Saturday, February 20, 2010

Author Cathie Linz - Will Write for Cookies

I'd been reading Cathie Linz's fun, feisty books for years before I had the pleasure of meeting her through local author events. She is a founding member of Windy City RWA - that savvy professional group of dynamos who have provided me with great guest blogs here this week. Now only are Cathie's books intelligent, funny, and surprising - she's used librarians as heroines in at least 3 books! Then there's that huge list of awards she continues to add to... I'm delighted to have her guest here with her delicious description and recipe, and I can't wait to get her new one - Mad, Bad and Blonde - March 1! - Amy

My name is Cathie Linz and I’m a cookie addict. Okay, maybe the term “addict” is a little strong. But when it comes to comfort food, cookies rank right up there in my book. When I was Head of Acquisitions at Northern Illinois Law Library back in the day, I was famous for my homemade toll-house chocolate chip cookies. The professors who came to my farewell luncheon all bemoaned the fact that I was leaving and taking my cookies with me.

I confess that I’m specific in the types of cookies I like baking. As you may know, there are three basic types of cookies and cookie recipes. No, I’m not talking about Oreos vs Keeblers here. I’m talking about drop cookies, refrigerator cookies, and rolled cookies. I don’t consider bar cookies to be cookies. Brownies and lemon bars are a different thing in my world.

I am a total drop cookie fan. I don’t use a rolling pin on anything even though I own a vintage one that my mom got as a wedding present. I used to make spritz cookies but ran out of energy. They were really good, just time consuming.

While I like baking, I also like easy. And drop cookies are easy. Basically you’re blending butter and sugar together then adding dry ingredients and flavoring and stuff. Yes, mixing the butter and sugar together could be hard but now most people have food processors that do all the work. Or electric mixers that take care of the mixing. But if you want to build muscles in your arms, then certainly feel free to mix the sugar and butter the old-fashioned way.

I confess that I am a butter fan. I don’t use Crisco or margarine in my cookie baking. I also confess that I still have the very first cookbook I was ever given as a kid. Actually it was the only cookbook I was given as a kid. The Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook for the Hostess and Host of Tomorrow. In looking at the book now, I see there’s a recipe for “Eat Right Away Cookies” with honey and coconut…hmm may have to test that one out sometime.

I like my cookies chewy. Some cookies are good crisp and thin but a majority of the cookies I bake are chewy. The secret is not to overbake them. Try the shortest cooking time. The cookies are often soft when I take them out. I let them set on the cookie sheet for a few minutes (no more than five) and then transfer them to a cooling rack. While they are still warm I then store them in air-tight containers or a large Ziplock storage bag.

I don’t have any of the fancy cookie sheets and accouterments that you see on Martha Stewart’s shows. It’s no-stick aluminum foil or plain cookie sheet for me. I have more cookie cookbooks than any other type and always think that someday I’ll have time to try more recipes. But for now my writing keeps me so busy that I don’t have a lot of baking time. I do take time out for baking at Christmas and a few other special times in the year, but that’s about it. The rest of the time I’m busy writing. I’ll have two books out this year. MAD, BAD AND BLONDE hits bookstores on March 2nd and features Faith West, a Chicago librarian jilted at the altar. The next book comes out in October and features Faith’s cousin Megan – also a Chicago librarian. Both Faith and Megan like baking cookies.

Mocha Madness Cookies
One of my new faves!
Cookies: 1 stick butter, softened1/2 cup packed light brown sugar1/4 cup sugar1 egg1 t. vanilla1 cup flour1/2 t salt1/2 t baking soda1 bar (3 oz) coffee flavored chocolate, finely chopped (I put mine in a small chopper food processor)
Glaze: 1 t instant coffee1 to 2 T half and half1/2 cup powdered sugar
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I put Reynolds Wrap no stick aluminum foil on the cookie sheets 2) Make cookies - beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer at med. speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beat until blended, scraping down the side of the bowl once. Combine flower, sale and baking soda in a bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in chocolate.
3) Drop dough by tablespoons 3 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 min. or until lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
4) For Glaze, mix coffee, and 2 T of half and half in microwavable bowl. Microwave on high for 15 seconds or until coffee dissolves. Stir in powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cookies, then let stand for 30 minutes until glaze is set.

CATHIE LINZ writes books that are “Hilarious and heartwarming” according to Library Journal. She is the award-winning, bestselling author of over fifty-five contemporary romances published worldwide in nearly twenty languages. Her book BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY was recently chosen by Booklist (published by the American Library Association) as one of the Top Ten Romances of the Year. Cathie’s newest book, MAD, BAD AND BLONDE (in stores March 2) received a highly coveted starred review from Booklist who described it as “a rare treat.”
Cathie is a founding member of Windy City RWA. For more info visit her website or join her on Facebook or Twitter.


Janice said...

I'm off to Amazon to see if I can get any of Cathie's books in the UK. Great post, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the positive comments Amy! You made my day! Cathie

Cory said...

I've never been good at making cookies. They are great straight out of the oven, then hard as a rock later. I'll have to try out your tip. Thanks for sharing!
Congrats on the new release, and I can't wait to try these cookies...

Cathie Linz said...

Cookies need to be stores in airtight containers (or ziploc storage bags) relatively quickly - mine are often still a bit warm from the oven when I put them in the bags. Otherwise they do dry up quickly but stored this way they last. you can just eat them all as they come out the of oven (not that I have ever done that...okay sometimes I do (grin)

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying reading about favorite recipes, Cathie, I must try your cookie. I'm a cookbook-aholic. I've got over 200 cookbooks and love reading them. One new favorite of mine is by author Eileen Goudge, Something Warm From the Oven. Everything I've tried so far is yummy! I brought a cranberry cornbread to a luncheon on Valentine's day, it looked so pretty with the red cranberries all over the top.
I've also got some of my Norweigan grandmother's recipes copied from her handwritten journal. I found it endearing to look through after she died, as she cut out cartoons from the newspaper and put them among her recipes.
I have far too many recipes to come up with one favorite!