Memorial Day Display

mem_day_picWith Memorial Day coming up on Monday May 30th, we here at The Fountaindale Public Library are taking the time to pay tribute and respect to those who have served in our country’s armed forces. This month’s lobby tree display contains a plethora of books to choose from as well as a smattering of audio books that take a look at the brave men and women who have served in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.  …And, it’s all conveniently located for you on the 1st Floor, right when you first walk in!

Here is a sampling of some of the titles that await you:

  1. Navy Seals: Their Untold Storyby Dick Couch and William Doyle  
  2. Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces by Tom Clancy with Carl Stiner
  3. The United States Marines: A Historyby Edwin Howard Simmons
  4. The US Air Forceby Robert Grayson
  5. The US National Guardby Marcia Amidon Lusted

So, come on in and get to know a little more about all that these brave men and women do!

milita1
– Brian S

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COOKIES!

Christmas lights

The holiday season is a magical time of year. The trees come alive with lights, wreaths transform walls that were once bare, and giant ornaments appear all over shopping centers. It is a time to build memories by keeping family traditions alive and reconnecting with others.

My family celebrates Christmas and one of my favorite traditions, besides making tamales, is baking cookies with my mother while watching some of my favorite Christmas movies like Elf. I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, but I believe food always brings people together. Here are a couple of cookie recipes from our talented bakers at Fountaindale to tryout and for any last minute cookie exchanges.

Orange Thumbprint- Cristina
(Makes about 60) 

These are my FAVORITE! I love citrus so I like to add a little more orange zest to the recipe to give it a bit more flavor. The cookies come out soft and taste amazing. It’s definitely a recipe to try out!

orange-thumbprint-cookies-2

For the dough:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt

For the filling:
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice.
⅓ tablespoon coarse salt
confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Instructions:

  1. Make dough: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Add yolks and vanilla, and beat for 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour and salt until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day.
  2. Make filling: Preheat oven to 325͒ F. Line baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper; lightly coat with cooking spray. Whisk together granulated sugar, flour, and egg. Stir in Zest, juice, and salt.
  3. Form balls of dough (each equal to 2 teaspoons), and place on prepared sheets, about 1 inch apart. With the handle of a wooden spoon, press gently in the center of each to create an indentation. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Press centers again if indentations lose definition. Spoon filling into centers. Continue baking until cookies are light brown around edges, 10 to 12 minutes more. Transfer sheets to wire racks to cool completely before dusting with confectioners’ sugar. Cookies can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

Sugar Cookies- Maureen 
(Makes about 30)

“The cookies come out soft but still good enough to decorate with icing and sprinkles! I’ve also made this icing–it’s easy and you just need to buy food coloring.”

sugar cookies with frosting

For the dough:
½ cup butter
½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

Instructions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar.
  2. Add egg and vanilla; mix well.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
  4. Shape into 1-in. balls. Roll in sugar.
  5. Place on greased baking sheet; flatten with a glass.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.

For the icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon almond extract

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth.
  2. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  3. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity.
  4. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

 

Pumpkin Turnovers- Deb
(Makes 8 turnovers)

“I made my own dough instead of buying puff pastry. I call them Pumpkin Pasties, which is a much-loved treat from the Harry Potter universe.”

pumpkin-turnovers-2

Ingredients:
2 puffed pastry sheets, thawed
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all-spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar

For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
Dash of vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix pumpkin puree, brown sugar and remaining spices in medium mixing bowl until smooth.
  3. Place puffed pastry sheets on clean, dry surface. Cut each pastry sheet into four squares.
  4. Place one and a half HEAPING tablespoons of pumpkin puree on one half of the square.
  5. Fold over from corner to corner into a triangle shape, and press edges together to seal.
  6. Place turnovers on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between them. If desired, crimp edges with fork.
  7. Cut three small indentations on the thickest part of the turnover to resemble small apple pies.
  8. Brush with one beaten egg, if desired.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. When golden brown and puffed up, remove from oven and drizzle vanilla glaze on top using the prongs of a fork.
  11. For glaze, simply whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. If glaze is too thick, gradually increase milk. Enjoy!

 

Magic Cookie Bars- Kate

“My favorite recipe!”

magic cookie bars

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (I just crush graham crackers in a bag)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chops
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  2. Coat a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter.
  4. Press mix into bottom of prepared pan.
  5. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture.
  6. Layer evening with chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts.
  7. Press firmly down (I recommend with a fork or a spoon so it doesn’t stick to hands).
  8. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Cut into bars.

 

Monster Cookies- Agnes
(Makes about 2 ½ dozen)

Here is Agnes’ recipe slightly modified from

Monster Cookies

MonsterCookies

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
​1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter (use crunchy if you like nuts)
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups old fashioned oats
1 cup M&Ms
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup butterscotch chips
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and peanut butter.
4. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well until creamy.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated. Stir in the butterscotch, chocolate chips, and M&Ms.
6. Mix in the oats.
7. Place balls of dough, around 1½ Tablespoons each, on the parchment sheet. You can hand place extra M&Ms on top, pressing slightly in.
8. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Make sure not to over bake. The cookies will not be brown and will continue to cook as they cool on the pan.
9. Store in an airtight container.

Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do. Happy holidays from Fountaindale!

-CP-

Pumpkin Patterns are on the Way

 It’s about to be that time of season again, fall. The thing I look forward to the most in fall has to be Halloween and specifically pumpkin carving. Towards the end of September the library will once again have pumpkin carving patterns on display. There will be a pumpkin carving display located on the third floor of the Fountaindale Public Library. The library owns several books on pumpkin carving, you can find them here on our catalog.  A free handout will also be available that you can take with you, it includes brief pumpkin carving instructions. We also have a wide variety of free, that’s right I said FREE, pumpkin carving stencils. Some of the stencils include Edward Scissor Hands, The Thing, The Avengers, Mario, Yoda, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, and many more. Just go to the third floor of the library and ask where’s the free pumpkin stencils and one of the librarians can point you in the right direction.

photo

Look for the display on the third floor for your free pumpkin carving stencils.

-J-

Christmas Cookies

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We may not have had any snow yet, but it still feels like the holidays with twinkling lights everywhere and the smell of fresh baked cookies out of the oven. Today I am sharing with you three cookie recipes pulled from a few of the library’s cookbooks that I tested myself over the weekend. Read on to find out how easy these treats were to make and how they stood up to a taste test.

Eggnog-Frosted Nutmeg Sugar Cookies
Very Merry Cookies by Better Homes and Gardens
Makes about 24 cookies

Image

1/2 of a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, or 2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon eggnog
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 recipe Eggnog Icing (see below)
Coarse sugar

Eggnog Icing: In a medium bowl stir together 3 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough eggnog or milk (3 to 4 tablespoons) to make an icing of spreading consistency.

1. Using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape pulp from the vanilla bean; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg, eggnog, and vanilla pulp or vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.
 

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface roll each dough half to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a fluted round 3-inch cookie cutter (I used a star-shaped cookie cutter instead), cut out dough. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are light brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Spread eggnog icing on cookies. If desired, sprinkle with coarse sugar. Let stand until icing is dry.

For those of you that like eggnog, this is the cookie for you. It has the sweet simplicity of a sugar cookie with a holiday twist. I did have to wait an hour for the dough to chill, but preparing it was a snap. However, I would only use a dash of nutmeg instead of a teaspoon the next time around since my taste buds, as well as those of my taste testers, thought it was a bit much.

4/5 stars for taste, 5/5 stars for ease

Orange Snowballs
Cookies For Christmas by Jennifer Dorland Darling

Image

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel (set aside)
2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel (set aside)
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon gold edible glitter (optional)

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in orange juice until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the 1 tablespoon orange peel and remaining flour.

2. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile in a food processor or a blender container combine the 3/4 cup granulated sugar and the 2 teaspoons orange peel Cover and process or blend until mixture is combined. Stir in edible glitter, if desired. Roll the baked cookies, still slightly warm, in the sugar mixture. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool. Makes about 48 cookies.

I can’t say I’ve ever had a cookie like this before, but I’m glad I tried it. The orange flavor was pretty subtle, and if you want more of a citrus taste, I would suggest adding just a tiny bit of orange extract, perhaps 1/8 teaspoon, or perhaps increase the amount of orange juice by about 1/2 teaspoon. These cookies were quick and easy to make and while my taste testers and I enjoyed them, we all agreed they could use a little oomph.

3/5 stars for taste, 5/5 stars for ease

Baby Butter & Jam Sandwiches
Christmas Cookies by Lisa Zwirn
Makes about 36 cookies

Image

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting the cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Raspberry preserves (or strawberry or apricot preserves or some of each)

Cookie cutter needed: 1 1/2-inch round
Zwin shares an awesome tip and writes, “The first time I made these I couldn’t find my 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter. I ended up using one of those little plastic cups that come with a bottle of cough syrup. The rim was a perfect 1 1/2 inches! And the cup can be gently squeezed to loosen any cutouts that get stuck.”

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy. Beat in the 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar until fully blended. With the beaters on low speed, mix in the flour and salt until thoroughly combined. Using your hands, gather the dough into a ball, then press it into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until the dough is firm enough to roll out. (If refrigerated longer, let the dough sit at room temperature for about 30 to 45 minutes to soften before rolling.)

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. Using the cutter, stamp out circles close together and arrange them about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared sheets. Re-roll the scraps two or three times. (Working the dough too much can make it tough.)

4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through baking, or until the cookies are just beginning to color and the edges are pale golden. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

To assemble: Spread a little of the preserves on the bottom side of half of the rounds, taking care not to spread it too close to the edge. Top with another round, right side up. Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over the sandwich cookies.

Store the plain rounds in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Once the cookies are spread with jam, they’ll start to soften after 1 to 2 days.

Out of the three recipes I tested, I’d say this one was my favorite. Soft, buttery, and flaky with the tartness of raspberries – what more could you want in a cookie? While I was impatient and didn’t want to wait an hour for this dough to chill as well, the prep process was very simple and the end product was well worth the wait! My only regret is that I didn’t make more of these!

5/5 stars for taste, 5/5 stars for ease

All three books are filled with plenty of other great recipes, so feel free to stop by the library to check them out and browse our other cookbooks! Happy Holidays!

-a-

Pumpkin Patterns Available at the Library

The pumpkin carving patterns are finally here at the library. We have a pumpkin carving display located on the third floor of the Fountaindale Public Library. There are several books on pumpkin carving as well as a handout that you can take with you that includes brief pumpkin carving instructions. We also have a wide variety of free, that’s right I said FREE, pumpkin carving stencils. Some of the stencils include Edward Scissor Hands, The Thing, The Avengers, Mario, Yoda, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, and many more. Just go to the third floor of the library and ask where’s the free pumpkin stencils and one of the librarians can point you in the right direction.

Look for the display on the third floor for your free pumpkin carving stencils.

-J-

Pumpkin Preparedness

During this time of the year right before October I try to  start thinking about what I am going to do for the pumpkin carving season.  I’ll just highlight on a few short topics of  what it takes to be prepared.

There’s really only four basic tools you need for carving pumpkins. These include:
-Long, thin, preferably serrated knife for large cuts (drywall saw or boning knife works best)
–Small, thin, preferably serrated knife for small detailed cuts (paring knife or carving kit knife works best)
–Sharp object to transfer your pattern onto your pumpkin (tack, nail, toothpick, etc.)
–Big metal spoon to scrape out the guts of the pumpkin
–Option of using a Dremel tool for more elaborate patterns or for carving the fake pumpkins

I usually find patterns online through out the year and print them out. Some websites I use for patterns include:
http://www.zombiepumpkins.com
–Website with a vast array of pumpkin carving patterns; you do have to sign up and pay a small fee
http://www.pumpkinlady.com
–Website with a vast array of pumpkin carving patterns; you do have to sign up and pay a small fee
http://www.carvingpumpkins.com
–Website with a vast array of pumpkin carving patterns; some free selections, you do have to sign up and pay a small fee if you want more
http://www.paperpumpkins.com
–Large selection of free pumpkin patterns
-Most local stores carry pumpkin patterns around October
-The library also will have a selection of free patterns

As we get closer to October, I will post more pumpkin carving tips and tricks.

-J-

ARRR! Learn Pirate Parlay online In Time for Halloween!

Belay yer carousin’ and haul wind smartly!

For the land lubbers thinking of taking up the pirate mantle, you will definitely need to learn how to belay your enemies and court the comely lasses. The best way to do this is enroll in the free Mango Languages Pirate language course!

Although there may be a fair bit o’ swag to be said for Pirate translation tools (We recommend this Pirate to English translation website), nothing helps a mate out like parlaying a new language at your own pace.

You’ll also pick up on pirate culture, slang, and learn just how serious it is to ‘blow a man down!’

So, be ye ready fer some swashbucklin’?

Grab your library card (you’ll need it, matey!) and visit our website at www.fountaindale.org.  Use your mouse to hover over the Resources tab at the top of the page.  Hover over ‘Databases’ -> ‘Alphabetical’ and left click on ‘H-P’.

Scroll down the page and left click on Mango Languages

Fill out the New Member Registration Form.  In a few steps, you’re ready to go!

Take advantage of this valuable pirate commodity!  Mango’s Pirate Language course runs through November 1, 2011!

If you’re not a Fountaindale Library patron, contact your local library and ask about Mango Languages.  There are over 20 different language courses available.  In addition to pirate, you can learn Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Irish, Russian, Urdu, Hindi and many more!  Don’t delay, and ask for Mango Languages today!

So, will ye be successful in your pirate parlay?

ARRR!  See you at the Library!

Debra