Thursday, November 24, 2005

Ultimate SHF & IMBB - Holiday Cookies Swap

It's our anniversary and we have some fun plans for the weekend so I'm posting the Sugar High Friday Cookie post a little early. This month Jennifer of Domestic Goddess has joined forces with Alberto of Il Forno for a holiday special version of SHF & IMBB. It is the season of baking with all the holidays upon us and what a great opportunity to share our cookie recipes. You can check out how to enter here or here

I must admit, when I'm baking, I favor drop cookies - lazy? inept? or just memories of my mother’s always perfect cookies that still intimidate me? – not sure which. But I can’t remember a holiday without my mother baking a million picture perfect cookies and these shortbread with a cherry on top were my favorite.

Well hers were picture perfect, anyway.

And going from one extreme to the standard, make them often, always different Surprise Oatmeal cookies. Besides the oatmeal (and usually chocolate chips for my chocolate addicted family), sometimes you can bite into pecan bits, dried cherries or apricots or raisins or whatever else catches my fancy.

Before I add the recipes though, I HAVE to share my latest purchase. For those of you who visit my site often you know I’m addicted to buying food magazines and books. I’ve never bought a magazine that didn’t have at least a few pages I’ve dog eared and some that seem like half the magazine has pages folded down. But I don’t think I’ve ever bought a magazine where EVERY SINGLE recipe is amazing….until now. Martha Stewart (I know – we love her or hate her) has come out Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies.

There are more than 100 recipes and even the contents page is awesome – I’ve actually included a photo of one of the two double pages so you can see what I mean.

Are they not gorgeous!!! If you’re a cookie person – you have to check it out. I know this sounds like a commercial, but I can assure you I get nothing out of this but the recipes for me and a good feeling about sharing it with all of you.

Now without further ado, here are the recipes for my two cookie submissions…..

Shortbread cookies with a cherry on top
From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Hands-on time: 20-30 minutes
Total baking time: 10-12 minutes
Cooling time: 10 minutes
Makes 4- 4 ½ dozen

1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 egg yolk
¾ cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
maraschino cherries cut in quarters and patted dry

1. Preheat oven to 325°F/170°C.

2. Cream butter and sugar for five minutes. Beat in egg yolk and gradually add flour.

3. Knead dough just until soft and pliable (a minute or so). Do not over knead the dough.

4. Form into balls about the size of the top of your thumb (tip to first knuckle)and flatten with the bottom of a glass*. Press the cherry piece into the center of the cookie.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes in center of oven. The cookies should be dry on top but NOT brown on the bottom.

6. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before storing.

Tips & Variations

**Rub the bottom of the glass over left over flour on the board and shake off the excess before you flatten the ball of dough.

Do not let cookies brown at bottom

Surprise Oatmeal Cookies
From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total Baking time: 15 minutes
Makes 2-3 dozen

½ cup Crisco
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup white sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ tsp vanilla
1 tbsp water
¾ cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1½ cup rolled oats
1¼ cup chocolate chips &/or dried fruit &/or nuts

1. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream Crisco with sugars. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well.

3. Drop dough from a teaspoon onto a lightly greased baking sheet (I just cover the baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil) and bake until barely brown for 12-15 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Tips & Variations

For variety, I like to use dried cranberries or cherries and chopped pecans.

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Joycelyn said...

hi ruth, wonderful wonderful post, as always! i must say i am guilty of snatching up martha's holiday cookie mag as soon as i sighted it, glancing over my shoulder to see if anybody was sniggering...i am severely tempted to buy her new baking handbook too...

mary grimm said...

I just bought the Martha Holiday Cookie mag--and you're so right. There's a forest of orange post-its sticking out of the top.
Also, my mother made a shortbread with cherry cookie very similar to yours--maybe I'll dig it out this year and make some of my own.

Mona said...

I was debating buying this magazine. Now I think I'm just going to have to...your cookie pictures are great!

Anonymous said...

Ruth--Two batches and they both look lovely!

i second your opinion or Martha's magazine, although I haven't baked from it yet. Have you? Eager to get started!

Ruth Daniels said...

Ladies,thanks for dropping by. The magazine is indeed awesome and Lisad, I must admit - so far I've only done the reading. Every recipe looks so gorgeous, it's hard to choose "THE FIRST".

Robyn said...

Ruth those oatmeal cookies look wonderful! I love the portablitlity of oatmeal cookies - they can go with you anywhere! Great post, I almost bought that cookie book, until I realized I had her last one and haven't even opened it yet!

Anonymous said...

I tried your Shortbread Cookies with the Cherries on top & they were very good! Thank's & keep the good recipe's coming.

Ruth Daniels said...

Chronicler, thanks for your kind words and even though you haven't looked at MS earlier book - this one is a magazine and you probably won't be able to buy it for long. But I must admit, I haven't used it yet myself.

Christine, glad you liked the shortbread cookies. Hope you come again soon.