We get far, far more letters than we could possibly print. Here's a batch of more than 20 that just got overrun by other issues before we could get them into the paper.
And the letters about Gov. Pat McCrory's gift of cookies to a group protesting the abortion bill outside the Governor's Mansion keep rolling in. Here's a look:
Sbarro pizza places in malls across the country are giving away free bags of cookies for Valentine's Day.
The freebie is good at the Sbarro locations at Cary Town Center and at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh.
The offer is posted on the Sbarro Facebook page.
Redeem the offer in one of three ways: Print it out, show the post on your smartphone or simply mention it to the cashier and the cookies are yours free.
In Wednesday's paper, I will have a story about the annual holiday cookie contest at Duke University's development office. I promised to share the winning recipes.
So far, I have the Best Overall Cookie Recipe: Mint Meringues (photo at left taken by staff photographer Takaaki Iwabu.) This is a holiday play of those classic airy meringue cookies. Enjoy! Congrats to winner Lisa Worster.
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
6-8 drops green food coloring
6 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces
PREHEAT oven to 200 degrees.
BEAT egg whites until foaming with an electric mixer. Mixing at high speed, gradually add sugar about one tablespoon at a time. Beat well after each addition, until whites hold stiff glossy peaks.
ADD extract and food coloring. Beat until blended. Fold in chocolate pieces. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto well-buttered baking sheet. Bake for one hour until dry and set. Cool.
A few notes from Lisa:
- This recipe doubles easily.
- The cookies do not spread when baked so you can put them close together on the baking sheet.
- You can substitute any time of type of chip; mini chocolate chips work well as do other sizes and flavors. Adjust the extract and coloring to complement the chip.
UPDATE: The recipe for Almond Mice and Sugar Cookies are attached below. Baker Jane Heuser won most creative with this entry, while Kristin Hathorne won for best presentation.
Here are a few more food items that may work as stocking stuffers or hostess gifts this holiday season:
La Farm bakery in Cary is selling stollen (pictured at left) and a Linzer challah bread. Baker Lionel Vatinet makes the stollen with a brioche-like dough filled with rum-soaked orange zest, raisins and nuts. After baking, the bread is rolled in sugar. A large loaf costs $15.99. A small costs $8.99. Vatinet's Linzer challah is his take on an Entenmann's cake -- a challah dough filled with a cream cheese-based custard and fresh raspberries. It sells for $7.89.
The special breads are available every day at the bakery in Cary or at the bakery's stand at the state Farmer's Market in Raleigh from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Monday. Local Whole Foods stores also are carrying these breads and can place orders for customers. Special orders for the holiday must be placed by Friday either through Whole Foods , by calling the bakery at 919-657-0657 or online at lafarmbakery.com. Orders also can be delivered to the state farmers market.
La Farm also sells the traditional Buche de Noel cake (pictured at right) for $36.99 in three flavors: Belgian chocolate, vanilla buttercream with a raspberry coulis and hazelnut praline. It is only available at the Cary store and pre-order is necessary before Friday.
Raleigh-based coffee roaster Larry's Beans is now selling a cold brew coffee concentrate. It can be used to make iced coffee, hot coffee and cocktails. A three pack of 16-ounce bottles costs $32.50 online at LarrysBeans.com. A single bottle sells for $11.49 at these stores: Taylor's gas station and wine shop and Harmony Farms in North Raleigh, The Meat House in Cary and Tyler's Bottle Shop in downtown Raleigh.
I also wanted to mention Mrs. Hanes' Hand-made Moravian Cookies. This Clemmons, N.C.-company makes 10 million cookies by hand each year. A one-pound tin costs $20.30. Order online at hanescookies.com.
In this space between now and Christmas, I’ll be featuring local food artisans whose products may make good holiday presents or hostess gifts.
Michelle Stees, 48, of Raleigh, has had a side business as a baker for many years. The latest incarnation of that business is Monster Cookies & Cakes.
In my humble opinion, the cookies are really the thing to buy. They are enormous and could feed four people. Being bigger, they succeed where other cookies fail: they are crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy inside.
Stees offers 13 flavors including sugar, lemon, coconut, sweet tea, ginger spice, three nut butter, mint chocolate, chocolate orange, mocha, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, happy trails and a monster bar, a signature seven-layer cookie.
The cookies cost $4 each, three for $10 or $36 for a dozen. She offers free delivery in Raleigh. Delivery is available elsewhere in the Triangle for a fee.
Photo by staff photographer Juli Leonard.
Satisfy your sweet tooth free of charge today at the Great American Cookie Company.
Everyone who stops by Great American Cookie Company locations today, Oct. 1, will get a free chocolate chip cookie to publicize the chain's "Reading is Sweet" book drive.
The rest of the month, you can snag a free cookie of your choice when you donate a new or gently used book. One free cookie per day.
The Nestle Toll House Café by Chip at The Streets at Southpoint is celebrating its grand opening this weekend with free cookies for all.
Everyone who stops in will get a free mini chocolate chip cookie today and Saturday, Aug. 10 and 11.
Special discounts and coupons will also be available.
The shop, located near the food court, is owned by the same folks who own Southpoint's new frozen yogurt shop, Frozia, as well as the Auntie Anne's Pretzels and Häagen-Dazs shops at Southpoint.
To mark 40 years of doing business in the Triangle, Chick-fil-A restaurants are celebrating Free Cookie Day this Friday, June 22.
Stop by participating restaurants between 2 and 6 p.m. to get your free chocolate chunk cookie.
The cookies, which are freshly baked at the restaurants, are a new item on the Chick-fil-A menu.
Also, for those of you die-hard Chick-fil-A fans, pencil in July 13 on your freebie calendar. That's the date for Cow Appreciation Day when customers who dress up as cows are treated to free meals.
Just in time for hot weather, Starbucks is bringing back its "Frappuccino Happy Hour."
Starting Friday, May 4, through May 13, you can purchase one of the blended iced beverages for half price.
Happy hour lasts from 3 to 5 p.m. at particpating Starbucks.
And just so you know, Starbucks has added a new Frapppuccino -- the Mocha Cookie Crumble -- a blend of mocha sauce, frappuccino chips, coffee, milk and ice and topped with whipped cream and chocolate cookie crumbles.