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Memories, tradition can be found within the kitchen

November 23, 2018

For many families, a holiday treat table isn't complete without the traditional gingerbread man.

HUNTINGTON — Bake, eat and be merry.

If you’re like most people celebrating the holidays, you are most likely preparing to start holiday baking. And with the popularity of the Christmas cookie assortment, this could be a good time to pull out some time-honored family favorites. Sometimes just one bite of that favorite cookie can spark our childhood memories.

Before you begin baking here are some tips: Always use butter instead of margarine; set butter and eggs out early to bring to room temperature before using; line cookie sheets with parchment paper; and let cookie baking sheet cool before using again or dough will spread and start to bake.

Cookies, in general, are now eaten any time of the day, week and year. They are served for coffee breaks, snacks, desserts and offered as welcoming gifts. But the cookie has its own national day—Dec. 4—to celebrate the baked goodies in all their sugary glory.

Bring out the cookie jar or gift basket to be filled with these recipes:

CREAM CHEESE COOKIES

1 cup margarine or butter, softened

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together butter and cream cheese in large bowl until smooth; stir in sugar and remaining ingredients. Drop by teaspoonful 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees 13-15 minutes or until light brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Variation: To make Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies: Omit grated lemon rind and add 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate morsels. Bake as directed.

HOLLY DOODLES (CHRISTMAS SNICKERDOODLES)

1 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix first three ingredients thoroughly. Blend in remaining ingredients. Stir into shortening mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in red or green-colored sugars for Christmas holly doodles. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees 8-10 minutes. Cookies puff up at first, then flatten out. Remove to wire racks to cool.

OATMEAL CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (6-ounce) package Craisins original dried cranberries

2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using electric mixer, beat first two ingredients together in medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine next four ingredients in separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

CHEWY BUTTERSCOTCH BROWNIES

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups (11-ounce package) butterscotch morsels, divided

1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first three ingredients in medium bowl. Beat next three ingredients in large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 1 cup morsels and nuts. Spread into ungreased 13-by 9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining morsels. Bake 30-40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.

A Christmas goodie platter is incomplete without gingerbread men. This tried-and-true recipe is from “Taste of Home Best Holiday Recipes”:

GINGERBREAD MEN

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup molasses

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

In large bowl, cream first two ingredients until light and fluffy. Add next three ingredients; beat well. Combine remaining ingredients; add to creamed mixture; mix well. Divide dough in half. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until easy to handle. On lightly-floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with floured 4-inch cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Reroll scraps. Bake at 350 degrees 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

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