New Castle News

December 1, 2012

Culinary Conversation: There’s no such thing as too many Christmas cookies

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — To the person who invented the cookie, the world is forever in debt.

The creation of this confection has to be one of the best culinary decisions ever.

Cookies have special appeal to adults and kids.

At Christmas, bakers get out rolling pins, aprons, mixers and spatulas to start the yearly traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

There are so many types — molded, bar, drop, pressed, refrigerator, rolled candy and even no-bakes.

A tin of cookies as a gift can make anyone smile and is always in good taste. Cookie exchanges with family, friends and co-workers bring even more variety to the table.

Cookie baking has started at my house. What about you? This year the repertoire will include lemon tarts, frosted and decorated sugar cookies, jam-filled fold-overs and grandma’s famous marshmallow fudge. I’m undecided about what else to bake.

In this season of sharing, Culinary Conversation would be delighted to hear about your favorites.

My motto is — at Christmas, there can never be too many cookies.

Enjoy the season and pass the cookie tray.



Layered Chocolate

Confections

Chocolate layer:

For chocolate layer, melt the butter and chocolate together; set aside to cool.

Beat eggs, sugar and extract until thick and piled softly. Add cooled chocolate mixture and beat until blended. Stir in flour, then pecans. Turn into a greased 11x7x11⁄2-inch baking pan and spread evenly.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack.

For cream layer, combine cream, butter and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally over low heat until mixture reaches 236 (soft-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; cool, undisturbed to 110 or just cool enough to hold pan on palm of hand. Turn into a small bowl, add brandy and beat until mixture is smooth and creamy. Spread on cooled chocolate layer. Chill slightly until top is firm to the touch. Spread melted chocolate over creamy layer. Chill thoroughly. Cut into 1-inch squares. These work nicely placed in bonbon cups to serve or pack in a gift box.

*A drop or two of food coloring may be added to the cream mixture.



Mount Shasta

Cookies

Cream shortening with extract; add 1⁄2 cup sugar and brown sugar gradually, beating until fluffy. Add egg yolk; beat thoroughly.

Blend flour and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, mixing until blended after each addition. Stir in walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets; flatten slightly. Set aside.

Beat egg white until frothy; add 1⁄2 cup sugar gradually, beating constantly until stiff peaks are formed. Blend in coconut.

Top each cookie round with a teaspoonful of coconut meringue, shaping into a peak.

Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes.



Snowball

Meltaways

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt and heat butter until light brown in color. Pour into a small mixing bowl; chill until firm.

Cream butter with powdered sugar and extract until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour, mixing until blended. Stir in pecans. Chill several hours for ease in handling.

Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Remove to wire racks. While still hot, dust with powdered sugar.

Edinburgh Squares

Blend flour and 1⁄4 cup sugar. Cut in butter until pieces are the size of small peas. Blend in 11⁄2 cups of the grated almonds. Add egg yolks and mix thoroughly.

Shape dough into a ball, kneading lightly with fingertips; put onto an ungreased cookie sheet; roll into a 101⁄2x71⁄2-inch rectangle. Spread evenly with jelly; set aside.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy; gradually add 1⁄4 cup sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks are formed.

Gently fold in cooled chocolate remaining grated almonds; spread evenly over jelly-topped dough.

Bake at 300 for 25 to 30 minutes.

When cool, cut into squares.