Sweet delights are in season
ONA — Just as a tree with its glittering lights and tinsel or Santa Claus sitting in his sleigh while pulled by his reindeer, baking cookies is as much a Christmas tradition as any part of the season. In fact, it just wouldn’t be the same without them whether it be just for your own household, for a cookie exchange/swap, sending to U.S. soldiers or using as a treat for Santa on Christmas Eve.Some of my most treasured memories with nieces and great-nephews have been in the kitchen using holiday cut-outs for different shapes and sizes after assisting with mixing up the dough, watching their excitement as they look into the oven and see what they have accomplished.
Gingerbread, sugar, pecan shortbread, peppermint, chocolate chip, oatmeal or other favorites such as the following ones provided by Taste of Home. They all play a special part in this special season in every state and/or country.
MOM’S LEMON SUGAR COOKIES
1 cup butter, softened2 cups sugar2 large eggs2 teaspoons grated lemon peel2 teaspoons lemon extract4 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon salt1 cup buttermilk
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon peel and extract. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Cover; refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop dough by tablespoonsful 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned, 7-10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
CRANBERRY NUT SWIRLS
½ cup butter, softened¾ cup sugar1 large egg1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 ½ cups all-purpose flour¼ teaspoon baking powder¼ teaspoon salt½ cup finely ground cranberries½ cup finely chopped walnuts1 tablespoon grated orange zest3 tablespoons brown sugar2 teaspoons milk
Combine butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping bowl occasionally. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture, beating well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Combine cranberries, walnuts and orange zest; set aside. On lightly-floured surface, roll dough into 10-inch square. Combine brown sugar and milk; brush over dough. Sprinkle with cranberry mixture to within ½ inch of edges. Roll up tightly, jelly-roll style. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate until firm, several hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap; cut dough crosswise into ¼-inch slices. Place slices 2 inches part on well-greased baking sheets. Bake until edges are light brown, 14-15 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
ICED COCONUT CRESCENTS
½ cup butter, softened¾ cup sugar3 eggs½ cup orange juice1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract3 cups all-purpose flour3 teaspoons baking powder1 2/3 cups flaked coconut
2 cups confectioners’ sugar¼ cup 2 percent milkAssorted sprinkles of choice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, orange juice and vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in coconut. Shape tablespoonsful of dough into crescent shapes. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute before removing to wire racks to cool. In small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk. Decorate as desired with icing and sprinkles. Let stand until set.
CHOCOLATE-DIPPED ORANGE COOKIES
1 cup butter, softened½ cup confectioners’ sugar1 teaspoon grated orange peel1 teaspoon orange extract2 cups all-purpose flour¼ teaspoon salt6 ounces dark chocolate candy coating½ cup chopped almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in orange peel and extract. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough into 36 pieces; shape each into 1 ½-inch rope. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. In microwave, melt candy coating; stir until smooth Dip ends of cookies in coating; allow excess to drip off. Sprinkle with almonds. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set. Store in airtight container.
FUDGE BONBON COOKIES
2 cups all-purpose flour½ cup finely chopped pecans2 cups semisweet chocolate chips¼ cup butter, cubed1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 (12-ounce) package milk chocolate kisses2 ounces white baking chocolate1 teaspoon canola oil
In large bowl, combine flour and pecans; set aside. In microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter; stir until smooth. Stir in milk and vanilla until blended. Add to flour mixture and mix well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When dough is cool enough to handle, shape tablespoonful around each chocolate kiss. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 7-9 minutes or until tops begin to crack. Cool on wire racks. In microwave, melt white chocolate and oil; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.