It’s graduation time! It is hard to believe Zach, my neighbor boy or rather young man, is graduating in a couple of weeks. Where did that time go? It was just yesterday, it seems, Zach was 10 years old. But, whatever … let’s celebrate! A special cookie recipe I made for his sister, Ashley’s, graduation party a couple of years ago is Diploma Cookies. Baking these cookies is one small way for me to be part of Zach’s celebration and bake a little something of what I love…cookies.
Diplomas, tassels, caps and gowns are all symbols of graduation. So, the Diploma Cookie is the perfect complement to the party fare Mona, Zach’s mom, is making. I better get started baking since this cookie takes a little more time to make than most cookies. It takes patience, but I can do it! Let’s get started.
Heat the oven to 350° F. Then generously spray two or three cookie sheets with no-stick cooking spray. It is important to prepare several baking sheets since the cookie batter will need to be spooned onto cool cookie sheets rather than the one that was just in the oven. The cookies are thin and fragile and using a cool cookie sheet will prevent them from starting to bake on a hot sheet even before the sheet is placed in the oven.
Next, generously butter the handle of a long wooden spoon. Then set the spoon aside until after baking the cookies.
First, separate the egg whites from the yolks. I used two small bowls for this. Crack the egg and then, using the shell, gently toss the yolk back and forth between the two halves of the shell, letting the white flow out into the first small bowl. Then put the yolk in the second bowl and put the whites into the mixing bowl. Separate one egg at a time. It is very important that no yolk gets into the whites because the whites won’t beat into stiff peaks, if any yolk is present. If any yolk does get in with the whites I start over with clean bowls and new eggs. Mistakes can be used to make scrambled eggs or be used in any recipe that calls for whole eggs.
Once the egg whites are ready add the lime juice. I squeezed a fresh lime rather than using lime juice in a bottle. The fresh lime juice is so much better and gives the cookies a great fresh citrus flavor. I only needed to use ½ of the lime for this recipe. The remaining half can be used in other recipes or even drop a slice in a cold glass of water.
Beat the egg white mixture at high speed until foamy and bubbly on top.
Continue beating, gradually adding the sugar until the mixture is glossy and has stiff peaks.
Gently stir the flour and cooled melted butter into the beaten egg whites mixture. The butter does not need to be cold but make sure you do not add hot melted butter to the cookie batter - it may begin cooking the egg whites in the batter.
Continue mixing until the mixture is combined. The mixture is rather thick. I used a rubber scraper since it is easier to gently “fold” the mixture over and incorporate the ingredients. If you like, you can use a wire whisk instead. The cookies will be slightly more airy and light.
To make each cookie, spoon 2 teaspoons of the batter onto the sprayed cookie sheet. Then evenly spread the batter for each cookie into about a 3-inch circle.
Here are 2 tips that will help:
Bake only 3 cookies on a cookie sheet at one time. Use a ruler as I have to keep the size of the cookies somewhat uniform. The edges of the cookies should not touch each other so the cookies bake together.
After baking a sheet of cookies, wash the cookie sheet and then re-apply cooking spray before baking more cookies on that sheet. You can use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on the cookie sheet. The baked cookies are easy to remove but make sure before re-using the cookie sheet you do cool the cookie sheet. If using the silicone baking sheet you need to spray the baking sheet each time you use the sheet.
Preparing two or three cookie sheets before I begin to bake the cookies really helps. Getting into a “baking sequence” and having a cooled cookie sheet ready is very important. (When I baked these cookies for Ashley – I baked 6 dozen Diploma Cookies. You can see why I needed to be prepared with cookie sheets ready to go.) Bake each sheet of cookies for 6 to 8 minutes or until the edges of the cookies just begin to brown.
I carefully loosened the edges of a cookie and then rolled the cookie around the buttered wooden spoon handle. Be careful – the cookies are hot and the cookie sheet is hot!
When the cookie is rolled up, gently remove the cookie from the wooden spoon and place the cookie on a cooling rack to cool completely. An added bonus is that these cookies can be cooled and then carefully placed into a plastic freezer container and frozen until the day of the graduation party. If you freeze the cookies, I suggest you wait todip the cookies into the coating a day or two before the party.
While the cookies cool melt vanilla candy coating. Vanilla candy coating is available in the baking aisle of the grocery store with other decorating supplies. It is usually sold in a block of 1-ounce pieces. Break the block of coating into pieces before heating. Use low heat and stir occasionally so the coating does not burn.
Dip the ends of each cookie into the melted coating. Be careful as you handle the cookies – they are fragile and can easily break.
Shake off any excess coating and then place cookies onto waxed paper until the coating is set, about 15 minutes.
Now the fun part…fortunes! You can write creative, funny and inspirational fortune messages on narrow strips of paper. Insert a fortune inside each cookie.
As a finishing touch tie a narrow ribbon, or even two, around the center of each diploma cookie using ribbon that matches the school colors.
The cookies will add a special touch to the graduation party table. We are proud of you, Zach, and I hope you like the cookies for your party!
Keep in mind: Diploma Cookies are fragile and you may “have to eat” a few of the broken ones as you roll and then dip the cookies. They taste great, I know I ate some! Leave your comments about this recipe here and remember to rate and review the recipe, too.
Becky's family loves chocolate! On Thursday she makes a family favorite chocolate cookie.
Cindy Manwarren is a Manager of the Test Kitchens for Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.