Holiday guide: cookies are delicious and versatile

Published: 11/20/2021 4:00:40 PM

Modified: 11/20/2021 16:00:25

Cookies and vacations seem to go hand in hand. Need a gift? Give cookies? Unexpected business? Serve cookies. Fancy a party theme? Exchange of cookies.

There are so many different types out there, but you can make your way to variety by making a large batch of your favorite shortbread cookie or carving sugar recipe and adding different elements.

The following is based on cookies I made using Good Housekeeping’s Basic Cookie Dough Recipe, which was published in “Holiday Cheer” (Hearst, 2014).

Basic cookie dough

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

vs. baking soda

vs. salt

1 cup of butter

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 C. vanilla extract

Note that cookies can be fickle and it is not recommended to use a butter substitute for this recipe.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour, baking soda and salt.

Divide the dough into two sections, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

For the iced sugar cookies: Working one portion at a time, roll your dough about ¼ inch thick and use cookie cutters to create shapes.

Space your cookies about two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

If it takes a long time to cut the cookies, you can let them cool in the refrigerator for an additional 15 minutes before baking them. If the dough is too hot before baking, the shapes will melt and warp.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes or until edges of cookies turn brown and centers are roughly set.

Let cool.

Make your favorite icing (usually confectionery sugar and milk) or buy in wrapper to decorate. Maybe add some nuggets.

For the stained glass cookies: These cookies are made from crushed hard candy (like Jolly Ranchers). You can crush in a bag with a rolling pin or hammer, or spray in a food processor. The pieces don’t have to be super thin, the rice kernel size is ideal.

Similar to frozen cookies, you will use cookie cutters to create your shapes. You will also want to cut out the center (leave about ¼ inch perimeter of dough). To cut out the center, you can use the end of a socket, a cleaned bottle cover, or a knife and a steady hand.

Space the dough cuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Add the crushed candies in the center.

Again, if your dough heats up too much during the cutting process, you may want to cool it down.

Bake at 375 for about 6 to 7 minutes or until the cookie is lightly golden and the candies have melted.

Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the pan so the candies have time to set.

For fingerprints: These cookies have more changes than the base dough. Instead of vanilla extract, replace it with almond extract. Then add 2 ounces. melted unsweetened baking chocolate and ¼ of unsweetened cocoa powder to your batter.

Roll the dough into one-inch balls. Then coat with crushed almonds.

With your dough balls lined up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, it’s time to put those thumbs to work. Use your thumbs to make a small indent on the top of each cookie.

Fill the imprints with raspberry jam.

(Feel free to forgo the chocolate in the batter and mix in the nutty and jam flavors, after all, we’re all on the variation here.)

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until jam is bubbling and cookies are cooked through.

These cookies can be stored for several days at room temperature or up to three months in the freezer.


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