Onion cookies and flaky peanut brittle are delicious recipes for any occasion and are especially welcome to the person with an active sweet tooth.
Nellie Bienenstock of Baltimore wrote, "My mother-in-law used to make cookies which she called 'tzibbele Kichel,' which meant onion cookies. They were absolutely delicious. I have tried to reconstruct them but don't have the exact proportions. The basic ingredients included chopped onion, poppy seeds, sugar and a little seltzer."
Joyce Margolis of Baltimore responded. She wrote, "Enclosed please find my recipe for onion kichel, a cookie recipe devised by my grandmother to appease a desire for cookies by her four children during a period when money for sweets and extras was short. This period occurred during the second decade of this century when they were living in the Lower East Side of New York City, but [the recipe] probably has its origins in Poland/Austria during the turn of the century. The cookies can be [eaten plain], but are delicious when spread with cream cheese or butter, and can also be adapted to some sort of cocktail cracker use."
Donna Anderson of Walla Walla, Wash., wrote that she "wanted a recipe for peanut brittle like the one she tasted 20 years ago while living in Wenatchee, Wash. A man made it and came into local businesses and sold it to the employees. It was similar to regular peanut brittle but was very flaky. I enjoy your column in the Union Bulletin."
Lenore Wagner of Walla Walla, Wash., answered with her recipe. "This is the best peanut brittle ever," she wrote.
Makes about 4 dozen
3 large onions, peeled and quartered
3/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup poppy seeds
3 heaping teaspoons baking powder
approximately 2 1/2 cups flour
Blend first 3 ingredients to the consistency of mayonnaise in a blender. Pour mixture into a large bowl and add salt, sugar, poppy seeds and baking powder. Add enough flour so that the dough can be kneaded and is no longer sticky. Roll out on a floured board and cut with a 2-inch round cookie cutter. Bake in a preheated, 375-degree oven on ungreased cookie sheets until golden. Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.
Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "These really do taste like onion cookies. The poppy seed and the sugar definitely give these cookies a dessert kind of taste, but the onion flavor is very apparent. I'm not sure if these are suited to everyone's taste but I didn't try them with cream cheese or butter on them. When adding flour, add 1 cup and blend it in. Then add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture is kneadable."
Flaky Peanut Brittle
Makes about 1 pound
3/4 cup peanut butter (crunchy preferred)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light Karo corn syrup
1/2 cup water
dash of salt
1 1/2 cups raw Virginia peanuts
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Spread peanut butter into as big a circle as possible, 12 to 14 inches in diameter, on a marble slab or any other clean, hard surface. ("A friend uses the top of the washing machine," Wagner wrote.)
Combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Boil until the mixture will spin a thread off the back of a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes. Add raw peanuts and cook until golden brown. Stir constantly. Remove from heat. Quickly stir in baking soda and cream of tartar. Mixture will foam up. From here on, work quickly so candy does not harden before complete.
Pour mixture onto the peanut butter, mixing well with a flat metal spatula. Be careful to keep the syrup within the circle of the peanut butter. Spread candy out using 2 metal or rubber spatulas because it will be too hot to handle with your fingers. Allow a few minutes for the candy to set. Then break or pull into pieces. Store in a tightly covered container in a cool, dry place.
Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "Be sure to incorporate the peanut butter into the syrup, or else the brittle will have a gooey layer of peanut butter on its underside. This is some of the best peanut brittle I've tasted, and it is indeed flaky. The whole peanuts add to the texture interest, and the chunky peanut butter adds great peanut flavor. The syrup mixture undergoes an exciting chemical reaction when the leavening agents are added, so be prepared for the mixture to turn white and foam up."
* Bertha Whitmire of Kelso, Wash., writes that she is "looking for a Cheddar cheese bread. I ate a slice of this strong-tasting cheese bread when I was at a senior potluck dinner in Longview, Wash. I tried to find out who made it, but to no avail."
* Pat Hehrer of Spearfish, S.D., wants a barbecue sauce like that which was served at "Big John's Bar-B-Que restaurant in Scottsbluff, Neb. The restaurant was sold, and the new owners do not make the same sauce. Most barbecue sauces are sweet. The one I want is hot and not sweet."
* Marie K. Louder of Verona, Pa., is looking for a recipe for "Hoolihan's baked potato soup. It was published years ago in a Pittsburgh newspaper."
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.
Pub Date: 02/24/99