It’s time to bake the cookies


Everybody’s doing it; or at least 93% of everybody

By Bill Colvard - bcolvard@civitasmedia.com



Jessica Johnson’s ‘Pecan Sandy Meltaways’ are great cookies to serve with hot tea and are perfect for people who are gluten free and/or diabetic.


Submitted photo | Jessica Johnson

‘Pecan Sandy Meltaways’ are waiting to be baked.


Submitted photo | Jessica Johnson

The process begins for ‘Pecan Sandy Meltaways.’


Submitted photo | Jessica Johnson

Angela Llewellyn’s ‘White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies’ have a delicious mix of flavors.


Submitted photo | Angela Llewellyn

Of Americans who bake cookies, 93 percent of them will bake cookies during the holiday season and 61 percent will bake three or more batches, according to the MSL Group.

The only surprising thing about this statistic is what the other 7 percent of cookie bakers are doing and why 39 percent stopped so soon. After all, Christmas cookies can be as easy or as complicated as you want them to be.

For Mount Airy resident Eva Winemiller, Christmas cookies are straightforward and simple. Her advice, “Go to the store and buy Pillsbury ‘Ready to Bake Snowman Sugar Cookies’ and follow directions on the back.” If you’re really pressed for time, Winemiller says you can eat them raw right out of the package.

The recipe that follows for ‘Easy Peanut Butter Cookies’ is a little more complicated but not much. There are only four ingredients, all of which you probably already have in your kitchen. They’re also a great kids’ project because no one is better than a child at rolling the pieces of dough into little balls and mashing them flat with a fork in that trademark peanut butter cookie crosshatch pattern.

Angela Llewellyn’s ‘White Chocolate Pumpkin spice Cookies’ offer the same hand-rolling opportunity in addition to needing to be rolled in sugar, a job that would surely be coveted by any child. As far as plopping a Hershey’s Kiss down in the middle of every cookie, even the smallest child could handle that one.

Perhaps the kid-friendly nature of cookie baking is why they’re so popular during a time of the year when family is being celebrated. Maybe it’s their versatility. From ‘Butter Cookies’ that are basically an indulgence of little more than butter and sugar to Jessica Johnson’s ‘Pecan Sandy Meltaways’ which are sugar-free, gluten-free and low-carb, there is something for everyone.

The two most popular Christmas cookies, gingerbread men and sugar cookies, can be plain, dusted with sugar or a sugar glaze or decorated with royal icing and all sorts of colored sugars, silver and gold dragees and other sweets. This is where children are especially helpful. Turn them loose to be creative. Just be advised that royal icing dries into a rock hard substance that is as difficult to clean up as dried concrete.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Angela Llewellyn

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 (3.56 oz) box white chocolate pudding mix (dry)

1 (10 oz) bag Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses

granulated sugar, for rolling

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Add in both sugars and mix on high for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg and egg yolk one at a time, mixing after each addition until combined. Stir in the vanilla and pudding mix.

With mixer set on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture into the wet mixture until everything has been incorporated.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days.

Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls and then roll each one in the sugar. Place them on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until tops of cookies begin to crackle. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes, but place the Kiss in the center while they’re still warm.

Pecan Sandy Meltaways – Sugar Free, Low Carb, Grain Free/Gluten Free

Jessica Johnson from George Strella on StrellaStyle.com Johnson added a little cinnamon and feels they would also be good with the addition of sugar free chocolate chips.

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tbsp. butter, softened

1 cup sugar substitute (Johnson recommends using using splenda or a sucralose-based sweetener)

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup almond flour

1⁄2 tsp. baking soda

1⁄4 tsp. salt

2 ounces chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375°F. and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Using a stand or hand held mixer, add the cream cheese, butter, sugar substitute, egg and vanilla to the mixing bowl and beat on high until creamy and fluffy.

Add in the remaining ingredients and mix on medium until well blended.

Using a teaspoon or 1 ounce ice cream scoop, drop 16 evenly spaced cookies on the lined pan and bake for about 8-10 minutes. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.

George’s Tips | You can press the cookies down into the parchment paper a little before baking for a crispier cookie.

Variation | This basic cookie dough can be used to make many varieties of cookies. Try adding 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon or ginger for a refreshing crisp, or replace the pecans with almond slices and add dry coconut.

calories:170|fat:15.5g |protein:4.5g |fiber: .5g |net carbs:3g

Easy peanut butter cookies

1 cup sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix well. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet and criss-cross with a fork. Bake at 325°F. for 15 minutes.

Easy and Fun Peanut Butter Balls

These cookies ranked number one in North Carolina last year on the Reader’s digest website.

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup dry milk powder

1/2 cup honey

Blend all ingredients together (preferably with hands). Roll into balls the size of large marbles and refrigerate. Optional: roll balls in powdered cocoa or roll balls info flaked coconut or dip into chocolate fondue.

Butter Cookies

This is a simple butter cookie that can be used in a cookie press, as a drop cookie or made into a roll and sliced.

1 cup butter

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least one hour. Chill cookie sheets.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Press dough out onto ungreased, chilled cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly golden at the edges. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp. almond extract (optional)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar with a hand mixer or a standing mixer fitted with a flat beater. Add egg and blend well. Add extract(s) and blend. Mix flour and salt in a separate bowl and gradually add to wet mixture, blending on low speed to combine. Cover and chill dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Briefly knead and roll out dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies with a cookie cutter and bake on parchment paper-lined baking trays for 14-16 minutes until edges are golden. Smaller cookies may take fewer minutes and larger cookies up to 18 minutes.)

Yields: 8-10 large cookies, 20-25 smaller cookies.

Gingerbread Cutout Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1⁄2 tsp. baking powder

3⁄4 tsp. baking soda

1⁄4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. ground ginger

1 3⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves

6 tbsp. unsalted butter

3⁄4 cup dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1⁄2 cup molasses

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended. In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended. Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest and continue to mix until well blended. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper. (Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but in this case it should be refrigerated. Return to room temp before using.) Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin. Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thick. Use additional flour to avoid sticking. Cut out cookies with desired cutter. Space cookies 1 1/2-inches apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow the cookies to stand until the cookies are firm enough to move to a wire rack. After cookies are cool you may decorate them any way you like. A powdered sugar glaze will do in a rush, but they look wonderful decorated with royal icing.

Royal Icing

May be colored with food coloring. Makes a great glue to attach other decorations. Use meringue powder if it will be eaten by someone who should avoid raw eggs.

1 box confectioners’ sugar (1 pound)

5 tbsp. meringue powder or 2 large egg whites

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar and meringue powder. Mixing on low speed, add a scant 1/2 cup water. Mix until icing holds a ribbonlike trail on the surface of the mixture for 5 seconds when you raise the paddle.

Chocolate Snowballs

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 large egg

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips

Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 15-20 minutes or until set and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Roll warm cookies in confectioners’ sugar. Cool completely on wire racks. If desired, reroll cookies in confectioners’ sugar. Yield: about 4 dozen.

Jessica Johnson’s ‘Pecan Sandy Meltaways’ are great cookies to serve with hot tea and are perfect for people who are gluten free and/or diabetic.
http://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_Cookie-11.jpgJessica Johnson’s ‘Pecan Sandy Meltaways’ are great cookies to serve with hot tea and are perfect for people who are gluten free and/or diabetic. Submitted photo | Jessica Johnson

‘Pecan Sandy Meltaways’ are waiting to be baked.
http://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_Cookie-21.jpg‘Pecan Sandy Meltaways’ are waiting to be baked. Submitted photo | Jessica Johnson

The process begins for ‘Pecan Sandy Meltaways.’
http://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_Cookie-31.jpgThe process begins for ‘Pecan Sandy Meltaways.’ Submitted photo | Jessica Johnson

Angela Llewellyn’s ‘White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies’ have a delicious mix of flavors.
http://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_Cookies-ALlewellyn1.jpegAngela Llewellyn’s ‘White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies’ have a delicious mix of flavors. Submitted photo | Angela Llewellyn
Everybody’s doing it; or at least 93% of everybody

By Bill Colvard

bcolvard@civitasmedia.com

Nominate your favorite cook to share their love of food with readers of The Mount Airy News.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699, on Twitter @BillColvard.

Nominate your favorite cook to share their love of food with readers of The Mount Airy News.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699, on Twitter @BillColvard.

comments powered by Disqus