- The Washington Times - Monday, October 6, 2003

Firefighters, known for their talents as hearty firehouse chefs, are evidently adept at something as simple as baking super cookies to munch with their milk.

A recent competition that challenged California’s professional firefighters to bake up their best produced 12 winners, whose recipes and photos have been used for the 2004 Milk & Cookies Calendar.

The competition was sponsored by the California Milk Marketing Board, which selected the winners, made the photographs and has published the calendar. The calendar is available for purchase, and all proceeds will benefit the California Firefighters Memorial and the families of fallen firefighters.

Firefighter Terry O’Reilly of Ferndale, Calif., created the winner, his recipe for pecan praline cookies, which sweetens the month of May in the calendar.

It wasn’t hard to turn out something special, he says, with plenty of butter and pecans on hand in the firehouse kitchen. The pecan cookies are a big hit at the station with a cold glass of milk, he says, “and I usually try to stick a few in my pocket when I go off duty — that is, if there are any left.”

The cookies are topped with whole pecans and a sugar-and-cream icing.

Pecan praline cookies

This recipe is from Terry O’Reilly of the Ferndale (Calif.) Volunteer Fire Department.

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cups packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1⅔ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons baking powder

teaspoon salt

FOR THE ICING:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

cup whipping cream

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup whole pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; mix into butter mixture to blend thoroughly. Form tablespoons of dough into balls and place, 2 inches apart, on greased baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on pans 10 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely.

To make icing: In small saucepan over medium heat, mix brown sugar and cream; bring to boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in powdered sugar; stir until smooth. Dip bottoms of pecans into icing and place 2 on each cookie; drizzle tops with icing.

Makes about 3 dozen 23/4-inch cookies.

The 2004 Milk & Cookies Calendar is available by sending a check or money order for $15 (including shipping and handling) to: Milk & Cookies Calendar c/o California Fire Foundation, 1780 Creekside Oaks, Sacramento, CA 95833. Ordering information is available online: www.realcaliforniacheese.com.

ASSOCIATED PRESS


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