Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Try a cookie from our baker's dozen


Recipes

Rugelach

DOUGH

8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups flour

FILLING

1 cup chopped dried apricots

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

STORING COOKIES
• Make sure cookies are completely cool before storing.
• Don't store crisp and soft cookies in same container.
• Store cookies in air-tight containers, such as zip-lock bags or screw-top jars.
• To keep soft cookies moist, store them with one to two apple quarters.
• Cookies can be frozen four to six months. Most cookies thaw at room temperature in 10 to 15 minutes.
The Food Lover's Tiptionary (Hearst; $15)
WHERE TO BUY COOKIES
• The Bonbonerie, 2030 Madison Road, O'Bryonville; 321-3399
• Busken Bakery (12 locations)
• Cate's Bakeshop, 6927 Miami Ave., Madeira; 561-9866
• Cookie Jar Bakery, 919 Monmouth St., Newport; (859) 261-3345
•  Donna's Gourmet Cookies (Saturdays at Findlay Market); 474-3056 or drp471@aol.com
• Graeter's (15 locations)
• North College Hill Bake Shop, 1807 W. Galbraith Road, North College Hill; 521-6760
• Regina Bakery, 3805 Shady Lane, Miami Heights, 941-1585; and 4025 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, 481-2985.
• Ridge Donut Shop, 3186 Woodford Road, Pleasant Ridge; 631-4334
• St. Lawrence Bakery, 3715 St. Lawrence Ave., Price Hill; 921-3331
• Servatii Pastry Shop (five locations)
• Take the Cake, 1437 Main St., Over-the-Rhine; 241-2772
• Wyoming Pastry Shop, 50005 Wyoming Ave.,Wyoming; 821-0742
FROZEN COOKIES
Not everyone has the time or the skill to bake cookies from scratch. But everyone loves cookies during the holidays. Solution: Refrigerated, ready-to-bake cookies.
To find the best, we blind-tested three brands of premium chocolate chip cookies from the grocery: Pillsbury Big Deluxe Classics ($2/12 cookies); Kroger Private Selection Gourmet Chocolate Chunk ($2.39/12 cookies); and Nestle Toll House Ultimates ($2.49/12 cookies). The hands-down winner among the cookie monsters in the newsroom were the Nestle Toll House cookies. Fans loved their crisp texture and buttery, chocolaty flavor.
1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix dough ingredients together. Divide into 4 balls and chill 2 hours. Mix filling ingredients together.

To assemble: Roll out chilled dough into a circle as if for a pie crust. Cut into 12 or 16 wedges. Sprinkle 1/4 of filling over crust. Roll up wedges, starting at wide end. (Filling may peek out of sides of cookies.) Repeat with remaining 3 balls of dough. Bake at 350 degrees 10 minutes. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 48-64 cookies.

Pat Brennan, Fort Thomas

Butterfinger Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 egg whites

11/4 cups chunky peanut butter

11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 Butterfingers candy bars (2.1 ounces each) chopped (freeze before chopping)

In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg whites: beat well, blend in peanut butter and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt: add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chopped candy bars, shape into 11/2-inch balls and place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Makes 4 dozen.

Gilta Koop, Elsmere

Miniature Nut Cups

DOUGH

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup margarine or butter, softened

21/2 cups flour

FILLING

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 eggs

3 tablespoons margarine or butter

11/2 cups brown sugar

11/2 cups chopped pecans

Blend softened cream cheese and margarine. Stir in flour. Chill slightly, about 1 hour. Shape into 72 1-inch balls; place in ungreased miniature muffin pans. Press dough on bottom and up sides of cups.To make filling, in a saucepan, combine vanilla, eggs, margarine, brown sugar and 1 cup nuts. Cook until thick. Put a teaspoon of filling into pastry lined cups; sprinkle each with remaining 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Bake at 325 degrees 20 to 30 minutes. Makes 72.

Susan Martinez,

West Chester Twp.

Chocolate Sandwiches

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar (for dusting)

FILLING

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, softened

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Red and green food coloring

Beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture and mix until combined. Divide dough in half; shape each part into two 11/2-inch thick rolls. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap; refrigerate 4 to 5 hours or until firm enough to slice. Meanwhile, make filling by beating butter, powdered sugar, buttermilk and vanilla until creamy and of spreading consistency. Divide filling in half; add red color to one part and green to other. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut dough into 1/8 inch thick slices. Place on Silpat baking sheet or non-stick baking sheet. Decorate by drawing tines of fork across each slice (dip fork lightly in flour first). Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until almost firm. Let cool about a minute before moving to wire rack to cool completely.

Spread creamy filling on flat side of the cookie. Top with remaining cookies, forming sandwiches. Dust powdered sugar on top if desired. Makes about 3 dozen.

Betty Hakes, Mason

Rosenmunnar

1/2 pound unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups flour

Jam

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, add flour. Make into olive-sized balls. Press a thumbprint into each cookie, and fill with jam. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until delicate brown. Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

Jeneene Brengelman, Westwood

Orange Slice Cookies

11/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound orange slice candy (cut finely with scissors dipped into confectioners' sugar)

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup rolled oats

Cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Blend flour, baking soda and salt into creamed mixture.

Coat diced candy lightly in flour and add to creamed mixture. Stir in coconut, chopped nuts and oats. Roll into 1-inch balls. Place on greased cookie sheet and press with a fork. Bake at 325 degrees 10-12 minutes. Makes 5-6 dozen.

Rita Puckett, Fairfield

Black Walnut Brandy Cookies

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon brandy (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 cup finely chopped black walnuts

In mixer bowl, cream butter, sugar and salt until fluffy. Stir in brandy and vanilla. Stir in flour and nuts; mix well.

Shape into 3/4-inch balls using about 2 teaspoons dough for each cookie. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 325 degree oven 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Roll in additional sifted confectioners' sugar, if desired. Makes 3 dozen.

Joann Arnzen Thinnes, Florence

Exotic Indian Sweet Cookies

21/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

12 strands saffron

2 to 3 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Mix flour, sugar and soda together. Fold butter into the flour mix until a soft dough forms.

Crush saffron strands and add 1 tablespoon milk to dissolve saffron. Add saffron milk and cardamom powder to dough and knead thoroughly until dough is stiff yet soft (add more milk if needed).

Roll dough into a long slender piece, about 11/4 inch thick. Cut small pieces of dough crosswise and roll each into a ball and flatten to about 11/4 inches in diameter.

Arrange cookies on cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees 8 to 9 minutes. Flip cookies over and bake again 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and toss gently to coat cookies evenly. Cool and store in an air-tight jar. Makes about 60.

Lalitha Murthy, Roselawn

West Virginia's Finest

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 egg

1 cup oil

1 cup rolled oats, regular

1 cup cornflakes, crushed

1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)

1/2 cup walnuts chopped

3 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

To creamed mixture, add egg, mixing well. Add oil and mix thoroughly. Add oats, cornflakes, coconut and nuts and stir well.

To the same mixture, add flour, baking soda, salt and vanilla; mix well. Form into balls the size of small walnuts. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each ball with a fork dipped in water.

Bake at 350 degrees 12 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheets a few minutes. Makes about 8 dozen.

Donna Spenny, Elmwood Place

Creamy Cashew Cookies

4 cups all-purpose flour

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

11/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt*

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup sour cream

3 cups roasted cashews, chopped*

FROSTING

1 cup butter

4 cups confectioners' sugar

6 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whole cashews, for garnish (1 each)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl. Beat butter and brown sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. At low speed, beat in sour cream, then dry ingredients. Stir in chopped cashews.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining dough.

To make frosting, melt butter in saucepan over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove from heat; whisk in confectioners' sugar, then cream and vanilla until smooth. Spread warm frosting on cookies; garnish each with a cashew. Makes 9 dozen.

*If using salted cashews, omit salt from dough.

Mary Ann Montgomery, Wyoming

Candied Grapefruit Peel

3 pink or ruby red grapefruit

1 cup sugar, plus more for coating

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 cup water

With knife, slit the grapefruit peel into four vertical quarters (from navel to bottom end). Carefully work the peels loose from fruit with thumbs.

In large pan, cover peel with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes and drain. Repeat process three times. After last boil, blot excess moisture from the peel with paper towels.

Cut each peel quarter into thin vertical strips with a scissors. Each quarter should make 10 to 12 strips.

In 3-quart saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add peel strips. Simmer gently about 40 minutes. Drain in colander, then toss strips in granulated sugar a handful at a time.

Arrange in single layer on wax paper-lined cookie sheets. Dry uncovered for two days. Makes about 40 to 48 candied peel strips.

Elaine Rauckhorst, Oxford

Crisp Peppernuts (Russian Mennonite holiday cookies)

1 cup butter

11/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 teaspoons baking soda

33/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 to 1 teaspoon oil of anise or ground anise

Cream butter and sugar in mixer bowl until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add corn syrup and mix well.

Sift baking soda and flour with spices. Add half of this dry mixture to creamed mixture and mix well. Add remaining dry mixture and mix, then knead with hands thoroughly.

Place dough in container, seal tightly and store in refrigerator overnight or longer.

Roll dough into several pencil-thin "ropes." Slice dough into hazelnut-size pieces using knife dipped in flour or cold water.

Place dough pieces on greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes.

Ann Nofziger, Anderson Township

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

4 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

11/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking cocoa

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Confectioners' sugar

Melt unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of chocolate chips and butter in microwave or double-boiler. Cool 10 minutes.

In mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and cooled chocolate mixture.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and beat into chocolate mixture. Stir in remaining cup of chocolate chips. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.

Remove about 1 cup of dough. With lightly floured hands, roll pieces of dough into 1-inch balls.

Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly puffed and set.

Cool in pan 3 to 4 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Roll and bake remaining dough.

Dust cookies with confectioners' sugar. Makes about 4 dozen.

Arlene Forsthoefel, Anderson Township




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