‘Tis the season for celebrating, for planning and shopping, for special foods and special times, for remembering friends and family with gifts chosen to please. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like a homemade gift, especially if it’s been made in the kitchen, as in quick breads, muffins, pretty cookies, fruit cakes and sinfully rich candies. Whether it’s a treasured family recipe that has been made for generations or a new recipe you’re hoping the gift receiver will like, it’s sure to be appreciated. Baking something special at Christmastime is traditional, hospitable and fun. When you give something homemade, the real gift is love, inconspicuously tucked in each treat. Perhaps you would like to give a gift to someone who no longer can bake, or who is living in a care center. A variety of cookies in a pretty tin would be a perfect gift. Let’s make cookies.
FROSTED CASHEW COOKIES 1/2 c. butter, softened 1 c. packed brown sugar 1 egg 1/2 t. vanilla 2 c. flour 3/4 t. each, baking powder and baking soda 1/4 t. salt 1/3 c. sour cream 1-3/4 c. chopped cashews
Frosting: 1/2 c. butter 3 T. half and half cream (can use milk, adding 1 t. more of butter) 1/4 t. vanilla 2 c. powdered sugar
Cashew halves, optional In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients; add alternately with sour cream to creamed mixture. Stir in cashews. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. For frosting, lightly brown butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in cream and vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth and thick. Frost cookies; top each with a cashew half if you wish. Makes about five dozen. This dainty cookie will be a melt-in-your-mouth addition to your cookie plate.
CHOCOLATE SNOWBALLS 3/4 c. each, butter, softened and packed brown sugar 1 egg 1/4 c. milk 1 t. vanilla 1/2 c. baking cocoa (not powder drink mix) 1 t. baking powder 1/2 t. salt 1/4 t. baking soda Powdered Sugar
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add milk, egg and vanilla, mix well. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Shape into one-inch balls (not any bigger); place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for seven to eight minutes or until tops are crackled. Remove from baking sheets; immediately roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Roll in powdered sugar again. Makes six dozen.
MOCHA CHERRY COOKIES 1/2 c. sugar 1 t. vanilla 1 t. instant coffee granules 1 t. hot water 1/4 c. baking cocoa 2 c. flour 1/2 c. well drained, chopped maraschino cherries 1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans Addition sugar 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips) melted with 1 t. butter, optional In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in vanilla. Dissolve coffee granules in water; add to creamed mixture with cocoa. Add flour and mix well. Stir in cherries and nuts. Shape into 1-1/4 inch balls; roll in sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-22 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Drizzle with chocolate if you wish. It dresses them up.
LIME SPRITZ COOKIES 3/4 c. butter 1/2 c. sugar 1/2-3 oz. package of lime gelatin 1/2 beaten egg 1/2 t. vanilla 2 c. flour 1/2 t. baking powder Green colored sugar - optional
This lime-flavored cookie will be a citrusy addition to your cookie plate. First of all, don’t wonder about the 1/2 gelatin and 1/2 egg. I did the math for you... at the end of the recipe. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and gelatin. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture. Using a cookie press with disk of you choice, press dough into shapes, two inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugar if you wish. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool. Makes seven dozen. About the gelatin and egg: One half of a three ounce package of gelatin equals three tablespoons plus one teaspoon plus one quarter of a teaspoon of gelatin. One half of a large egg beaten equals two tablespoons. I cut the original recipe in half as I didn’t know if you wanted to make 14 dozen cookies. The other ingredients are easy to double for the full recipe of 14 dozen cookies. You might want to clip the 1/2 measures for future use.
Thought for the Day: Where is home? Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. Home is where the heart’s tears can dry at their own pace.