Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fancy Nancy Makes Cookies

Hi everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I'm yearning for something fancy.

 Have you ever seen these children's books?
Fancy Nancy books (by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Priess Glasser, published by Harper Collins) are geared to preschool girls, but my boys love them, too. A little girl who has to do everything in the FANCY way. She even throws out little French phrases, so I've got a warm spot in my heart for Nancy.

  I know it's Lent and we should all be eating bread and water. But what about Sunday? What about visitors? What about... that ending on Downton Abbey??

RIGHT?? Sometimes we need a little fancy to get us through the week.
So, instead of the usual chocolate chip cookies, I decided to make some Fancy Nancy cookies.
 These aren't particularly hard to make, but they're definitely not your average after-school cookie.
When I brought out the recipe, Edna accused me of being influenced by Goldie, the new teacup. Was I going to make everything ten time as complicated as normal, just to be showy? Then again, is showy all bad?
Maybe... Maybe not. Let's try it and see.

Preheat oven to 350F.

 So, the base of the RASPBERRY CRUMBLE COOKIE is a standard shortbread.
1/2 pound butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp oure vanilla
2 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all these ingredients until just combined. Form into a ball and take 2/3 and pat into the bottom of a 9X13 pan. Leave a bit of the shortbread for about 1/2 inch of dough going up the side.

Spread your raspberry jam (most of a jar, if using all raspberry) on the bottom. I had some apricot, so I used that, too. Spread it to about 1/2 from the sides.

Now, the other 1/3, mix with 2/3 cup granola (no dried fruit, it will burn). This will be the topping.
The original recipe has 3/4 sliced almonds but I couldn't find them anywhere. I may have pulverized them for a pie crust. I don't remember exactly. Anyway, they weren't in the pantry. :P
Break the granola-shortbread dough into small pieces and sprinkle on top. Bake about 45 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.
Here they are, cooled and cut and ready for the tea party. Edna relented and said that Goldie and her friends were invited to the festivities, so in the end we did have a wonderful time together.
I'm gearing up to start another historical romance, set at the turn of the century and these old-style crumble bookies were just what I needed for plotting.
Who am I KIDDING?? I do not plot.
But in honor of Speedbo (Seekerville's version of NaNoRiMo), I'm definitely thinking... deeply... about plots while I eat cookies.
Of course, I also will be 'plotting' while I refurbish this old trunk I found super cheap. The canvas can't be saved, but I'm hoping to strip and laquer the pine underneath.
Edna is pretending to be uninterested, but she keeps shooting glances at this handsome trunk. Who can blame her?? But he does need a bit of perking up.

Until next time, indulge in a bit of fanciness to get you through the week!



  1. I came to check for comments and there was NO POST!

    Huh. Forgot to press the publish button.

    I think last week I popped in on Missy's head.

    Next week I vow to get it right!

  2. I am a sucker for these kind of cookie bars. I could probably use them as some kind of method of suicide. I'm not eating sugar or white flour.
    do you have a version made with twigs and nuts?

    Oh, and by the way, I found the cure for the common Matthew...

  3. I love it and looks like we can make it. It always looked to fancy for me.
    My shortbread cookie mix is old but good. Came from Newfoundland Canada.
    2 cubes of soft butter
    3/4 cup powdered sugar
    2 cups flour
    Mix and either form into cookies or put on the bottom of recipes like this. Looks great and will try this weekend:0)

    1. I love shortbread recipes! And this recipe can be made with any shortbread you have, so if you have a favorite, use that one!

    2. Am I the only one wondering what counts as a "cube" of butter?

  4. Cure for the common Matthew? Enlighten me! I am so into these cookies with the apricot jam, and maybe even blackberry...

  5. Oooh, how gorgeous!! The table setting as well as the bars, I mean. :)

    I love this! But then again, I might just have to stop at the shortbread. It's one of my favorite buttery things!!

  6. LOL, Debra!! I don't know how you've cut out flour AND sugar!! Oh, my. And I thought giving up potatos was hard.

    Anonymous, your recipe sounds good as well!

    Susan, I think we all need some kind of cure for the trauma of Downton Abbey the other night! :)

    1. I'll just wait until he pops up somewhere else. I just hope he keeps that gorgeous hair. If he gets a buzz cut, I may not be a fan.

    2. He's being considered for the role of Darcy in P&P Revisited, some production about dropping in on Eliza and Darcy after they're married... I saw that someplace.

      And what about the possibility of Julian Fellowes NOT WRITING DOWNTON???? Because there is a Gilded Age drama NBC is trying to pull him in on.... and he says he can't do both. UGH...... New writers.......We know what that means. (tiny sigh)

  7. I sure need that cure! I haven't been so involved with a fictional character in ages.

    I didn't even cry when ET died.

    But - sob - I'm going to miss Matthew.

    Wait, we're talking about those beautiful cookies Virginia made, aren't we? Lovely. I'm saving this recipe :)

    1. I love Mary, but I loooooooooooove Matthew.

    2. LOL, Jan! I have cried probably fifty times for ET when he died!!! Every single stinkin' time I've watched the movie. The same with the Phantom movie. I'm talking ugly sobs.


      But for Matthew? No tears. Just the loud wailing of "NOOOO!!!" I think I was just in shock. Too traumatized for tears.

    3. I sort of figured they HAD to kill him off right after Sybil had a baby... and then she died... and we need to get rid of the heir!

  8. The cookies are definitely going on my must make soon list. Loved the hint of romance in this post too. Edna and her handsome trust! Sigh. Looks like the plotting part while cookie eating is working well. Definitely have to try that method!

    1. I highly recommend it. If all else fails, at least you've consumed some fine cookies.

      And yes, I think we've finally found a good match for Edna. he's got experience, he's tough, he's been through changes, willing to change, has soem handsome scars, cleans up well, in it for the long haul, protective, charming, is easily moved, opens up to the right person, etc., etc.

  9. These look AMAZING, Virginia. Ooo, I can't wait to try them Bet the boys won't eat them, though. Time to call together some lady friends. Those will appreciate tasty treats like this.

    LOVE the table setting, too!

  10. Aren't they adorable? And so easy. They were actually pretty popular even with the picky eaters we have, so maybe it helped to have the bottom crust a half inch of shortbread!

  11. Virginia, did you see the post on FB yesterday that said Matthew was going to be in some movie set in Cornwall?

    Not a DA fan here, but kinda hard to miss all the chatter this week.

  12. Are you suggesting I move to Cornwall? Then, yes, I'm on my way!

  13. My crit partner's daughters love these books! So fun and I'll hound her to make these, haha.

    1. They're really clever and the illustrations are awesome. We have the whole set.

  14. I think a pilgrimmage to Cornwall and England in general is a MUST right now. I'd love to see the Holy Land but I'm not big on turmoil, so a trip to ol' England might be just the ticket! :)

    These are fancy cookies and I will try them with my peeps. I bet the sour cherry jam I make for my mother-in-law and daughter-in-law would go well with these. And I think Edna is our version of Mrs. Hughes.... Which makes the trunk our very own "Carson"?????