Mary Ellen’s Crazy Good Cookies



1 cup Crisco (tip: Crisco sticks are easier and less messy)

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup light brown sugar (not too firmly packed)

¼ cup real maple syrup

2 large or extra large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 cups quick cook oatmeal

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghiardellis)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream shortening in a food processor. Add sugars and maple syrup, then add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt and then add to the shortening mixture and blend. Add oatmeal first, then nuts, coconut and cranberries, pulsing in until mixed. You may have to use a spatula, knife or frosting spreader to scrape dough from sides to incorporate all ingredients evenly. Put dough in a large bowl and mix in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon. Put heaping spoonfuls (about tablespoon) of batter on cookie sheets covered in parchment paper. Because the dough is very thick and chock full, I use my fingers to slightly flatten the cookies before baking so they’ll bake evenly and crisp nicely. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until nicely browned.

Eagle’s Challah-va Breakfast Recipe!


Challah Golightly Casserole

 Serves 6 to 8

4 cups (loosely packed) day-old challah bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound bacon (thickly sliced), cut into pieces
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, from about 4 ounces

Grease a 2-quart baking dish and spread the cubed challah in the bottom.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium to low heat. Add the onions, salt, and sugar. Sauté until they are lightly caramelized (a medium golden-brown color), about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another heavy skillet, sauté the bacon until the fat is almost all rendered and it begins to get crisp. Set on a paper towel to drain.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, dry mustard, nutmeg, and thyme. Season with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous quantity of black pepper.

Spread the bacon over the bread cubes, then layer the onions on top. Sprinkle grated Gruyère on next, and then pour the egg mixture over the entire thing.

Press down on the top gently, so that all of the bread cubes get soaked a bit with the egg mixture. Cover with press and seal wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge so it can warm on the counter, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove press and seal wrap and bake, uncovered, for 35 to 50 minutes, or until the edges are bubbling and the top begins to brown. The baking time will be greatly dependent on the depth of dish you use. Check the interior with a knife; if it comes out clean the bread custard is baked through. (Cover with foil near the end of cooking if the top is already browned.)