Holiday Cookie Baking
Marisa Guerin, Ph.D. - December 17, 2018
Friends, 'tis the season for baking sweet treats for family and friends. Rather than try to compose inspiring words about the holidays, I think I'll just wish you the best and share my two favorite cookie recipes with you. The Choc-Cherry-Oat cookies were originally found in a magazine, lo these many years ago, and they are a "Bring them again!" hit for almost any occasion. The Almond Crescent cookies are THE tradition in my family, handed down from my German grandmother Marie, a baker extraordinaire. I hope you have time to enjoy the blessings of the season!
Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Cherry Cookies
(makes about 4 dozen)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
1 packed cup of brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups dried tart cherries (6 ounces)
1 ¼ cups semisweet or dark choc chips – Ghirardelli’s brand dark choc chips (or other gourmet chocolate) makes the cookies fabulous!!
To make the cookies:
Position 1 rack in bottom third of oven and 1 large in top third. Preheat to 375 degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. (I ended up using 4, two sets of baking.)
Blend first 4 ingredients with mixer for 30 seconds, add eggs and mix.
Add next 4 ingredients and use hand mixer until oats are coarsely chopped and mixture is blended.
With spoon, mix in chocolate chips and cherries.
Spoon batter (rounded tablespoonfuls, or a little bigger) onto baking sheets spaced 2 inches apart.
Bake 7 minutes, then rotate pans and bake another 7 minutes – 14 minutes total until tops are golden brown.
Transfer cookies to racks, bake the second set. Let cool before storing.
Grandmom Marie's Almond Crescent Cookies
(This is a "triple" recipe, makes at least 10 dozen)
1.5 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
1.5 cup (3 sticks) oleo margarine at room temp
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of finely chopped fresh raw almonds (not so big as slivers, not so small as ground up)
5 cups of sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
For rolled sugar coating: 3 cups confectioners sugar, 3-4 teaspoons cinnamon
To make the cookies:
Position 1 rack in bottom third of oven and 1 large in top third. Preheat to 325 degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat or mix well together the butter, oleo, and sugar, and then mix in the almonds.
Stir the salt into the flour, and add them both to the batter, easier to mix in if added in stages.
When the batter is all mixed in and stiff, refrigerate for about an hour to chill the dough.
To make it easier to work with later, I put a cup or two of the batter on a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly and press into a round about an inch thick. Helps it to chill, and makes it easier to cut off pieces for making the cookies.
After dough is chilled, cut or spoon out pieces that are rolled between your palms to make a short, fat stick about 2-3 inches long; bend in the middle to make a crescent shape, and line up on the baking sheet. Nestled in rows, you should be able to get about 24 cookies on a large sheet.
Bake 9 minutes, then rotate pans and bake another 9-10 minutes – until bottom edges of cookies are starting to look golden brown.
Transfer cookies to racks, bake the next set, etc. Let cool completely.
Mix the confectioners sugar and cinnamon thoroughly in a large bowl or wide pan, and dredge the completely cooled cookies in the sugar-cinnamon mix. Store them in boxes or tins separating each layer from the next by a sheet of waxed paper.
Store them someplace cool where they will get firm with a lovely crunch -- heavenly!