Recipes to expand your holiday cookie repertoire

December 01, 1991|By Linda Susan Dudley | Linda Susan Dudley,Copley News Service

Making cookies is as much a part of the holiday season as sending out cards and hanging a welcoming wreath on your front door. People who don't have time to bake at any other time of the year haul out the mixing bowls and baking sheets, the rolling pin and the jars of colored sugars.

The results of these efforts can be warm, just-out-of-the-oven brownies to munch while wrapping gifts and trimming the tree. Or they might be carefully decorated shapes you arrange on an elegant platter and tie up with a bright bow to give as a special gift. A few left out with a tall glass of milk will refresh a tired Santa.

Whatever your cookie-baking plans, you'll probably start with cherished family recipes. To expand your repertoire, here are some of our favorites.

Cottage cheese fudge cookies

Makes 3 dozen.

2/3 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

1 cup small-curd cottage cheese

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons coffee-flavored liqueur (or vanilla may be substituted)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup powdered sugar

Put butter, sugar, cottage cheese, eggs, coffee-flavored liqueur into food processor and blend until smooth. (Note: Electric mixture can be used but batter won't be as smooth, cottage cheese curds may not blend well. Eggs and cottage cheese can also be mixed in blender and then added to other ingredients and mixed with mixer.)

Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in cottage cheese mixture and mix well. Chill dough for 30 to 40 minutes.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls; roll each ball in powdered sugar. Place balls on greased cookie sheet, bake in 350-degree oven about 12 minutes, or until cookies feel firm to touch. Cool on racks.

Gooey caramel nut bars

Makes 2 dozen.

1 (14-ounce) bag caramels, unwrapped

1 (5 1/3 -ounce) can evaporated milk, undiluted

1 German chocolate cake mix

1/2 cup margarine, melted

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

Melt caramels with 1/2 can of evaporated milk over low heat. Stir until smooth. Combine remaining milk with cake mix and melted margarine. Mix well. Press half of cake mixture into bottom of greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle 1 cup walnuts and chocolate chips over crust. Top with caramel mixture, spreading to edges of pan. Top with teaspoonfuls of remaining cake mixture, pressing gently into caramel mixture. Sprinkle with remaining nuts.

Return to 350-degree oven and bake for 20 minutes. Cool slightly and hide in refrigerator to cool completely (unless they are attacked by kids first). Cut into bars.

Sour cream cookies

Makes 5 dozen.

DOUGH:

1 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 1/2 cups flour, approximately

pinch salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

FILLING:

2 cups pitted dates, chopped

2 cups raisins

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 cup water

1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Cream shortening and 2 cups sugar. Add eggs and beat until light. Add sour cream and vanilla. Blend. Sift flour before measuring. Combine flour, salt and soda. Add dry ingredients slowly to previously mixture while continuing to mix. Refrigerate dough.

For filling, combine dates, raisins, 1 1/3 cups sugar, water and 1 cup chopped walnuts in medium-size pan. Cook filling slowly until thickened. Cool.

Roll out dough on floured pastry cloth-covered board to about 3/16th-inch thickness. Cut out rounds, place on cookie sheet. Place 1 teaspoon filling in center; cover with second cookie round. Press edges together. Bake in 375-degree oven 12 to 15 minutes.

Cinnamon disks

Makes 2 dozen.

1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup soft butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup finely chopped pecans

3 teaspoons cinnamon

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt. Mix until creamy butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture. Chill 1 hour or until easy to manage. Preheat oven to 375 F. Shape level tablespoons of dough into balls. Combine chopped nuts and cinnamon; roll balls in nut/spice mixture. Arrange on greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 15 minutes.

Peanut butter swirl bars

Makes 4 dozen.

1/2 cup crunch-style peanut butter

1/3 cup softened butter

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup firmly packed granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips

In large bowl, combine crunch-style peanut butter, softened butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar; beat until creamy. Gradually beat in eggs and vanilla extract.

In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; blend into peanut butter mixture. Spread onto greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle package of chocolate chips over surface.

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