Sunday, May 26, 2013

PC Cookies

Personal Computer? Politically Correct? Printed Circuit? Peanut Cluster? Nah! I wanted to think of a way to recall main ingredients for this cooky recipe. Sooo, using a recognizable pair of letters would help—pecan coconut.

Sure, "p" could also mean peanut, peach, praline, and "c" could also mean carrot, caramel, crunch.

In Googling "pc", the most popular hits that come up pertain to personal computers. As I progressed in entering characters of my article title, I saw that Google started autofilling a suggestion for "pc cookies", the topic being cookies on personal computers.

As in many of my other cooky recipes, I used boxed cake mix for convenience. My hyperlinked list at the bottom of the article has only one scratch recipe. I'm a big believer in few ingredients and easy preparation. I came up with this recipe came from wanting to bake cookies without chocolate that was likely to melt in summer weather—no chips, chunks, or ganache.

These cookies surprised me for being crunchy rather than soft and chewy. I think my recollection for soft and chewy is from cake mix cookies I had baked, um, a long time ago.

In the distant past, the standard cake mix cookies called for adding 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of oil, and 2 tablespoons of water to the powder. The cookies came out of the oven initially soft until cooled. They were crunchy like store-bought cookies for maybe an hour or so, then became soft and chewy. I think instructions said to store in an airtight container after they cooled to prevent them from becoming soft and chewy.

The standard recipe now calls for 2 eggs and 1/3 cup of oil. A few years ago, I did try the older recipe with the newer cake mix. The cookies tasted fine, but they were quite crunchy and never softened.

It seems that big-name cake mix companies, within months of each other, changed their recipe and touted the addition of pudding. To my recollection that move came on the heels of a Pillsbury Bakeoff winner having put pudding into a cake mix cake. I haven't been able to find a link to the history of addition of pudding to cake mix powder. Maybe some other baker who reads this article can enlighten.

Anyway, onward to the recipe! Implements
  • cooky pan(s)
  • pastry blender
  • medium-large mixing bowl
  • small mixing bowl or large cup or jar (for eggs and oil)
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • cooky spatula to lift and transfer baked cookies
  • cooling rack for done cookies
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 C cooking oil (I replaced 1 T with sesame oil.)
  • 1 18ish oz. white cake mix (I used Duncan HInes French Vanilla.)
  • 2 C flaked coconut (I broke up the bigger, stuck clumps.)
  • 1/2 C chopped pecans (I used a 2 1/4 oz. pack of pieces, which I chopped into smaller pieces.)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour the coconut into a medium-large mixing bowl, breaking up the lumps.
  3. Pour the cake mix powder and nuts into the coconut, using the pastry blender to blend together.
  4. In a bowl or large cup, combine the oil and eggs. For a more aromatic flavor, exchange 1 T of the oil with 1 T sesame oil.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the larger bowl and use a pastry blender to stir the ingredients together.
  6. Use a round tablespoon to scoop the dough. Shape to rounded, level, or concave height.
  7. Drop the spoon's dough onto the cooky sheet. Slightly press the lumps with the bottom of the measuring cup for flatter cookies.
  8. Bake for about 9 to 10 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.
  9. Use the cooky spatula to lift and transfer the done cookies onto cooling rack.
Shaping the dough slightly concave yielded 52 cookies, calculated to about 82 calories each. YMMV.

Additional Past Cooky Recipes

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Word Trips

My word trips pertain to words that make me trip over spelling or meaning. I seldom have spelling problems with run-of-the-mill homophones. The more obscure terms tend to trip me up—as do words that have almost the same spelling, and words and names that have doubled consonants. A few other words that I pause over result from the schwa pronunciations. I've compiled a list of words and names, with hopefully helpful links for others who have run across similar issues.
Some proper names have stumped me for proper spelling. In compiling them, the next four have a nice pattern of two r's, then one r.
  • Borrero
  • Barrera
  • Carrera
  • Ferrari
With the schwa effect for the next set of proper nouns, most sound the same. And all four names exist. Just gotta look 'em up.
  • Connor, Conner
  • Johnson, Johnston
  • Lesley, Leslie
  • Lindsay, Lindsey
  • Mc-, Mac-
  • Peterson, Petersen
Commenter, commentor, and commentator cause me confusion because of
  • similarity for pronunciation (schwa effect for commenter and commentor)
  • similarity for function (commenter and commentator)
Three food items, besides making me think of eating, have dissimilar consonant duplications:
  • broccoli, with two c's, then single consonant
  • cannoli, with the first vowel as a sound hazard, two n's, then single consonant
    (It's a bit disturbing that my Dreamweaver spellcheck halted at "cannoli"—twice!)
  • mozzarella, with two z's, one r, two l's
Alas, mozzarella has caused me a lot of grief with three potential doubled-up consonants. I think I have it now. Related: A non-food word that no longer gives me problems is accommodate. Double the first two consonants, and think of the final syllable as a date.
A pair of words that still trip me up are the noun forms of acknowledge and judge. From the looks of things, an "e" preceding "-ment" might come into increasing adoption with time passage.
Copyright makes me pause because it sounds like copywrite. A thought trickle, rather than thought stream is as follows: copyright, copywriter (A copywriter writes copy, but does not copywrite.)

One conclusion I came up with in my exercise of lookups is that Google search is excellent for suggested spelling because of its autofill feature.

So, what words and names cause you to trip or pause?
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