Mary’s Memo #2289


As the holidays approach, Lauren Chattman’s book,

Cookie Swap will be useful. I’ve always wanted to go to a

cookie swap but have never been invited. Cookie swaps are

fun, old school but also hip. Cookbook includes baking tips,

time lines and inspiration for invitations, decorations and

more. Cookie Swap is everything you need to know to host

one plus recipes for irresistible cookies and delectable swap


Lauren Chattman is a cookbook author and former professional

pastry chef. Of all the occasions for which she has

baked cookies over the years, including class parties, cocktail

parties and family reunions, cookie swaps are her far-andaway


Many of you will love the Easy Peasy chapter featuring

shortcut cookie recipes that require little or no baking like

Chocolate-Toffee Shortbread Fingers. No one will guess that

you didn’t start from scratch!

Source: Cookie Swap by Lauren Chattman (Workman Publishing,

2010, $19.95/softback). 


1/2 cup toasted and cooled pecans, coarsely chopped 
3/4 cup Heath® Bits’O Brickle Toffee bits 
(1) 12-ounce bag bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
4 (8.8-ounce) packages Walkers® Pure Butter Shortbread

Fingers (48 cookies total) 
Line a few cookie sheets with parchment paper. Combine

the nuts and toffee bits in a shallow bowl. Combine

the chocolate and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl heat

the chocolate in the microwave on high until melted, 30 seconds

to a minute depending on strength of your microwave.

Stir until smooth. Hold a cookie by one end and dip it into

chocolate, turning to coat three quarters of the cookie; let

excess drip back into bowl. Hold the cookie over the bowl

of nuts and toffee bits and sprinkle some of the mixture

onto the chocolate coated top and sides of cookie. Place on

prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let

cookies rest until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. In

an airtight container arrange Chocolate Toffee Shortbread

Fingers between layers of parchment paper. Store at room

temperature for one week. 

Source: Cookie Swap by Lauren Chattman (Workman Publishing,

2010, $14.95/softback. 


Many adults and children are seriously injured each year

while carving pumpkins for Halloween, according to doctors

and hand surgeons. To keep safe, have children design jacko-

lanterns but leave the carving to adults. Use a small serrated

knife, which is often included in pumpkin-carving kits

(available at Chief and Rays). Those knives are less likely to

get stuck than non-serrated knives. Hold the pumpkin steady

at the top and cut in a downward motion. 
Source: ConsumerReports on Health, October 2012. 


I haven’t met a southerner who didn’t like collard greens,

a variety of cabbage that doesn’t form a head. It tastes like a

cross between cabbage and kale. The southern way of cooking

collard greens is to boil them with a chunk of bacon or a

ham hock. They’re an excellent source of vitamins A and C,

calcium and iron.

Chief and Rays carry ready-to-cook Glory brand collard

greens. I was surprised that many customers had never

tasted them when I served Collard Green Soup at the Bryan

Chief recently. The recipe I found on the internet at Food.

com called for a 14-ounce package of smoked turkey sausage.

Concerned about the sodium in turkey sausage, I cut

the amount of meat in half but the soup was still too salty.

In fact, Honeysuckle® Smoked Turkey Sausage has the most

salt of all brands sold at Chief and Rays. Chief Smokehouse

Smoked Sausage is a better choice and it contains no MSG. I

also added a second can of black-eyed peas to the recipe. 


7-ounces Chief Smokehouse Smoked Sausage,

cut in 1/4-inch slices 
1 onion, finely chopped 
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped 
1 tablespoon canola oil 
(2) 32-ounce cans Swanson® chicken broth 
8-ounces Glory® collard greens (half the package) 
(2) 15-ounce cans Essential Everyday® black-eyed peas 
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper or to taste 
1 dash of Tabasco or to taste
 Sauté sausage, onion and green pepper in hot oil in a

Dutch oven over medium high heat, about 5 minutes or until

lightly browned. Add chicken broth, collard greens, blackeyed

peas, black pepper and hot sauce; bring to a boil. Cover,

reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings. 

Source: Adapted from recipe.

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