It’s time to make some sweet holiday classics
By Donna Zitter Bordelon
“Cookies are made with butter and love.”
— Norwegian Proverb
Get out the butter, sugar and flour. It’s time to make the Christmas cookies. Now all we need is some snow.
Before beginning to mix the cookie dough, assemble all ingredients. Before getting started to make cookies, let your butter and eggs come to room temperature. Eggs that didn’t make it out of the fridge in time to come to room temperature when you’re ready to mix can be put in a pan of warm tap water for a few minutes. Butter and sugar are best beaten together in most cookie recipes, but unlike most cake recipes, cookies do not require extensive beating.
If you plan on making several different cookie recipes, try making the different doughs one day, and then baking the cookies later, or on the following day. (This is useful when baking with small children, too. Most kids love cutting out the cookies’ shapes and decorating the dough.) Just wrap each cookie dough in waxed paper, then put it in a plastic bag. Make sure to label each type of dough, and then refrigerate. Refrigerated doughs that look similar can be identified quickly by attaching a sticky note to them. When ready to bake cut-out cookies, to prevent the dough from getting too sticky and unworkable, take out a portion of the dough from the refrigerator to roll and cut.
Assemble air-tight tins or containers to store the finished cookies. It’s best to store each cookie type individually, not mixing crispy and chewy cookies. Make sure cookies are thoroughly cooled before storing them.
ROSE’S FRENCH FRUIT SLICES
1 cup butter
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2¼ cups flour
1 cup pecan halves
1½ cups soft candied cherries, cut in half
(This recipe also works, if you substitute some maraschino cherries.)
Beat the butter, and add the confectioners’ sugar. Cream well.
Blend in 1 unbeaten egg and vanilla.
Add flour, and mix well.
With a sturdy spoon, stir in the pecans and the cherries.
Chill at least 1 hour.
Divide dough into thirds, and shape into 10-inch rolls. Wrap rolls in waxed paper. Chill at least 3 hours or overnight.
Cut logs into ¼-inch slices and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees for 14–18 minutes or until cookies are set and very lightly browned.
CHEWY WALNUT SQUARES
1 egg, unbeaten
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Grease an 8-inch square pan.
Stir together the egg, brown sugar and vanilla.
Quickly stir in the flour, baking soda and salt.
Add walnuts. Spread in pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 18–20 minutes.
(Cookies should be soft in center when taken from the oven.)
Cool in pan. Cut into 2-inch squares.
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup (4 oz.) ground almonds
Almonds and halved candied cherries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat butter until creamy.
Gradually add the ½ cup sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
Mix in vanilla.
Gradually add flour and ground almonds to the butter mixture. If necessary, knead dough with fingertips to blend in dry ingredients thoroughly.
Roll slightly rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls about ¾ inch in diameter.
Place balls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Flatten each ball slightly with the heel of your hand and place an almond or a cherry half on top.
Bake cookies about 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly before rolling in granulated sugar.
Place cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.
Eat well, live long, enjoy!
(Questions or tips can be sent to Donna Zitter Bordelon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)
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