Trading Post: Cookies, milk and a good book

Kathryn Rem

Each year, the Rochester (Ill.) Public Library sponsors a baking contest — inspired by a book — at the city’s Sparks in the Park Independence Day celebration. This year’s competition, which called for chocolate chip cookies, was based on Laura Joffe Numerof’s “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

“There were 22 entries, and we had a real variety,” library director Nancy Kruse said about the contest held Sunday.

The youngest of the three winners was 11-year-old Haley Limper of Rochester, who took the prize for best presentation exemplifying the theme.

“It was a red, white and blue box. I drew a mouse and taped that up in the back of the box. It also had a red, white and blue lei and a flag,” said Haley, a sixth-grader at Rochester Middle School.

Haley, the daughter of Neil and Judy Limper, is an avid baker who especially enjoys turning out cakes and cookies. She said her mother helped her make the contest cookies.

“They tasted really good. They have vanilla pudding in them. They were really sweet,” she said.

Dawn Steiner of Rochester won first prize for cookies that were studded with chopped semisweet chocolate, roasted pecans and chopped toffee bars. Robin Edgar of Springfield came in second with cookies that contained semisweet, white and milk chocolate. Winners took home a pie server and a T-shirt.

Previous contests, held in the town park, called for lemon jelly cakes, angel food cakes, chocolate cakes, poundcakes and cherry and apple pies. Kruse said the library staff has started brainstorming about next year’s contest.

“We’re thinking about pie, but we don’t know yet,” she said.

Fantastic Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Dawn Steiner

2 sticks unsalted butter

21/4 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

11/4 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6-ounce semisweet chocolate bar, chopped

3/4 cup roasted pecans, chopped

1 cup chopped chocolate-covered toffee bars (such as Heath)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter over low heat. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Pour melted butter in mixer bowl.

Add sugars; cream on medium speed approximately 11/2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, milk, vanilla extract and flour mixture until well combined. Stir in chopped ingredients.

Chill the dough, then scoop on parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet.

Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate baking sheet midway for even browning.

Cool. Store in airtight container.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Confetti Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Robin Edgar

3/4 cup butter-flavored shortening

11/4 cups brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

11/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

1/2 cup white chocolate baking pieces

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Mix at medium speed with an electric mixer until well-blended. Beat in egg.

Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Beat into creamed mixture at low speed until blended.

Stir in chocolate chunks, white chocolate baking pieces and milk chocolate chips. Drop 2 level measuring tablespoons of dough into a mound for each cookie. Place 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 8 to 9 minutes (cookies will appear moist). Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. (Hint: Do not overbake. Cookies continue to bake during 2-minute cooling time on baking sheet.) Remove to cooling rack.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Haley’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Haley Limper

21/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.

Cream together the butter, brown

sugar and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture.

Stir in chocolate chips. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Yum!

Makes about 4 dozen.

* The Trading Post is looking for recipes using peaches, plums and berries. Please send in your favorites.

The Trading Post runs every other week and is compiled by Kathryn Rem. Send recipes and recipe requests to the Trading Post, The State Journal-Register, P.O. Box 219, Springfield, IL 62705, fax to 788-1551 or e-mail Please include your name, city and daytime phone number.