December 12, 2004

And Since We're Talking Cookies

The kids and I made these sugar cookies (minus the Lifesavers) tonight. They are very tasty and don't require you to refrigerate the dough before you roll it out, which is a big plus if there is an impatient 5 year old or an impatient 29 year old in your family. Penzey's Spice Catalog also has a no-chill sugar cookie recipe, but I think the Kraft recipe tastes better and the dough is easier to work with.

Some time in the next week or so we may make two more favorite cookie recipes -- ginger cookies and chocolate macaroons. The first came from Southern Living and the latter from Martha Stewart, I believe.

Ginger Cookies
makes about 4½ dozen

1½ cups shortening
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup molasses
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine first 9 ingredients (everything except additional sugar) in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until mixture is blended.
Shape into 1-inch balls, and roll in additional sugar. Place on greased cookie sheets, and flatten slightly with a flat-bottomed glass.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Chocolate Chunk Macaroons
makes 20

¾ cup sugar
2½ cups shredded coconut
2 large egg whites
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of table salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Have ready a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (not wax paper). In a large bowl, combine sugar, coconut, egg whites, chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Using hands, mix well, completely combining ingredients.
Dampen hands with cold water. Form 1½ tablespoons of mixture into loose haystack shape; place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Here are the recipes I used:

Sugar Cookies
Makes about 16 large cookies or thirty 2 1/2-inch cookies

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. 2. Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs. 3. Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla or lemon juice and zest. Wrap dough in plastic; chill for about 30 minutes. 4. Preheat oven to 325°. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets; refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes. Remove from refrigerator, and decorate with sanding sugar, if desired. Bake until edges just start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks. May be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Basic Gingerbread Cookies
Makes about 24 six-inch gingerbread people

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves
1 ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
1 cup molasses

1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. 2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture; combine on low speed. Divide dough in thirds, and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour. 3. Heat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with Silpats (a French nonstick baking mat). Set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut into gingerbread people shapes. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. 4. Cut out desired decorations and place on cookies. Press currants into dough to create eyes and buttons. To create hair, roll a piece of dough into a ball and pass through a clean garlic press. Attach hair to heads. Bake until crisp, but not darkened for about 20 minutes. Let cookies cool on wire racks. 5. Decorate with royal icing.
Note: When making very large cookies, use two spatulas to transfer cutout dough to baking sheets, or roll dough directly onto the baking sheet. Press cutter into the dough, and remove the excess before taking away the cutter.

Posted by: Blair at December 12, 2004 11:31 PM