Thursday, December 24, 2009

"The Wedding? I’m Here for the Cookies"

I loved this recent New York Times article about the "cookie tables" that are part of wedding traditions in Pittsburgh. Christmas is the one season in which I do a lot of baking. This year I tried some new cookie recipes and revived a few favorites:
  • Molasses Crinkles (see my adaptations in earlier post)
  • Chewy Chocolate Cherry Cookies
  • Pecan Shortbread (see my adaptations in earlier post)
  • Chocolate Wafers (from a more elaborate peppermint sandwich cookie recipe)
  • Almond Cookies (made by pressing balls of basic sugar cookie dough, below, into slivered almonds)
  • Cranberry-Cherry Pinwheels (made with Basic Sugar Cookie dough, below)
  • Filling:
    5 oz. (about 1 1/4 cups) dried cranberries
    1/2 cup sour cherry preserves
    2 T + 1 tsp. sugar
    Process until coarsely pureed. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring to avoid burning, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1/4 tsp almond extract. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

    Assembly & Baking: Remove half the sugar cookie dough (see below) from the refrigerator and roll it out into a rectangle, roughly 12" x 18". Spread half the filling thinly and evenly over the dough, then roll it up into a long cylinder. Freeze until firm.  (Repeat with the rest of the dough.)

    Remove the cylinder from the freezer and slice with a sharp knife into rounds about 1/3" thick. Transfer the slices to a baking sheet, placing them about 2" apart.

    Bake at 375 degrees, one sheet at a time, for about 9-14 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to darken and firm up. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.
  • Basic Sugar Cookies (delicious and versatile!)
  • Mix together:
    1 1/2 sticks butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 large egg
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    (1 tsp. almond extract)
    In a separate bowl, mix:
    2 cups sifted flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    Stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Chill dough until firm. Form as desired and bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden.

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