Everything tastes great ...

These cookies are tasty and simple to make

These cookies are tasty and simple to make

April 09, 2007|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

"This is probably the longest part of the process," said Sue Rudisill, as she boiled brown sugar and butter.

The time was shortly after 11:25 a.m., when Rudisill, 70, of Halfway, hovered over the pot on her stove to make her Brickle Cookies - a recipe that calls for Ritz crackers.

By 11:49 a.m., the cookies had cooled, the reporter had already nibbled (and enjoyed) one from the batch and the conversation had progressed from cooking to the need for more volunteers at public schools.

"(The cookies) are so quick to make," said Rudisill, who often likes to offer Brickle Cookies in lieu of a "thank you" or "just thinking of you" note for friends and family.


The cookies can be prepared quickly, which works in their favor, Rudisill said. "Nowadays, with people's schedules, it's better that way."

A batch of about 60 cookies can be prepared in about 20 minutes, and the recipe includes basic ingredients most people already have on hand in their cupboards, such as brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, pecans and Ritz crackers.

But the simple ingredients and quick-finish process doesn't compromise the cookie's taste.

The sugar, butter, vanilla extract and pecans are topped over the crackers and briefly go into the oven.

The end result is a batch of rich-tasting cookies, more like a wafer with a dominant buttery flavor. The texture comes from the Ritz crackers and the pecans, which retain their crunch after baking.

Another Ritz cookie can be prepared by spreading peanut butter between two Ritz crackers, dipping them in chocolate and adding a dot of white frosting once they've cooled.

"We sell them at church. We call them 'Frosty's Buttons,'" she said.

Rudisill, a retired secretary for Washington County Public Schools, said she enjoys making cookies, candies and cakes for her family and church, St. Andrews United Methodist in Hagerstown.

Rudisill said her official "tasters" include husband Bernard (aka "Bunny"), her daughter and son-in-law, and her grandchildren.

Q&A with Sue Rudisill

Q: So tell me more about your cooking style. You mentioned that you like to experiment.

A: I do. My favorite is when my husband will come in the kitchen and ask me, "What are we having for dinner?" I tell him, "I don't know yet," because that's how I operate. It depends on what I have an appetite for. I like to experiment.

Q: You definitely don't strike me as having a set recipe for any given thing. Is there any recipe, anything you make that you like to do the same way every time?

A: My spaghetti sauce. It's simple, but it's pretty good. That is definitely my own.

Q: Is there any thing you would absolutely not eat?

A: I don't go for things like avocado and artichokes. I'm willing to try anything, except I don't do squid, I don't do snails, none of that exotic stuff.

Q: Say you were to encounter someone who thought cooking was a complete waste of time. How would you convince them otherwise?

A: I would say to look at it as though it's not a job or a chore, but to have some fun and to experiment. Everything is not a success. I've had to throw some things out. But when my son-in-law comes in the kitchen and goes like this (sniffs), that's the biggest compliment. That's all I need.

Brickle Cookie

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
60 Ritz crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with foil. Put sugar and butter in a pot and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla and pecans. Stir.

Spread about 1/4 teaspoon of brickle mixture over each cracker. If there is extra mixture, add to crackers, or use additional crackers.

Place in the oven and bake until the mixture starts to bubble - about 4 minutes. Cool before serving.

- Recipe courtesy of Sue Rudisill of Halfway

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