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Spokane Cookies

My colleague and Slice writer Paul Turner shared some mail he received from a reader.

The reader said she is a "thrift store cookbook seeker" and found a recipe for Spokane Cookies in a book that she picked up on a trip with her daughter.

She copied and sent the page from a church cookbook compiled by the Woman's Society of Christian Service at the Ninth Street Methodist Church in Three Rivers, Mich.

"I wonder how many cooks in Spokane will be baking 'Spokane Cookies' for their friends," she wrote in her note, which landed on my desk before the holidays.

I haven't come across a similar recipe searching the Dorothy Dean archive over the years. A quick web search didn't turn up any similar "Spokane Cookies."

It makes me wonder if it was a recipe shared between friends and family, or if it is a reference to something other than this area.

Have you ever come across Spokane Cookies? What would you consider a Spokane cookie?

Holiday cookie exchange madness

I can't help it. I always go overboard on the holiday baking. 

Even with the promise of a cookie exchange with the talented bakers at my office, I still can't hold myself to baking just a couple different treats.

This year, perhaps my most restrained of recent memory, I only baked chocolate crinkles, peanut butter blossoms, sugar cookies and made caramels, turtles and kahlua. My husband also made his Mom's orange bread… for good measure and because he was missing the flavors of home.

I brought only the chocolate crinkles and peanut butter blossoms to the office exchange this afternoon…. Now, I have mints, truffles, biscotti, chocolate peanut butter pinwheels, spritz cookies, cherry cheesecake cookies, bourbon balls and more. Here's a shot of the spread just before we started swapping cookies.

There is no reason I should be consuming these treats, but it makes me happy to have a tray full of goodies to share with friends and family.

What treats make it Christmas at your house?

Speculoos can be spectacular

If you have flown on Delta, you’re familiar with the spiced, crispy cookies they’ve branded “Biscoff.” These are well-known in Europe by their original name: speculoos. The Lotus brand Biscoff and Trader Joe’s Bistro cookies have been available at grocery stores for a number of years.

Speculoos spreadRecently, I learned they’ve made these cookies into a spread that has the consistency and look of peanut butter, but is a sweet new concoction altogether.
I managed to come by a jar of this stuff (at about the same time a similar product hit the shelves at TJ’s). Make no mistake. It is not peanut butter. It is not good for you.
But it is delicious.
Hoping to go beyond using it as a sandwich spread, I went in search of other inventive uses for this sinful stuff.
The Lotus website has lots of recipes.
Sifting through those listed, I chose the oatmeal pancakes. I had all the ingredients and pancakes always go over well with The Daughters.
This easy recipe made fluffy, lightly sweet pancakes. The kids dusted them with powdered sugar instead of drenching them in syrup. The only caveat is that the higher sugar content in the batter made them brown faster than I am accustomed to. I will definitely be making these again.
The second recipe I tried was for brown sugar bars. These pair a lightly sweetened pie crust with a brown sugar, flour, egg and speculoos spread mixture. When baked up, you can tinker with the amount of sugar and baking time to have either a softer center or a more cake-like consistency.
These were an even bigger hit than the pancakes. The flavor reminded us all of pecan pie, without the pecans. I was subsequently informed by our features editor, “You made a chess pie.”
Whatever you call them, I will definitely be making these again, and may also sprinkle some pecans on the top for a bit of crunch.

There are countless ways to use this stuff, and I had better experiment (perhaps these rolls and these treats?) some more. Otherwise, I might just get out a spoon and dive into the jar.

Cookie jar fingerprints lead to arrest

Fingerprints on a cookie container recently helped police identify suspects in a burglary last summer.

A forensic specialist located the print on a container of animal crackers that had been disturbed during a burglary in a home in the 7800 block of North Debby Lynn Circle that occurred between Aug. 16 and Aug. 18.

Police in April learned that the fingerprint belonged to a juvenile, who reportedly confessed in May to burglarizing the home with another juvenile and his brother, Joel N. Ballard, 24, (pictured) and stealing two rifles and two handguns.

Ballard had been in prison since December on drug and car theft convictions but returned to the Spokane County Jail to face new charges of residential burglary, four counts of theft of a firearm and four counts of unlawful possession of a firearm because of previous felony convictions.

He also faces stolen property charges related to the sale of laptop computer stolen in a burglary Aug. 13. The man who bought the computer told police he bought it from a "white supremacist guy with a White Power tattoo," according to court documents.

Ballard matches that description, police say, including a "white power" tattoo on his forearm.

Crump: Bring On Girl Scout Cookies

Just in case you’re running out of things to worry about, you should know that there’s an ethics crisis brewing surrounding the sale of Girl Scout cookies. It’s perhaps the worst-kept secret in the world that parents of the 3.7 million Girl Scouts worldwide sell more than their share of Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, Trefoils, Tagalongs, Samoas, Daisy-Go-Rounds, Thanks-A-Lots, Lemon Chalet Cremes, Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips, Dulce de Leche and Lemonades. And they do so, by and large, in their workplaces. This has prompted some employers to create rules against charitable solicitations at the office, according to CNN. I have problems with that policy on two levels. First, if your social skills are so weak that you can’t politely say, “Thanks, but no,” to a cookie-pushing colleague, then you belong in a monastery, not a workplace. And in the second place, I can’t do without my annual fix of Girl Scout Cookies/Steve Crump, Twin Falls Times-News. More here.

Question: I know I asked a question about annoying habits of co-workers earlier today. But I want to spotlight one that bothers some but not others. Should co-workers or their children be allowed to sell Girl Scout cookies at work?