New Castle News

Lugene Hudson

December 16, 2011

Culinary Conversation: Still baking? Two new cookies to try

NEW CASTLE — The envelope, return address and letterhead all reflected the spirit of the season.

On paper adorned with Christmas trees, Helen Martin of New Castle penned a lovely note sending along holiday cheer and included some cookie recipes she has tried and loved.

“I found them to be delicious,” Helen wrote of the shortbread cookies and rum nut butter balls.

For those who are still baking, these sound like a pair to add to the cookie tray.

Thanks, Helen.

Meanwhile, as we make our lists for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals, there’s a tendency to forget about Christmas morning breakfast after the gifts are all unwrapped.

Who wants to spend lots of time on that routine?

Ideas need to be easy, convenient and quick.

One uses frozen bread dough. As the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, would say, “How easy is that?”

And to follow in that theme of questioning, who doesn’t love muffins?

Finally, to provide a wonderful aroma throughout your home, a concoction for a holiday scent rounds out this week’s selections.

Shortbread Cookies

  • 1/2 pound butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, blend butter and sugar until creamy, then add the cornstarch and mix well until smooth.

Gradually add in the flour until the dough starts to hold its shape and is easy to roll out to 1/4-inch thickness.

Cut into any shapes you desire and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes until the cookies are golden brown. Cool on a rack, then ice or enjoy plain.

For the icing:

  • 1 pound confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 ounces hot water
  • 1 ounce corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Place in a double boiler to heat slightly or use a microwave on low power until warm. Divide the icing and tint with food colorings, then ice the cookies.

Rum Nut Butter Balls

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Lugene Hudson
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