye on it until light golden brown. Seriously, watch carefully. Butter goes from brown to burnt and unusable very quickly. Take off heat and add sugar and vanilla, then just enough milk to make it spreadable. Frost half the cooled cookies with about a teaspoon of frosting each and top with the remaining half. If the frosting gets too stiff you can heat it a bit to loosen it up.
Next step? Eat as many as you can, of course.