Thursday, December 17, 2015

When You Need Cookies for a Cookie Exchange

It's the most wonderful time of the year . . . when we eat cookies for dinner!

I confess, I didn't plan to have cookies for dinner.  I was having tea at 3:30 with colleagues and friends, and someone had brought a huge container of cookies that they'd gotten at a cookie swap.  I grabbed a few, and after tea, life got hectic, and I never actually had dinner.

I know that many of us are living these kinds of lives these days.  Maybe we have cookie swaps to attend.  Maybe we need a bit of sweetness for these days of holiday hecticness.  Maybe we have folks to visit in the hospital.

When we went caroling on Sunday, it was great to have containers of cookies to bring to the sick and the shut in.  We had them left over from a church women's group cookie swap. 

There are days that I wish I had packages of mixed cookies in the freezer, ready to pull out and go when I visit a friend in the hospital or take food to a family with a sick child.  But I know that if I had cookies in the freezer, they'd more likely go into me, not to the sick.

Still there are times we need cookies, and so, I offer the following recipes.  The first one is quick, the kind of cookie we all need for those days when we remember we said we'd bring dessert, and we only have a few ingredients in the house.  from one of my favorite cookbooks:  Beatrice Ojakangas' The Great Holiday Baking Book.   She's got a recipe for every conceivable holiday and great ways to celebrate the passage of the seasons.

The sugar cookie recipe is the one I make when I'm cutting shapes with cookie cutters.  They're delicious iced and plain.    Roll them thin, and they're crisp.  Roll them thick, and they're like tea cakes.

Take a moment to slow down. Take a bite of sweetness and savor it. Think about the other kinds of sweetness that you'd like to see manifest in your life.

Butterscotch Bars
1/4 C. butter, melted
1 C.  packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 C. flour (partial whole wheat works well)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C. nuts (I prefer pecans, but you might like walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 375.  Butter a 9 inch square pan.

Beat the brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg together until light and fluffy.  Stir in the flour and baking powder, and when combined, the nuts.  Spread the batter into the pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center is firm to the touch.  A tester may not come out completely clean--the bars will solidify as they cool.  You should cut into serving size bars after 10-20 minutes of cooling.

This recipe is easily doubled and baked in a 9 x 13 inch pan.  You could also add chocolate chips into the batter or melt 1/2 c. of chips and drizzle across the top of the bars.

Sugar Cookies
2 sticks butter
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
¼ C. milk
2tsp. baking powder
4 C. flour
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter, sugar, eggs. Add milk and dry ingredients. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness on a floured board and cut with cookie cutters. Sprinkle with colored sugar or leave plain to frost when cool (or to enjoy plain). Bake 10 minutes at 375. Easy frosting: moisten powdered sugar with enough milk to make spreadable and tint with food color.

No comments: