New Castle News

November 25, 2011

Culinary Conversation: It’s now time for Christmas cookies

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — For me, it’s not too early to start baking Christmas cookies.

Thanksgiving is over, so why not?

I’m starting to bake this weekend.

Two special people request one cookie in particular each year. It seems to have sprouted lots of names — pillows, fold-overs and jam-filled cookies. I make them in batches, dividing the fillings between apricot and raspberry preserves and freezing them. This year, I’m still not sure what the rest of the cookie repertoire will be, but I just got some new ideas.

Santa came a little early at my house, bringing a new smartphone. Actually, it was a treat to myself from myself. It’s like a new toy for grown-ups and brings lots of fun applications to play with. Naturally, I headed straight for the cooking sites and found dozens of applications, some of which are free.

I always check the reviews of an application first before downloading it. If there are too many glitches, I stop right there. But when I discovered an app called Recipes and it downloaded smoothly, I was a happy customer.

Already, I am loving this app. It has so many useful components and the novelty of giving voice commands and immediately getting search results is a plus. There’s a home page, which can be adjusted as to color choices, a bookmark feature and categories such as forums and a segment on what’s new.

I went directly for the Christmas cookies.

Each recipe also indicates how many steps it involves, the number of ingredients and shopping lists.

There’s a first for everything so this column is my initial launch using an Android recipe app. It was very different reading off the phone as I typed. What would my grandmother think?

No matter how or where you receive a recipe, it all comes down to enjoyment.

Please share your favorite Christmas cookie or holiday recipe with Culinary Conversation.

Christmas Candy Cane Cookies

Mix together butter, sugar, egg and extracts thoroughly. Stir in flour and salt. Divide dough in half.

Blend red food coloring into one half of the dough. Cover the two pieces of dough and refrigerate for four hours.

Preheat oven to 375.

For each cookie, roll 1 tsp. of dough from each half back and forth on lightly floured surface into 4-inch rope. Place one red and one white rope side by side; press together lightly and twist. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and curve down top of rope to form handle of cane.

Bake 9 minutes. Watch closely as they have a tendency to brown quickly.

Eggnog Cookies

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggnog, nutmeg and soda; mix well. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Chill.

Roll out to 1/8-inch thickness on lightly floured pastry cloth and cut with Christmas cookie cutters. Brush each with slightly beaten egg white and decorate with candied fruit or colored sugar.

Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Makes 6 dozen.

Mocha Walnut Christmas Cookies

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips over hot water or in microwave. Stir until smooth;  cool to room temperature.

In small cup, dissolve coffee in boiling water; set aside.

Combine flour, soda and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, combine butter, sugars and coffee; beat until creamy. Add egg and melted chocolate; mix well. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and walnuts.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.

Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from cookie sheets; cool completely.

Yield: about 24, 3-inch cookies.