The cookies were Christmas gift enough. But it's even nicer that Ro Taylor acquired the recipe as well. Now we get to share.
"We received some of these cookies at Christmas as a gift, and they were delicious -- an interesting blend of a chocolate cookie and a molasses cookie," Taylor says.
A request for recipes using both chocolate and cinnamon prompted Taylor, a Plates regular, to send the recipe for these chocolate ginger cookies, which practically pop with flavor. They include unsweetened cocoa powder, chopped bittersweet chocolate, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg and a whopping 2½ tablespoons of ground ginger. You roll balls of dough in granulated sugar and flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass, just as you do with most molasses cookies.
Carol Sanford, of Morgan Hill, offers another chocolate-cinnamon combination, a vintage cake recipe. "I've seen the sheath cake in other cookbooks with no cinnamon, but I copied this years ago while visiting my mother in Houston, and I like the cinnamon in it," says Sanford, another Plates regular.
I wasn't sure what a sheath cake is, so I did a little online research. Apparently it's just the way some Texans refer to sheet cake. This cake bakes in a 12-by-18-inch jelly roll pan for 20 minutes. But I found similar recipes online that offer the alternative of baking in a 9-by-13-inch pan for 30 to 35 minutes for those of us who can't lay hands on a jelly roll pan.
Slow cooker book hunt
Plates readers have a couple of suggestions for Ms. Brown, the reader searching for a slow cooker cookbook-type magazine she had spotted at Costco. Several readers, including Joan Lockwood and Debbie Westhafer Schoonmaker, wonder if Brown is thinking of the popular "Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook," one of the best-selling slow cooker cookbooks of all time. The cookbook can be found on Amazon and in local libraries, a reader points out.
Ellen Coffey, of San Jose, offers another alternative. She found "Super Easy Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Moms: 30 Set-It, Forget-It Slow Cooker Meals" on Amazon. The Kindle edition is just 99 cents.
I'm wondering if many Plates readers use e-cookbooks. Increasingly, I find myself cooking from my iPhone. It's just so handy to look something up quickly. Of course, I also managed to spritz my phone with cooking spray the other day. So I haven't ventured into the kitchen with my new iPad yet. I figure I'd better research the best way to protect it from my devil-may-care cooking style.
Chicken in a can
Whole chicken in a can sounds like a gag gift. You know the sort. I imagine popping the top, and a rubber rooster flops out. But Sharon Rasmussen knew just what Westhafer Schoonmaker was talking about. Rasmussen reports you can buy whole canned cooked chicken at Winco Foods for $8.21. "The brand is Chicken Ready, and it is in the canned meats department like tuna or Spam," Rasmussen says. Winco Foods has stores in Brentwood, Tracy and Pittsburg; learn more at www.wincofoods.com.
"My mother would occasionally buy one when I was a kid, and it was always good," Rasmussen says. "She was a good cook but a busy mom, too."
Betz wonders if Plates readers can help with a recipe. The dish was "absolutely out of this world," she says. "We often made the over-an-hour drive to this restaurant just for dinner. I was so disappointed when it closed."