ILLUSTRATION BY KATE BIZER
Try these holiday cookie recipes at your houseSnicker Doodle By Patti Smith 1 cup shortening 1.5 cups sugar 2 eggs 2 teaspoons cream of tartar 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 2 ¾ cups flour 2 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons of cinnamon Mix shortening, eggs and sugar. Then mix the dry ingredients except the two tablespoons of sugar and two teaspoons of cinnamon; combine. My batter tends to be a little dry, so I often put in a dash of Half & Half to moisten it up. Roll into balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and put on a cookie sheet that has been greased or, in my case, has parchment paper on it. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Don’t panic when you see them puff up and then flatten out; it’s all part of the charm.
Apricot Ginger-Almond Sandwich Cookies By Brian Steinberg 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 ¼ cups slivered almonds 1 cup sugar 2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled 1 teaspoon almond extract ½ cup apricot jam ¼ inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor, add one cup of flour and the almonds and process for about a minute. Add ½ cup of sugar and the rest of the flour and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse to form dough. Do not over mix. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of ¼ inch and cut into two-inch rounds. Roll the remaining dough and cut out rounds. Bake for about 15 minutes. To make the sandwiches, combine the jam with the ginger. Spoon out a teaspoon of jam between two cookies and coat with the rest of the sugar while the cookies are still warm.
Pecan Snowdrops By Sarah Smalheer 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature ½ cup confectioner’s sugar 2 cups all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon water 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 ½ cups chopped pecans Cream the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the flour and salt and combine. Add water, nuts and vanilla and combine. Chill dough for an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pinch off wads of dough and roll into balls approximately one inch across. Arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Prepare a small bowl of powdered sugar. Roll the cookies in the sugar once while still warm, allow to cool completely and roll again.
Chocolate Matzo: Not just for Chanukah By Brian Steinberg 4-6 sheets of matzo (Yehuda brand preferred) 2-3 bars 4 oz Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate, 60 percent ½ cup toasted almonds, walnuts and/or hazelnuts A few pinches of kosher salt Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with tin foil. Chop the chocolate. Toast almonds in oven or toaster oven for about 10-15 minutes. Make sure not to burn the nuts. Chop the nuts and set aside. Sprinkle the chocolate over the matzo and bake in the oven for two to three minutes, just until the chocolate melts. Spread the chocolate with a rubber spatula over the matzo to create a smooth layer. Sprinkle on almonds and a small pinch of salt while the chocolate is still melted, so it sticks. Let it sit in a cool place. Break into smaller pieces and serve, or for fun pass around a full sheet and have guest break off their own piece. Present in a decorative wrap or a cookie tin.
To learn more: MichLadyFoodBloggers Patti Smiths Blog: palateofpatti.wordpress.com Sarah Smalheer’s blog: unabuonaforchetta.blogspot.com Kate Remen-Wait’s blog: 4obsessions.blogspot.com Diana Dyer’s website: 365daysofkale.com For favorite holiday cookie recipes by The Voices’s Food Editor, check out http://washtenawvoice.com