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December 9, 2010
C is for cookie - holiday recipes for any occasion

Since Shop Cheap's talent lies in shopping not baking, we enlisted recipe researcher Sheila Kern to come up with holiday recipes. This week, it's the cookie. Nothing says the holidays quite like fresh-baked cookies or at least the aroma of fresh-baked cookies. Sheila is sharing her favorite recipes that are perfect for any gathering - from cookie exchange to dessert table. Enjoy!

Citrus-Kissed Honey Buttons

From www.eatingwell.com

EatingWell: November/December 2010

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (see Tip)

1 large egg

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

1 teaspoon lemon extract

Directions

Whisk flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a small bowl.

Beat sugar and butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, honey, lemon zest, orange zest and lemon extract, and beat until blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

Roll the dough into 36 balls (about 2 level teaspoons each) with your hands. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake, one batch at a time, until puffed and beginning to crack, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips & Notes

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the dough for up to 1 day. Store cookies airtight for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Equipment: Parchment paper or nonstick baking mats

Tip: To soften butter, let stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. Or cut into small pieces and let stand for about 15 minutes. (Do not soften in a microwave--the uneven heat may melt the butter in spots.)

Nana's Creole Pecan Cake Bars

From www.eatingwell.com

EatingWell: November/December 2010

Yield: 4 dozen bars

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature (see Tip)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3 cups chopped pecans

1 cup raisins, preferably golden

1 cup finely chopped pitted dates

Directions

Preheat oven to 300°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a large (17-by-12-inch) baking sheet with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.

Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Add eggs one at a time and beat until creamy. Add vanilla and beat until combined.

Add half the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until well combined. Add cinnamon and nutmeg; stir until blended into the mixture completely. Add pecans, raisins and dates to the rest of the flour mixture. (Coating the dried fruit and nuts helps distribute them in the mix.) Stir the flour-coated fruit and nuts into the batter. Do not overstir. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared baking pan with a spatula. (Coat the spatula with cooking spray, if necessary, to make spreading easier.)

Bake for 45 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the sides. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Invert onto a large cutting board and remove the parchment. Cut into 48 squares.

Tips & Notes

Make Ahead Tip: Store airtight for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Equipment: 17-by-12-inch baking sheet, parchment paper

Tip: To bring an egg to room temperature, set it on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge it (in the shell) in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.

Coconut Macaroons

From www.foodnetwork.com

Yield: 20 to 22 cookies

Ingredients

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

Hazelnut Crescent Cookies

From www.foodandwine.com

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup confectioners' sugar

3 large egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup blanched, skinned hazelnuts, finely ground

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter with 1/2 cup of the confectioners' sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the egg yolks, vanilla extract and salt and beat at medium-high speed until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the flour and ground hazelnuts at medium speed until just incorporated. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dough for each cookie, roll the dough into 3-inch-long cylinders with tapered ends. Form the cookies into crescents and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 18 minutes, or until light golden. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle.

Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar in a shallow bowl. Dip each warm cookie in the confectioners' sugar and coat evenly. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.

Make Ahead

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

From www.epicurious.com

SELF | December 2008

Yield: makes 35 biscotti

Ingredients

Parchment paper

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 egg whites

1 whole egg

3 tablespoons light butter

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/3 cup shelled pistachios

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon anise seeds

Vegetable oil cooking spray

Directions

Heat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk with a fork to mix. Add eggs and butter and mix on medium until a loose dough forms, about 1 minute. Stir in cranberries, nuts, zest and anise seeds and mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Transfer dough to baking sheet. Spray hands with cooking spray and form dough into a long, flat log, about 14 inches long by 4 inches wide. Bake until outside of log is firm and browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Slice loaf into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices on 2 baking sheets, return to oven and bake until lightly toasted, about 12 minutes. Cool. Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Triple-Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

From www.epicurious.com

Makes about 30 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries

2 ounces milk chocolate or white chocolate, chopped (for drizzling)

Directions

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and oats and stir until blended. Stir in all chocolate chips and cranberries.

Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light brown, about 16 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.

Stir chopped milk chocolate in top of double boiler until melted and smooth. Using small spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over cookies in zigzag pattern. Let stand until milk chocolate sets, about 1 hour. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

From www.verybestbaking.com

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

1/3 cup mild molasses

1 large egg

1 2/3 cups (11-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Butterscotch Flavored Morsels

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in small bowl.

Beat sugar, butter, molasses and egg in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Chocolatey Raspberry Crumb Bars

From www.verybestbaking.com

Makes 36 bars

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided

1 can (14 ounces) CARNATION Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Beat butter in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in flour, sugar and salt until crumbly. With floured fingers, press 1 3/4 cups crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan; reserve remaining mixture.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Microwave 1 cup morsels and sweetened condensed milk in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; Stir. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Spread over hot crust.

Stir nuts into reserved crumb mixture; sprinkle over chocolate filling. Drop teaspoonfuls of raspberry jam over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with remaining morsels.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

From www.find.myrecipes.com

Cooking Light, December 2008

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large egg whites

1 large egg

12 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 2/3 cups)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate mini chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in mini chips. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Teatime Tassies

From www.ifood.tv

Ingredients

1 - 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 cup flour, sifted

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbs. butter or margarine, softened

1 Tsp. vanilla

2/3 cup coarsely broken pecans

1 egg

Directions

Cheese Pastry

Let cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter soften at room temperature.

Blend cream cheese, butter and flour; chill slightly (about 1 hour).

Shape into 2 dozen 1" balls.

Place in tiny ungreased 1 3/4" muffin cups.

Press dough on bottom and sides of cups.

Pecan Filling

Beat together egg, sugar, 1 tbs butter, vanilla and salt just till smooth.

Divide half of the pecans among pastry-lined cups.

Add egg mixture and top with remaining pecans.

Bake in a slow oven, 325 degrees, for 25 minutes or until filling is set.

Cool, remove from pans.

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About Shop Cheap

Pam Dinsmore is The Bee's Community Affairs Director. When she's not working, she's shopping. The goal of this blog is to help you save time and money at the grocery store. She's pretty good at it but she can't do it alone. That's where you come in, sharing your tips and secret methods for saving money. You can either respond to the blog or email her at pdinsmore@sacbee.com

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