Thursday, November 14, 2013

Holiday Cookies!

Yesterday was baking day. Today was cleaning up, putting away, putting up the pumpkin and more work on the booth day. But I promised recipes for the cookies I made, so here they are:

First recipe: Italian Cookies. I got this recipe from a friend and loved making them. These were easy, easy. The only down side was dipping them all in the glaze, since the recipe made about 80 cookies. I mixed these with my KitchenAid mixer and it worked great.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening (I didn't have any so I used all butter)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder (yes, 5)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons anise extract or vanilla or lemon extract.

 Melt the butter and shortening together; then add the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Mix in the extract. Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the creamed mixture gradually; if the dough is too sticky to roll into a ball in your hand, add a little more flour but remember the dough should be very soft. Roll the dough into small balls (about 3/4-inch diameter or smaller); the cookies raise quite a bit due to all he baking powder. Place the balls on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. The cookies should be lightly browned on the bottom but the tops will still be light. Remove from the cookie sheet to a wire cooling rack and let them cool completely before glazing.

2 cups confectioners sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk

Mix milk gradually into the sugar to make a thick glaze--you want it to be thick, not runny. Place waxed paper under the cooling racks to catch dripping glaze and scattered sugar or else you'll have a mess.

Dip the top of each cookie in the glaze and sprinkle with colored sugar or your choice of toppings. You will want to dip a few and then sprinkle the sugar as he glaze will harden pretty quickly. Allow to set until the glaze hardens, and store.

Second recipe: Chocolate Orange Shortbread. This is from Better Homes and Gardens Cookie Classics cookbook. Lots of delicious recipes in this book, and this is one that is quick and easy to make.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I like unbleached best)
1/2 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
2/3 cup butter (no substitutes)
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 to 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel (use a zester for best results)
Granulated sugar

In a medium mixing bowl stir together the flour and powdered sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling together. (I cheated and used my KitchenAid andit worked just fine--this mixture is pretty stiff and I was tripling the recipe). Stir in the chocolate pieces and orange peel. Form mixture into a ball with your hands ; return to the bowl and knead until smooth.

Shape the dough into 1 1/4" balls. Place balls 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a glass dipped in granulated sugar, slightly flatten the ball to about a 1/2" thickness. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, just until the bottoms start to brown. Cool on the cookie sheet for one minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 28 cookies.

According to the recipe, these can be packed in a freezer container and stored for up to one month. Just take out of the freezer and thaw in the container for about 15 minutes before serving.

Those were the two I made yesterday, along with the brownie bites. For those, I made my usual recipe but baked them in the small size muffin tins. When they were about 3/4 of the way baked, I added a small chunk of semisweet chocolate in the centers, then let them finish baking. The only problem I had was getting them out of the pans. They really wanted to stick! I used spray cooking oil on the pans, but wonder if butter would have been better. Any suggestions?

So now my cookies are packed and ready for my trip to Virginia this weekend to bake fruitcakes with my sisters. We'll swap (and probably taste-test!) our cookies too. Can't wait for the fun to begin!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


storytellermary said...

Oh, the deliciousness! Thanks for sharing the recipes.
Have fun with your sisters!

Sue said...

These look like a couple of recipes I need to try!


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