Family Heritage Cookies

21 Dec

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When we think holiday cookies, we never stray far from these classics.

We’ve been cramming these into mouths since childhood. And with good reason – they are delicate, fussy looking, and surprisingly easy to make.

Our family gingersnaps with cream cheese icing and candied ginger are sensational. Also, our neighbour’s O’Henry-like squares are highly addictive.

SWEDISH PASTRY
Recipe from Saucy Cherie’s mom’s mom

These are as old as the hills and are usual called Thimble Cookies. We fill the centres with raspberry or strawberry jam. The cookie is delicate and not too sweet.

1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 mL) brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 egg white
1/2 cup (125 mL) finely choppedpecans or walnuts
Jam or jelly
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Cover baking sheet with a Silpat or grease the pans.
In a stand mixer, beat butter with sugar until creamy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.
In another bowl, use a fork to stir flour and salt together. Gradually beat into butter mixture just until combined. Place egg white in a small bowl and beat lightly. Place chopped nuts in another bowl.
Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 3/4 inch (2-cm) balls. Dip in egg white, then immediately roll in chopped nuts. Place 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on greased baking sheets. Using your finger, a wooden spoon handle or a floured thimble (thus the name), make a small impression in the centre of each ball, about halfway down.
Bake in preheated over for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, reform impressions and bake until lightly golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove to a rack to cool. Then, fill centres with colourful jam or jelly, such as seedless raspberry or apricot jam. Store in an airtight container in single layers separated by waxed paper. Keep in a cool place or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze.
Makes about 24 cookies.
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These cookies had 15 minutes of fame in the Calgary Sun food section during my newsroom internship 1993:

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BLACK-EYED SUSANS
Recipe from Saucy Cherie’s mom’s mom
1 cup of butter
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp almond flavouring
2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 450 and place rack on high.
Cream butter and add sugar, salt, and almond flavouring. Slowly add flour until mixed.
Roll into balls and slightly flatten. Add small dent with your knuckle.
Bake for 10 minutes or until pale golden.
When cool, fill with chocolate icing and place a blanched almond in the centre.
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CHOCOLATE PEANUT CRISP BARS
1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup honey
1 cup good semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
4 cups crispy rice cereal Directions
Melt the peanut butter and honey in a very large pot, stirring frequently.
When hot through, remove from the heat.
Stir in the chocolate chips until they melt.
Add the vanilla.
Stir in the peanuts and rice crisps.
Press into an oiled 9″x 13″ inch pan.
Chill and cut into squares.

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