The Great Cookie Bakeoff began today. I managed to get four batches baked.
As I wrote last year, the cookies are tightly tied to the season for me. It just isn’t Christmas without them, so even though I’m feeling more than a little behind the holiday eight ball this year, there will be cookies — just not as many as in years past. (Consider yourself warned.)
Deciding which ones to leave out is no easy task. Each variety has its own taste memory. But in the end we agreed Ginger Snaps, Lemon Snowflakes, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Chocolate Chips, Chocolate-Filled Cookies, Cocoa Cookies and Sugar Cookies were all required.
And as in each of the past 16 years, one of each kind will be left for Santa on Christmas Eve.
Over the years, my recipes have been tweaked or changed due to time or diet or whim. Some of them are stalwarts from my childhood, others are new ones we tried and adopted as we learned to go tree nut- and later egg-free in response to Catherine’s allergies.
I miss the Black Walnut Crescents and many of the others my mom used to make, but as with everything else in life, you have to go with the flow.
The house smells amazing, and here’s how the table looks:
Catherine is having a driving lesson with Basil. I have to run spell-check real quick and then start packing these treats before they return. The two of them have already started hording their favorites,
creating finding “broken” or other undesirable ones to pull out of the inventory.
Part II of the baking madness will come next weekend.
Maybe you’d like to try a batch?
1 cup butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup granulated sugar, plus additional for rolling and baking
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs (I use the equivalent of 2 eggs’ worth of Ener-G egg replacer)
1 tsp. lemon extract
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
- Cream butter, sugars and oil in a large bowl. Add eggs and lemon extract; set aside.
- Mix together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
- Stir dry mixture into wet mixture. Form balls the size of a quarter. Roll balls in additional granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet. Flatten with a flat-bottomed glass or jar about 3 inches in diameter. Dip the glass in sugar between cookies to keep dough from sticking to the glass. Find a vase or other cut-crystal container that has a pretty design on the bottom. Press the crystal design onto the flattened dough to make an indentation. Do not press crystal through to the cookie sheet. Remember to dip crystal into sugar between cookies to prevent sticking.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Edges of cookies should not be obviously brown. Makes about 8 dozen.