Monday, December 22, 2008

Gone in 60 Seconds...

...well, not quite. This Saturday I decided to bake Christmas cookies because there really won't be another day I can do it. I love this time of the year--we usually bake Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve; however this year I have to participate in my church's Christmas Eve program, so I will be getting home late on that night and do not want to be up all night baking and wrapping Christmas presents.

Anyway, I had a delicious recipe that I've had ever since I took Home Ec in the 7th grade. The recipe is called 'Party Meringue Cookies', and they are wonderful. Every year, my family asks me to make them, and they're gone almost before they're out of the oven. They're a basic sugar cookie recipe with meringue and red hots on top. Like I said, I've had this recipe since the 7th grade, and it traveled with me as my dad got transferred from pillar to post with the air force. I just recently moved, and cannot find my recipe! I am so broken hearted. Y'all know, I actually wrote the principal of the school to see if she could help (desperate times call for desperate measures, lol).

Since I didn't have my standby recipe, I scoured the Internet for substitutes, and I found some good ones. So good in fact, that they were all gone this morning! I was really hoping they'd last at least a couple of days, but no such luck. Which in my family means they're pretty good; otherwise they would sit there for weeks and grow mold.

Bestest Chewiest Ginger Snaps

I love ginger snaps. I can seriously eat a bag by myself. The thing that I don't like about them is that the ones that I buy are really hard, so when I saw this recipe, I thought I'd give it a try. Boy, am I glad I did.

These cookies are delicious! They smelled so good while baking, and they really are soft and moist. These are now at the top of my list. Just a couple of notes about the recipe: the author recommends refrigerating the dough. I found that I really didn't need to because my butter (I don't use margarine) was fairly cold to begin with. I did soften it up a bit, though. Also, when you're rolling it into balls, it can be a little messy. It also stained my hands a bit, but it came right off.

Lastly, you will have to adjust your cooking time by your own oven. My oven cooks super fast, and I've ended up burning a few things by following the time suggested on recipes. You will be able to smell them baking, and you'll probably have an idea as to when they can come out. The author suggests doubling the recipe, and so do I--they are that good!

Basic, Easy Sugar Cookies

About 10 or 11 years ago, I made some cookies that were basically a sugar cookie, but for half the dough you mixed in ground pistachios, and the other half you used raspberry jam. They were really good, but of course I lost that recipe, too. Anyway, I improvised. I used this basic recipe, but added about 1/3 cu of ground pistachios (I didn't grind too finely--about the consistency of coarse salt grains) and green food coloring to one half of the dough, and 1/4 cu. of raspberry jam and red food coloring to the other. This worked out okay, but I think I used just a bit too much jam. You could probably get away with about a tablespoon or so of it. What I did was put the raspberry dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes, and then when I rolled it out, I made sure the cutting board was floured. For interesting design/taste, I butted the two ends of the dough together and cut them out with cookie cutters. You can do it however you want. I think the taste of the pistachios and raspberries are a good mix, but they taste fine separately, too. The good thing about this recipe is that since it's so basic, you can add any flavorings you want. Something that might be good is maybe almond extract instead of (or even with) the vanilla extract. You could melt chocolate, and dip the baked cookie in the chocolate and then roll in slivered almonds. Hmm, think I might try that.

White Chocolate Bark

This was another recipe that was easy to make. Just a note: the instructions say to basically make an 8x10 template on the back of parchment paper so that you'll have a rectangle. I just eyeballed it--I think it looked more rustic that way. Also, I used less white chocolate (I think Ghiradelli's is 11 oz) and more dried cherries, apricots and cranberries. I also used walnuts and pistachios. If you use pistachios, try and use the ones that are already shelled and ready to go. It's much easier. Also, make sure you press the fruit/nuts into the chocolate a bit; that way once it hardens, you won't lose anything.

I didn't cut this, either. I just broke it into pieces. You do have t work fairly quickly with this because once it hardens, you're done. You can zap it in the microwave for a few seconds, but it'll be best to do that before you add the fruit/nuts. This is somthing I'll try with different types of chocolate, fruit nuts, and maybe pretzels. I love foods that have that salty/sweet combo, and this was perfect. Plus, it has fruit in it, so it's not all bad, lol.

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas holiday.

1 comment:

Well Watered Woman said...

Elaine - can you share the recipes for the cookies with me? They sound so good.