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Dining In: Homemade cookies make lunches special

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It’s back-to-school time, and back to school means back to making school lunches. Nothing makes lunch more special than homemade cookies.

If you have a little extra time it’s nice to put together a family favorite, whether it’s chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter or sugar cookies. It’s nice to have something sweet along with a sandwich and piece of fruit.

Putting cookies in lunch boxes is a time-honored American tradition, just as cookies themselves have a history that goes back hundreds of years.

Cookies appear to have originated in 7th-century A.D. Persia, shortly after the use of sugar became relatively common, then spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain.

Cookies came to America through the Dutch in New Amsterdam in the late 1620s, although our modern practice of creaming butter and sugar to make cookies didn’t begin until the 18th century.

The Germans get credit for creating gingerbread, just as an American created the original Toll House chocolate chip cookies. We all get credit for enjoying them and adding them to lunch boxes to make school and work days sweeter.

This recipe from allrecipes.com gets its name from the variety of ingredients included; it has everything but the kitchen sink for a crunchy cookie that could easily double as an after-school snack or breakfast when you are in a hurry. And if you don’t have every add-in ingredient such as coconut, nuts, chocolate chips or corn flakes, that’s OK too. Just leave out whatever you choose and make the cookie your own.

Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Chocolate Chip Cookies

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1¼ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground mace

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon milk

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup cornflakes cereal, crumbled

3 cups rolled oats

½ cup flaked coconut

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheets. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and cloves; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in milk and vanilla. Gradually mix in the sifted ingredients until well blended. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the cornflakes, oats, coconut, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets; flatten slightly.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. I found that slightly under baking these yields wonderfully chewy cookies.


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