Quick cookies are sure delight for kids of all ages

KIDS IN THE KITCHEN

December 16, 1992|By Beth Hillson | Beth Hillson,Contributing Writer

Every Christmas holiday since I can remember, my family has made these cookies. When my little sister was a toddler, she had the delicious job of plunking a cherry down on each circle of cookie dough. She would squish it right down to the bottom of the dough, then lick her fingers, one at a time, before starting on the next cookie. No one had the heart to yell at her. So we baked the cookies and ate them as if the cleanest hands in the world had prepared them!

Easy and quick, these festive cookies are great for gifts, cookie ,, swaps and school parties. Kids age 9 and over can make them without help. Children under 11 may need assistance using the oven.

Everyone should check with an adult before doing any baking. Younger children can handle most of this recipe with the help of an older sister, brother or baby-sitter. Even toddlers can get in on the act. A word of caution for all chefs: Use oven mitts to remove hot cookie sheets from the oven. Set cookie sheets away from the edge of the counter so little fingers won't be tempted to grab the pans while they cool.

* Chocolate cherry macaroons

Makes 24 cookies.

Takes 10 minutes to prepare and 10-12 minutes to cook. The cookie batter may be mixed a day ahead, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated. Maraschino cherries can be cut and refrigerated, too.

2 squares unsweetened chocolate

1 can condensed, sweetened milk

1/2 pound sweetened, flaked coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

12-14 large maraschino cherries

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

2 tablespoons flour

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Set the chocolate in a small bowl an microwave on high for two minutes. Stir with a spoon. If there are lumps remaining, microwave another minute. Scrape chocolate into large bowl. Add condensed milk, coconut, vanilla and salt. Mix with large spoon. Mixture will be thick.

Drain cherries and cut in half. Set in small bowl. Using a paper towel, lightly coat bottoms of cookie sheets with vegetable shortening. Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour over each cookie sheet. Standing over the sink, tilt and gently tap each pan until it's all white with flour. Tap loose flour into sink or waste basket.

Using soup spoons, drop spoonfuls of the cookie batter onto the cookie sheets. Leave about 1 inch between cookies. Put a cherry, cut side down, in the center of each cookie. Bake 10-12 minutes or just until the edges of the cookies are brown. Carefully remove from the oven. Cool cookies on the pan, then use a spatula to remove them. Store in an airtight container. These may be frozen.

To make vanilla macaroons, replace the chocolate with 1/4 cup flour or potato starch. Bake 10 minutes or just until edges of cookies are golden brown.

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