There is something magical about seeing a plate of holiday cookies sitting on the kitchen table. I love all the shapes and sizes, the colorful sprinkles or chunks of fruit and chocolate chips. As I move closer, I can smell the wonderful scent of cinnamon or anise and my taste buds start joining in the fun. Depending on the type of cookies I am about to eat, a cup of tea or a glass of milk, is the perfect complement to my joyful journey into decedent bliss. Cookies are a perfect snack. You can limit yourself to just a few or indulge in cookie mania but don't do it too often. Those calories can add up quickly.
At holiday time, it's a good idea to have a basic cookie dough recipe that can be made into many different kinds of cookies depending upon what you add to it. I have one such recipe that has become my favorite. The recipe can be doubled if desired. The ingredients are simple, 1/2 cup of butter, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. You can mix everything in a bowl or put it into the food processor. Start with the butter and sugar, then add the egg, vanilla and salt. Next mix the flour and baking powder together and add to the butter mixture a little at a time until it is totally incorporated. You should have a sticky dough. This dough can be pressed into a greased cookie sheet, I like to use a 15" x 20" cookie sheet to make a very thin, crisp cookie. If you use a smaller sheet, your cookie will be thicker and chewier. The best way to get the dough pressed evenly is to place a piece of plastic wrap on top and then use your fingers first and then a rolling pin to push to dough to the edges of the pan. Once you have an even layer, remove the plastic wrap then you can put some toppings such as crushed nuts or cinnamon and sugar. Lightly press your toppings into the dough so they will bake into the cookie. Just before you place the pan in the oven, use a pizza cutter to score the dough into squares or rectangles. Bake for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees then remove the pan. Make sure your score lines are still visible. If not, use a knife to immediately cut through the lines again so you can break the cookies apart.
The basic recipe works great in a cookie press, too. You can add some flavorings to the dough if you want, my favorite is cinnamon.
For rolled cookies, take the basic recipe and add more flour until you get a dough that is no longer sticky. Roll the dough out to 1/8" thick, cut with various shapes and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake until the cookies are a light golden color.
I have also taken the basic recipe and made it gluten-free so everyone can enjoy these treats. The recipe has some odd ingredients but most of these gluten free flours can be purchased online or at a health food store. In food processor or a bowl, cream 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of sugar. Add one egg, one teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix in 1/4 cup each of coconut flour, millet flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and rice flour. Add 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Press this mixture into a 15" x 20" greased baking sheet then add about 2 cups of finely crushed nuts. Press the nuts into the dough. Score then bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Your friends will love these!
So get your apron on, use your imagination and create some treats for yourself and your loved ones.
I'm Maria Filosa, stay tuned for more Tasty Seasonal Recipes for the Everyday Chef. Have a Bountiful day!