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Holiday cookies with twist
Time to mix up your holiday baking traditions. We asked three aficionados to put a new ingredient or two into their favorite holiday cookie recipes.

By AMY SIEWERT
Photos by Dan Bishop
Styling by Pam Stanseu
Ornaments created by Erich Moraine

December 2013

No more gingerbread men! The Gingerbread Drop gives you the warm, spicy gingerbread cookie taste in a soft cookie that has lots of depth and texture. The unexpected taste of the cream cheese frosting and peppermint will make folks wonder why anyone would go to the effort of making those gingerbread men ever again. "They are a simple cookie to make, stay soft and delicious for a long time," says Tracey Catarozoli, owner of Sally’s Sweet Shoppe.

Gingerbread Drop Cookies
Sally's Sweet Shop, Genesee Depot

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1 egg

1 cup crushed peppermint candies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake eight to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown.

When cooled, frost with slightly melted cream cheese frosting (store-bought or homemade) and then top each cookie with crushed candy canes (before frosting sets/cools again).

 

Pecan Chambord Shortbread
Sweet Perfections Bake Shoppe, Waukesha

"The Pecan Chambord Shortbreads have been a family favorite for generations," say the Ken and Peggy Heil of Sweet Perfections. The pecans in these shortbreads are double roasted to maximize their earthy aroma. Then they are hand-dipped in a special blend of Chambord laced Chocolate from Belgium. "Grandma would be very proud of where we took the flavor profile on this classic."

1 cup butter

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups flour

2 cups pecans, chopped

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon water

Milk chocolate coating flavored with raspberry

Cream butter and sugar, then add remaining ingredients to blend. Roll out to 1/4-inch thick and cut desired size with cookie cutter. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 25 minutes or until golden. When cooled, half dip in melted flavored chocolate.

The classic red and white dessert becomes a cookie. "They are a complete play on the cake that everyone loves so much, especially during the holidays with its fun red and white colors," Catarozoli says. The cookie recipe includes nearly every ingredient as the classic red velvet cake recipe. "Your batch will be different looking depending on how much red color you add and how dark the cocoa is that you use," Catarozoli says. For an additional festive touch, add white and green chocolate chips to the cookie.

Preparation Tip: Use a small ice cream scoop to make balls that can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen until needed. Just before baking you can roll the cookie in sugar to give it a crackle look.

Red Velvet/White Chocolate Cookies
Sally's Sweet Shoppe

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup white chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the red food coloring and mix to combine well. Add buttermilk and mix to combine.

Combine the flour, soda, salt and cocoa powder and slowly incorporate into wet ingredients. Mix in the white chocolate chips.

Drop dough onto lightly greased, silpat-lined or parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Tropical Almond Crescents
Sweet Perfections Bake Shoppe

The Tropical Almond Crescents are nothing like your typical holiday crescent cookie. "These beauties have a unique infusion of almond paste and fresh mango preserves, then to add a bit of sweet, they are bottom dipped in our Tropical White Chocolate," say the Heils, owners of Sweet Perfections. Definitely a new holiday favorite, hands down.

2 cups butter

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 cups almonds, crushed

5 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Almond paste, softened

Mango preserves

White chocolate coating with mango flavor

Cream butter and sugar, then add remaining ingredients to form a dough. Divide into 1-ounce portions. Form into crescent shape, make cut into top of crescent, pipe small amount of almond paste and mango into cut. Bake at 325 degrees until golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. When cooled, dip in flavored white chocolate coating.

Pecan Cookie Trio
Melody’s Cookies, Oak Creek

"The Cinnamon Pecan, Coconut and Chocolate Pecan cookies have far out-sold our other holiday cookies. These cookies continue to be our No. 1 seller," says Judy Baggenstoss of Melody’s Cookies.

Cinnamon Pecan Cookies

1 cup shortening 1 1/4 cups powder sugar

1/2 cup pecan meal

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

Combine shortening, sugar and vanilla. In another bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and add to creamed mixture. Stir in pecans. Mix well. Drop by spoonfuls or shape dough. Bake on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Coconut Pecan Cookies

1 cup shortening

1 1/4 cups powder sugar

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups patent flour

Cream sugar, shortening, flaked coconut and vanilla. Combine salt, baking powder and flour. Mix until dough is incorporated. Drop by spoonfuls on baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

1 cup shortening

1 1/4 cups powder sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup pecan meal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups patent flour

Cream shortening, sugar and cocoa powder, add pecan meal and vanilla. Combine baking powder, patent flour and salt. Mix well. Drop by spoonfuls on baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. 

 

 


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