Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa's Cookies

A guest post from Finn the Cooking Assistant (aka the dog picker)

Happy Holidays!

There's always something magical about cookie season.  Mainly it's the cookies, if I can put it bluntly. 

In addition to posting our favorite "Santa" bribe cookie, I've gathered 10 more cookie recipes, just in case you don't want to make roll out cookies.  But come on--once a year, make a few cut out cookies.

I thought we'd be baking a new recipe from this old book that came from the library.  I mentioned it in last week's post and from gingerbread brownies, to simple sandies, to anise hazelnut teacakes, I haven't stopped drooling since I first sniffed butter on these pages.  But the truth is-- if  you have a special occasion favorite family cookie recipe, the human sentimental factor wins every time.  Management has made these cookies long before I came to this house, so they're the cookies that always get made.

But whether you choose recipes from a book, blog or use traditional recipes like we do, make sure you have all the ingredients gathered first.  

For local food lovers, check farmers' markets or natural food stores like Marlene's Market and Deli, for local flour, nuts, butter, eggs and dried fruits.   And while most recipes in blogs or books list butter, milk or eggs, you can easily make cookies vegan and substitute Earth Balance for butter, coconut, soy or rice milk for milk or cream and egg replacer or mashed banana (use 1/4 cup for each egg).  

Big hint --Never try to use egg substitutes in recipes that list more than three eggs.  Management claims too many substitutes can create hocky puck muffins and cookies--definitely not a crowd pleasing texture for holiday company.

Gather ingredients
Substitute bananas for eggs if you don't eat eggs--1/4 cup mashed banana for every egg.

The original recipe for these cookies came from an old cookie pamphlet.  Every year, Management cranks out at least one batch. And if I'm lucky, the dough will be left unguarded and I can snatch some tasty treats before they hit the oven.

If you use freshly ground flour from locally grown wheat, add a bit more flour to create a stiff dough.

"The best recipes have stains all around them and the page is bent or torn  from overuse." 

Here's the prize winning recipe:

Ethel's Sugar Cookies
(Makes about 45 cookies, assorted shapes)
Make the dough for these cookies a day ahead.  Then invite other people to join the cookie cutting fun.  You can decorate these with a simple frosting, or you can use sprinkles and mini chocolate chips, but it's find if you like them plain and unfrosted.

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup butter or Earth Balance
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten or egg replacer for 2 eggs

1. Combine the flour, baking powder and sea salt in a large bowl.   Blend well.  In another bowl blend the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs or egg replacer.  Combine these two mixtures.  The dough should be very stiff to touch.  If it isn't add a little more flour, then gather the dough into a ball and refrigerate for at least an hour.

2. Preheat oven to 400F.  Roll out to 1/8-inch thick.  Cut into desired shapes.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Sprinkle with colored candy sprinkles or wait and decorate with icing when cool.

3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes.

Just in case you think Santa wants something different, I've gathered ten cool possibilities from the internet.

1. Crisp lemon-sugar cookies--these are a lot like the cookies above only lemon.

Cut them in rounds or seasonal shapes. 

3.  Toffee cookies--not for canines since this one contains chocolate, but anything with nuts has got to be good, right?

4. Cinnamon Sugared Walnuts--you can't go wrong with these healthy ingredients.

5. Samoas Bark--yet another recipe you can't share with your canine friends, but for chocolate lover, it's bound to be a hit.

6.  Strawberry Thumbprint cookies--one of my favorites this is chocolate and vegan, how can you go wrong with this one?

7. Cin-ful (vegan) Sweet Potato Cookies--another sweet vegan cookie recipe I'm sure Santa would love.

8. Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies--dairy-free, cranberries and oats--start preheating your oven for this one!

9. Hazelnut biscotti--this is a well-tested recipe around here.  You can use walnuts, pecans or even macadamia nuts if you want.

And finally:

10. The best peanut butter cookies ever.  Most peanut butter cookies taste more sugary, this recipe has more peanut butter flavor and it never fails to draw comments.  

Whatever you choose to make, set them down low, so Santa or "his helpers" can find them.   

Santa, I can't promise to be good.  Best advice: hurry!

Merry Christmas to all!


Miz Helen said...

Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes with Full Plate Thursday in 2012. Wishing you and your family the very best in 2013.
Happy New Year!
Miz Helen

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Thanks so much for stopping by Miz Helen, I've appreciated all the additions to my menus from Full Plate Thursdays!