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  • Readers' Holiday Cookie Recipes

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  • A delicious was to say “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays” is by sharing your favorite cookie recipes with family and friends. Your special family tradition cookie recipe is the highlight of the holidays for your family and friends. Here are some suggestions to help make that cookie special.
    To obtain the best flavor from these homemade treats use the best quality products that your budget can afford. Butter will definitely give more flavor to a cookie rather than margarine. When the recipe calls for softened butter, don’t let the butter get too soft or the dough will not hold its shape. In many cases refrigerating the cookie dough overnight will add more flavor and make the dough more pliable. 
    The ingredients should be fresh. Buy new, unbleached all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and other spices. If you can’t smell the spice when you open the container then the spice is too old and stale, buy new spices for best flavor. I also like to use large eggs for my recipes.               
    Cookie dough may be made days or weeks in advance and frozen before using. Freezing will give a nice texture to the cookie dough. You can form drop cookie dough into balls and freeze. These balls can be baked from the frozen stage, by adding a few minutes to the baking time.
    Over-mixing the cookie dough will make the cookies tough and hard. Make sure to follow the recipe exactly as stated. Using parchment paper for the cookie sheets helps to remove cookies easily without breaking off the lightly browned edges. Use a sturdy sheet pan to bake on. Make sure not to let the parchment paper overlap the edges, cut paper to fit the pan, because paper edges may cause a fire in the oven. Put cookie dough on cold cookie sheets so cookies won’t spread and lose their shape.
    When using peanut butter for your recipe, spray your tablespoon with cooking spray for easy release onto baking sheets.
    When rolling cookies, roll the dough between sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap to prevent sticking or tearing. Place the rolling pin in the center of the dough, and roll outward with soft strokes. Coat hands with cooking spray before handling the dough to prevent it from sticking.
    When baking many batches of cookies, spoon the dough onto sheets of parchment paper, assembly-line fashion. Then slide each batch onto a baking sheet when ready to bake.  Using parchment paper eliminates the need to grease the baking sheets.
    Use shiny, heavy aluminum baking sheets.  Dark sheets may absorb heat, causing cookies to brown too much on the bottom. Non-stick baking sheets work well if they are not too dark. Insulated baking sheets require a slightly longer baking time.
    Page 2 of 7 - Remove cookies from the oven before they are completely done. They continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes after you remove them from the oven. When just slightly golden on the edges is the best time to take cookies out of the oven. Do not open oven door until you’re ready to remove the cookies. Remove cookies from the pan and the parchment paper when they have cooled then cool them some more on wire racks.
     
    Irish Potato Candy
    Submitted by Maureen Quinn
    Servings: about 3 dozen
    ½ stick Butter, softened
    6 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    16 ounces confectioners’ sugar
    2 ½ cups coconut flakes
    1/8 cup granulated sugar
    1/8 cup ground cinnamon
    Cream butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl. Mix in vanilla and confectioners sugar. After these are blended, blend in the coconut.
    Refrigerate for at least two hours. Blend sugar and cinnamon and spread on wax paper or aluminum foil. Roll dough into balls about the size of a walnut and roll in the cinnamon mixture until well coated. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours until the outside is firm and crunchy.
     
    Candy Brickle
    ¾ cup sugar
    2 sticks butter
    Saltine crackers (one sleeve for 9-by-13 pan)
    1 small bag milk chocolate chips
    ½ small bag toffee bits
    Line cookie sheet with foil, covering edges to keep mixture from running under the foil. Spray with Pam. Spread with saltine crackers.
    In a saucepan combine sugar and butter. Bring to a boil and boil or 3 minutes. Pour over crackers and spread to coat. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes or until lightly browned.
    Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. After one minute, spread chips to coat crackers. Sprinkle with toffee bits. Freeze for one hour and break into pieces.
     
    Chocolate Mint Cookies
    ¾ cup butter
    1 ½ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
    2 tablespoons water
    1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
    2 large eggs
    2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 pound green chocolate mint wafers
    Beat butter, sugar and water in a large heavy saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Add chocolate chips and cook, stirring until partially melted. Remove from heat and continue stirring until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into a large mixer bowl and let stand about 10 minutes to cool slightly. With mixer at medium speed, beat in eggs one at a time. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, beating just until blended. Refrigerate about one hour.
    Page 3 of 7 - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil. Roll teaspoonful of dough into balls, place about 2-inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place mint on each hot cookie, and then swirl over cookies to frost. Decorate with shaved mint wafers, if desired. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 80 cookies.
     
    Nonna’s Holiday Sugar Cookies
    From the kitchens of Lynda and Carrie Bryan
    In a bowl, combine and cream:
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 cup sugar
    1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
    Add:
    1 Egg
    1 teaspoon water
    Beat until fluffy.
    In another bowl, combine:
    3 cups flour
    1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    Add dry mixture to wet mixture. Divide dough into two large balls, wrap with cellophane and chill for an hour (you and the dough!).
    Heat oven to 375 degrees. Allow dough to soften and then roll out onto a floured surface with a rolling pin. (I like my cookies pretty thin, but if you make them thin, be sure to keep an eye on them while they bake, as they will crisp more quickly.)
    Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut out your shapes and place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 6 to 8 minutes.
    Icing (measure at your own risk):
    Powdered sugar
    Evaporated Milk
    Almond Extract
    Food coloring
    Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar. Add evaporated milk until desired thickness. Add a few (too many) drops of almond extract to taste. Add food coloring. Spread onto cookie using a spoon. Icing will harden in minutes.
    • For Christmas, we use trees, snowmen and Santa cutters. For Valentine’s Day, we cut hearts and paint on pink and red icing. And for Halloween, we cut pumpkins, paint them orange (for a special touch, paint on green stems) and place a candy corn on the cookie for a nose, and chocolate chip morsels for eyes.
     
    Orange Cookie with Chocolate Glaze
    ¾ cup butter, softened
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    ½ teaspoon almond flavoring
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
    2 tablespoons finely shredded orange peel
    ¼ cup sugar
    Chocolate Glaze:
    1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
    ¼ cup butter
    3 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
    In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed
    for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup sugar; beat until combined. Beat in egg, vanilla, almond flavoring, baking powder, and salt until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Then stir in any remaining flour and orange peel.
    Page 4 of 7 - Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in the ¼-cup sugar to coat.
    Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Use the bottom of a glass to flatten each ball to ¼-inch thickness.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
    Dip each cooled cookie halfway into Chocolate Glaze. Place cookies on a large waxed paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate about 15 minutes or until chocolate is set. To store, layer between sheets of waxed paper in airtight container. Store in refrigerator up to 3 days or un-dipped cookies up to 3 months. Makes 50 cookies.
     
    Oatmeal-Raisin-Chocolate Chip Cookies
    ¾ cup shortening
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 large egg
    ¼ cup water
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    3 cups oats
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup dark raisins
    1 6-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
    In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat butter and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla, and then add water. On low speed gradually beat in flour mixture just until blended. With a spoon stir in oats, raisins, and chocolate chips.
    Drop by heaping tablespoons, 2-inches apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet. Bake cookies 12 to 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
     
    Brownie-Hazelnut Cookies
    12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
    ½ cup all-purpose flour
    ¼ teaspoon baking powder
    Pinch of salt
    6 tablespoons butter, softened
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    ½ cup brown sugar, packed
    3 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    ½ -1 cup hazel nuts, coarsely chopped
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over, not in, a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted, then let it cool.
    In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined. With mixer on low, alternately beat in chocolate and flour mixture, mix just until combined. Do not over-mix. Fold in coarsely chopped hazel nuts.
    Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, about 2-inches apart onto 2-parhcment lined baking sheets. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cookie comes out clean, about 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool. Makes about 3 dozen.
     
    Easy Peppermint Brownies
    1 package of your favorite brownie mix
    Page 5 of 7 - ½ cup Andes peppermint chocolate wafers, coarsely chopped
    Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Before placing in 350-degree oven evenly stir in crumbled Andes peppermint chocolate wafers. Then bake as usual. Cut into small squares. 
     
    Snicker Doodles
    This recipe can be doubled to make 4-dozen cookies.
    ½ cupbutter, softened
    1 cup granulated sugar
    ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
    1 egg
    ½ teaspoon vanilla
    1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    In a medium mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1-cup sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, occasionally scraping sides of bowl. Beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1-hour.
    In a small mixing bowl combine the 2-tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in the sugar-cinnamon mixture to coat. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool. Makes about 36 cookies.
     
    Coconut and Oatmeal Cookies
    Here’s a nice recipe for children to make with you.
    ¼ cup butter, softened
    ¼ cup shortening
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    Pinch of salt
    1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
    ½ cup crispy rice cereal
    ½ cup uncooked regular oats
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer, until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Add egg and vanilla, beating well.
    Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in coconut, oats and rice cereal.
    Drop cookie dough by heaping teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden. Let cookies cool slightly on baking sheets, remove to wire racks to cool completely.
     
    Ginger Bread Cookies
    These gingerbread cookies have an added ingredient of vinegar to help mellow the flavors.
    5 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1 cup shortening
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 egg, room temperature
    Page 6 of 7 - 1 cup molasses
    2 tablespoons white vinegar
    Decorating icing (optional)
    In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
    In another large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar with an electric mixer until well combined. Add egg, molasses, and vinegar, beating well.
    Add flour mixture; beat until combined. Stir in any remaining flour by hand. Divide dough in half; wrap in plastic. Chill 3 hours or until easy to roll.           
    On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of the dough at a time to 1/8-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters dipped in flour, cut into desired shapes. Place 1-inch apart on greased cookie sheets.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 5 to 6 minutes or until edges are just firm. Remove from oven. Cool on cookie sheet 1-minute; transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.  Decorate with prepared decorating icing, if desired. Makes about 70 three-inch cookies.
     
    Butter Cookies and Cherries                 
    ¾ cup butter, softened
    ¼ cup shortening
    ½ cup sugar
    1 teaspoon almond extract
    ½ teaspoon salt
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    24 maraschino cherries (about one half of a 10-ounce jar)
    In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in almond extract and salt until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour; continue stirring until dough comes together, or use your hands to knead dough, if necessary.
    Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls about 1- inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Press your thumb into the center of each ball. Drain maraschino cherries. Pat cherries dry with paper towels, then cut each cherry in half. Place a cherry half, cut side down, in the indentation of each cookie.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.
     
    Lemon Oat Lacies
    Submitted by Doris Buscher (In her memory)
    1 cup soft butter
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 ½ cups oatmeal
    1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon rind
    ½ teaspoon vanilla
    Confectioners’ sugar
    With an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add remaining ingredients, except confectioners’ sugar. Chill for 30 minutes. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with bottom of glass dipped in confectioners’ sugar. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes until edges are a light golden brown. Don’t place cookies to close together as they spread a lot.
    Page 7 of 7 -  
    White Chocolate-Orange Dream Cookies
    1 cup butter or margarine, softened
    2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg
    1 tablespoon grated orange zest
    2 teaspoons orange extract
    2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
    ¾ teaspoon baking soda
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 12-ounce package white chocolate chips
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg, orange zest, and orange extract, beating until blended.
    In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add sugar mixture, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir in chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
     
    Pecan Dainties from Diamond
    ½ cup butter
    ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup finely chopped Diamond pecans
    Thoroughly mix butter, sugar and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour and pecans. Chill. Shape into marble-size balls. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes or until firm but not brown. Roll gently in powdered sugar. Cool; sugar again.  Makes about 50 cookies.
     
     
    Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.
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