COOKIE PARADE

As promised, proof that there are ten kinds (plus fudge) for 2009:

cookies-2009-4.jpg

1: Linzer Cookies – recipe from the King Arthur Flour website, this year with almond meal and using cherry preserves instead of raspberry. We used the smallest snowflake shape to make the center hole. The dough is very delicate and is best rolled out between waxed paper, with the center holes being cut after the cookie has been placed on a baking parchment covered cookie sheet. These really are best the day of making because the cookies tend to absorb moisture from the filling. They’re still very good, but they are softer and more cake-like if kept.

2. Light Spice Rolled Cookies –another from King Arthur (their cookie recipes are uniformly excellent). The only substitution I made was to use 1/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder in place of ground cloves. (I don’t like a strong clove flavor). I used the cookie roller described in the last post. Aside from the advice posted there, I strongly suggest very lightly dusting the top of the dough with flour before trying to use the embossed roller, and using the roller without the handle. Cookies are light and crisp, not too sweet. Overall, this is an excellent ginger/spice tea biscuit, worth doing again. (This dough can also be rolled thin and cut out with conventional cutters if you don’t have the roller.)

3. Classic Peanut Butter Cookies – this one is from our circa 1970s copy of Joy of Cooking. We usually use crunchy peanut butter instead of smooth because it makes a better texture, but this year Younger Daughter has braces on her teeth and crunchy is banned for the duration. For decoration instead of the standard fork-tine checkerboard on top we use a cookie stamp, just because we have it. Peanut butter cookies tend to be moist and oily and keep a long time. They’re usually the second cookie we make in our march towards our requisite 10 types.

4. Buffalo Bourbon Balls – This is a standard no-bake cookie recipe that starts with ground store bought vanilla wafers, cocoa, and ground pecans. Ours comes from a version published in one of the Buffalo NY newspapers some time in the early 1960s. I’ve posted it before, but the recipe appears to have gone the way of all things so it’s repeated at the end of this post. We switched to using rum a few years ago, and prefer the results. Rum or bourbon, cookies also benefit from being made at least two weeks in advance so that the spirits mellow out. They’re always the first cookie we make each year because they keep so well.

5. Sugar Cookie Cutouts – this year in snowflake and holly leaf shapes only. Another classic cookie. This one is “Rich Rolled Cookies” also from our old Joy of Cooking. Our variant is to add a couple of drops of lemon extract to the batter, and to make the icing by using just enough lemon juice to make confectioner’s sugar spreadable, then dividing it into several smaller quantities, each tinted with food coloring. This icing hardens up nicely and if the cookies are left spread out after painting until they’re firm to the touch, will not cake up in the tin.

6. Chocolate Chip – our version of the official Toll House cookie recipe, although I do admit we splurge and use Ghirardelli semisweet chips and lots of broken pecans for an over the top touch.

7. Chocolate Crinkles – In this house they’re called Earthquakes because of all the fault lines. I alternate between the King Arthur Flour version, and a very similar cookie recipe from a clipping sent to me by long time pal Kathryn (Hi, Kathyn!). The King Arthur version is smack-you-in-the-face-with-chocolate, but the other one has a better texture and is less candy-sweet.

8. Pecan Sandies – Another recipe with Buffalo heritage, this one is an heirloom from my husband’s extended family. My variant is to sort through the bag of pecans and set aside the unbroken halves, then grind the bits to add to the batter. The pretty halves get dunked in water and pressed on the cookie tops just before baking. As you can see I’ve gotten a little better at shaping them over the years.

9. Easy Fudge – the condensed milk version. Super easy to make and a great way to use up leftover nuts from the other cookies. This year’s was bittersweet chocolate and walnuts. I repeated using the silicon oval baking forms to shape the pieces. Much neater and more uniform than the pat it into a pan and slice method.

10. Tatte Date Nut Rolls – recipe from the Boston Globe. This one was new this year. Preparation was very easy with a klutz-avoid rating of only 2 out of 10. The dough was well behaved, rich tasting dough and yummy date/walnut filling. Although it doesn’t look like there’s a ton of filling while the cookies are being made, the proportion of filling:cookie at the end is perfect. This is a keeper, but it’s not my ideal Christmas cookie. They taste fantastic, and would be the star of any holiday buffet, but they’re too delicate for plonking into cookie-share boxes, and like most fine pastry they do not keep especially long. (I’m thinking of all sorts of other fillings and will make this again for a dinner party, for sure.)

11. Oysters. My own invention. A hazelnut spritz sandwich cookie with a rich chocolate filling. It turns out that Younger Daughter is a dead-eye ace with the cookie press. She formed all of these this year. One caution – use one of the simple cookie press dies. The fancy shapes with small or narrow openings will not work. The ground hazelnuts will clog them and you’ll get the haphazard odd shapes that prompted this cookie’s name.

Buffalo Bourbon Balls

Adapted from the women’s pages of a Buffalo newspaper from the 1960s. Best if made at least two weeks in advance and allowed to mellow in a cookie tin.

Ingredients for cookies

1 12-oz. box

Store bought vanilla wafer cookies

2 cups

Confectioner’s sugar

1 cup

Finely chopped pecans

cup

Cocoa

cup

Rum

cup

Light corn syrup
Powdered sugar or cocoa or a mix of the two to rolls the balls in

Special equipment

Food processor

Directions:

1. Using food processor, grind cookies to powder. Remove from processor.

2. Using food processor, grind nuts finely. Add to cookie crumbs.

3. Sift sugar and cocoa together into crumb/nut mix.

4. Stir in rum and corn syrup. (Clean-up hint – measure the half cup rum into glass measuring cup, add light corn syrup to same cup until total volume equals 3/4 cup. Mix the two together in the measuring cup, then pour mix into dry ingredients. Much easier than trying to measure sticky syrup by itself). Keep stirring wet into dry ingredients until everything is combined (this may take a while).

5. Form into inch balls. Roll in confectioners sugar or a mix of cocoa and confectioners sugar to coat.

6. Store in a tightly covered container. Makes about 40-50 cookies, depending on size.

Variants: Use rum instead of bourbon. Walnut/Bourbon is a good combo. Use almonds and Amaretto; hazelnuts and Frangelica; or almonds and Chambord, Kirsch or other cherry or berry liqueur.


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One response

  1. Nom nom nom… I do approve of this entry.

    I think the date-nut things are actually kind of good because they’re cakey. I like how they taste slightly doughy. It’s different, considering we usually favor little crunchy-chewy bits of deliciousness. I say we make these again, even if we make them some other time.

    (I also love dates. Mmmm…)

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