Being a friend of Las Vegas’s Sheila Cooper means you’ve tasted her cookies. Sheila LOVES to bake and she brings cookies as dessert to many of the functions she and her husband attend. In fact, Sheila says a perfect day for her would be a whole day baking cookies.
And the thing is…Sheila’s cookies are among the best tasting cookies ever…so says a cookie expert this author knows very well.
Sheila began her cookie career about 12 years ago. She lived in California at the time (moving to Las Vegas six years ago) and was at a Christmas Eve church celebration. At the celebration, she was served snickerdoodle cookies that, to Sheila’s surprise, were rock hard. She said to her husband, David, “I think I can do better than this.” She found a snickerdoodle recipe and started baking. A week later, she took her version of snickerdoodles to a pot luck dinner and the compliments kept coming. Shiela’s been baking cookies — of all kinds — ever since.
“People now expect us, when we are invited out, to bring cookies,” says Shiela. “And I’ve met some great people because of the cookies. I used to bring cookies to the Piazza Room many Wednesday nights. When the word went out that I had brought cookies, complete strangers would come up, introduce themselves and ask for a cookie. Some of those folks are now good friends.”
Sheila’s cookie baking advice? Find a good recipe and, “Don’t overbake the cookies! If the recipe calls for 8 to 10 minutes of baking, take the cookies out at 8 minutes and wait because even if the cookies don’t ‘look’ done at that point, they will keep cooking after you take them out of the oven.”
For this holiday season, Sheila has given us two of her favorite cookie recipes: Note: Even if you don’t typically like lemon-flavored desserts (like someone I know well), you may come to love these lemon cookies. The Christmas crackle is chocolate and toffee and who doesn’t like those flavors!
1 box of lemon pound cake. (how many ounces?)
1 cup of rice crispy cereal
1 stick of melted butter
1 teaspoon of lemon extract
1 large egg
3 tablespoons of lemon curd
1 cup powdered sugar
Blend thoroughly by hand: lemon pound cake, rice crispy cereal, butter and egg. Mix in lemon curd last.. Shape dough balls and roll in powdered sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (no longer!)
2 sticks of softened butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 sleeve of saltine crackers plus threeor four extra crackers
1 12 oz bag of chocolate chips
1 8 oz bag of Heath’s milk chocolate English toffee bits
Line an 11 by 16 inch pan with tin foil buttered slightly. Fill pan with a single layer of crackers.
Melt butter and sugar until it comes to a boil — about 5 minutes stirring constantly. Pour mixture over crackers and spread out. Place pan in oven for six minutes. Take pan out of oven and immediately straighten out the crackers with a fork. Spread chocolate chips over the top. If they don’t melt immediately place back in the oven for 1 minute. Then spred the toffee bits evenly on the top of the crackle. Press down with a spoon. Once the pan has cooled and place in freezer for an hour. Let the cooled mixture sit for about 10 minutes and rip into pieces.