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Start a Tradition With These Cookie Recipes

Thumbprints and Sweethearts have holiday appeal.

Gingersnap Thumbprint cookies

  • Cranberry apricot filling:
  • 3/4 cup apricot jam
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped

DOUGH:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons mild molasses
  • 2 large eggs separated
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cps slivered almonds, finely chopped (for rolling)
  • 1: Position rack in the center of the oven and heat over to 350 degrees.  Line two or more baking sheets with parchment paper

2: Make the cranberry apricot filling: Place jam in a small bowl. If there are any large pieces of apricot chucks pull them out and chop into fine pieces and add back into the bowl. Add cranberries. Set aside.

3: Mix the gingersnap thumbprints: Mix the flour, spices and salt together in a medium bowl. Stir in crystallized ginger, taking care to break apart any pieces that may be clinging to one another. Set aside

  Place the butter and sugar I the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the molasses, egg yolks, and vanilla extract, and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure even mixing. Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add flour mixture, blending just until incorporated.

4: Place the chopped almonds in a large bowl or cake pan to form a single layer. Lightly beat egg whites and set aside.

5: Roll dough between the palms of your hands into 1-ninch balls. For the most uniform balls, first portion the dough into 1-inch mounds using a level #70 scoop or 2 level teaspoons per mound, then roll into perfect balls. If the butter was overly soft to start, the dough may be too sticky and hard to handle. Chill as needed until easily shaped. Take care not to over chill, however, or the dough may crack when you make indentations in step 7.

6: Work with one ball at a time. Lightly coat it with beaten egg white and then tumble in the almonds to evenly coat. Roll between your palms to fix the nuts in place. Repeat with the remaining balls.

7: Arrange the cookies 1 to 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Using your thumb or the back of a round handed spoon, make a deep cup shaped indentation in the center of each cookie.

8: Bake the cookies 13 –14 minutes, or until the nuts are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and re-press each indentation. Fill each indentation with 1 rounded 1/2 teaspoon filling and then bake another 3 –4 minutes. (Note: Do not overfill or the jam may spill out of the cookies as it heats up._ Using an offset spatula to prevent breakage, immediately transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 3/12 – 4 dozen 3/4-inch cookies

See related article: Trays of Tradition: The Art of Baking the Perfect Cookie

Brown Sugar Pecan Sweethearts

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • decorations:
  • 1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted for dipping
  • about 30 pecan halves

1: In a food processor fitted with the metal blade process 2 tablespoons flour and the pecans until nuts are ground but not pasty. Add the remaining flour and salt and process until combined. Set aside.

2: Place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir to bring the ingredients together. Then beat on medium - medium high speed until light and fluffy; about 1 minute.  Turn mixer on low add the vanilla.

Gradually add the flour and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure even mixing, Place the dough into a disk on plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours until firm enough to roll without cracking.

3: Place a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line two or more cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness Cut into heart shapes Using an off set spatula carefully transfer to the parchment lined cookie sheet, spacing them about an inch apart.  Bake 25 – 30, until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove immediately from cookie sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

4: Decorate: Pour the melted chocolate into a  bowl that is 6 –7 inches deep.  Dip half the cookie into the chocolate and gently shake off excess chocolate and wipe the bottom along the edge of the bowl. Repeat with remaining cookies. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Before cookies set place a pecan half in the top center of the cookie heart. Do not let cookies set at room temperature for long extended periods of time or the chocolate could get dull and streaky.

As soon as one cookie tray is full of dipped cookies set in fridge for 10 minutes are until chocolate is firm.  Store cookies on an airtight container no longer than 2 weeks.

Makes 2 dozen cookies (21/4 x 21/2 to 23/4-inch) hearts

Note: Dipping the chocolate will look its best if applied before serving. There will be some leftover chocolate. Remove any crumbs by straining the chocolate trough a sieve; then cover tightly and store at room temperature for another use.


 

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