When my parents visited us the Christmas before last, my mother made her grandmother’s traditional animal cookies: a buttery dough that you roll out and cut with cookie cutters (they don’t have to be animal shapes, of course) and bake and frost. The recipe makes a huge batch, so she divided it and froze two portions, and we made cookies from the rest.
My son Nicholas and I defrosted one blob of cookie dough last spring and baked cookies for church coffee hour. But the other blob was still sitting in our freezer, 15 months later. I was beginning to wonder if it was still good and how we might get around to baking some cookies, because I’m seven months pregnant and would like to be filling that freezer space with leftovers to eat postpartum, but I’m so tired so much of the time that rolling out cookies does not seem to be within my capabilities.
One evening last week, nine-year-old Nicholas ate a healthy dinner and then asked for a bowl of berries (we have a big bag of frozen organic mixed berries from Costco, which we’ve been defrosting in the microwave one serving at a time) with yogurt. I had to tell him I had finished off the yogurt at breakfast. He was upset. Berries with milk would not be as good. We did not have ice cream. After a while he started asking for “a bready topping”. No, NOT oatmeal! Finally I thought of the cookie dough.
We removed the blob of dough from its plastic bag and put it on a plate in the microwave on “defrost” setting. After 5 minutes the dough was workable. We defrosted about 2 cups of berries, warming them just to the point where they weren’t stuck together or too icy to handle. Nicholas formed the dough into 7 pancake-like circles and wrapped each one around a handful of berries. We put the blobs in a baking pan, poked the tops with a fork, and baked at 350F until they were crusty on the outside, about 15 minutes. They got larger and stuck together, but they were easy to separate with a spatula.
The result was a sort of dumpling that could be hand-held while eating. They tasted great! The cookie dough was sweet enough that the berries didn’t need additional sugar to taste like dessert. The dough wasn’t stale or freezer-flavored at all. (I’m impressed, given that our refrigerator+freezer malfunctioned for several months last year before we decided to replace it, so everything from the freezer got semi-thawed and refrozen at least once.) A little bit of berry juice had leaked through the crust, but the dumplings weren’t soggy, probably because Nicholas ate the last layer of berries at the bottom of the bowl and most of the juice from thawing was down there.
Using the old cookie dough to make fruit dumplings worked for me! Visit the Hearth & Soul Blog Hop for more food-related articles! Visit Fabulously Frugal Thursday for more ways to make the most of what you’ve got!
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