Here’s my cooking list next week:
- bake 2 dozen cookies for Thursday night
- bake 2 dozen cookies for Friday afternoon
- cut and "glue" with royal frosting at least 24 "houses" made out of graham crackers for kindergarteners to decorate
- prepare 1 English dessert trifle for Friday night (see Joy of Baking for a great recipe)
- prepare 1 large dish of roasted vegetables for Friday night
Plus I have to clean the house for guests arriving Thursday, make sure that my son has one clean pair of dress pants without holes in the knees for Thursday night holiday concert, and grocery shop (including a trip to the health food store) for the week. I have two round trips to take to the airport and my usual freelance writing assignments and charter school duties. So what to do?
Cookie baking drives me nuts. First, I live at over a mile high in altitude, so my baking is flakey at best. Then I swear I’m cursed when it comes to cookies. Just see last year’s attempt. However, there were some great recipes for cookies in last week’s Denver Post. I’m very tempted to try the Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread cookies by Barbara Ellis. They sound easy, straightforward, and very, very delicious. So do her Santa’s Bellybuttons cookies.
Worse comes to worse I can buy store-made cookies or use Pillsbury® refrigerated sugar dough. There’s lots of cute cookie projects (like the ones from the US Postal Service’s Christmas postage stamps) on the Pillsbury site, too!
Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies
These are my favorites, the ones I have to make each holiday. They’re also the ones I grab from the cookie tray and devour every time I walk by while ignoring all the rest. They’re another dry cookie, not too sweet, and the combination of chocolate, nuts and buttery cookie is irresistible.
Combine flour, butter, sugar and vanilla; mix well. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets; shape into logs or press into circles using the bottom of a glass dipped in flour. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees (do NOT overbake). Cool on baking sheet 3-5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack until completely cool. Melt chocolate chips and shortening. Dip one end of each cookie into melted chocolate, then roll in nuts. Chill in refrigerator until firm.
Santa’s Belly Buttons
These are a family favorite, a dry cookie with just a hint of sweetness and a satisfyingly crunchy coating. When one friend is invited over for a holiday gathering, she bases her decision on whether I’m making these cookies (and my crab asparagus dip, but that’s another recipe). Fickle woman.
Cream butter, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and salt until fluffy. Stir in flour. Chill about 30 minutes. Shape into 1-inch balls, then dip into egg whites and roll in nuts. Place on greased cookie sheet. Press center with thumb and fill with small amount of preserves. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (do not overbake). Store uncovered so they stay crunchy.
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