It’s the Prescott eNews 10th year celebration, so watch for exciting new things to happen this coming year.
Today, we’re having a Cookie Recipe-A-Thon. Here’s how it works:
1. Send in your recipes - more than one is fine. They can be Christmas cookies or not. It doesn’t make any difference. You can send them in to email@example.com or via our Submit Your Content link. (At the top, just call it an Article.)
2. Be sure to include at least your first name, email and the recipe ingredients and directions.
3. Bonus points if you also include a photo. More bonus points if you have a story to go along with it. But, if you don't have photos and stories, just send the recipe. It'll be fine.
4. All recipes will be included on this page, today! We’ll keep a running column going. In other words, as you send them, the article will be updated. All the way through midnight.
5. Our judging panel will choose 10 recipes out of what we are given and test them. (In other words, we'll spend the day baking.)
6. We’ll take photos and share those top 10 with you.
7. We’ll also have a tasting party. Info to come later. (Ssshhh… It’s a secret!)
8. Prizes will be awarded.
Wouldn't it be great if we can get 100 recipes!
So, send in your recipes… Starting… Now!
Favorite Cutout Cookies
This really is an old family recipe. My Mother originally found it in Zella Boutelll’s excellent cookbook, “The Christmas Cookbook” published in 1953. If you want to know how to make real mincemeat from scratch or produce your own candied fruit, this will tell you how, with variations. Our family has made some significant changes over the years, but two things never change—you really do need to use cake flour, and you really do need to sift before measuring. Some claim that you can use a combination of all purpose flour and cornstarch to sub for the cake flour, but it will not work in this recipe. And if you don’t sift, your dough will not come out right.When properly made this is a wonderful dough for cutout cookies. It is smooth and supple, very forgiving, ideal for use by children. This recipe is only about a fourth of the original! You will still get about 2-3 dozen cookies (depending on the size of your cutters.) If you don’t use too much flour in rolling out the scraps can easily be re-rolled.
1/4 cup + two Tablespoons Honey
3T Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup white sugar
3 fluid oz. Orange Juice
Grated rind of 1/2 orange2 1/2 cups Cake flour
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground spices—suggested, 1/4 t cinnamon, 1/4 t mace, 1/8 t clove, 1/4 t cardamom, 1/8 t ginger
1) Put honey, butter, sugar, orange juice, and grated rind in the top a double boiler over simmering water. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a metal bowl over simmering water. Heat, stirring from time to time until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Mixture should have a transparent appearance and if you rub a smidgeon between your fingers it should feel smooth, not gritty.
2) Sift cake flour, then measure out 2 1/2 cups into a medium bowl. Add salt, baking powder, and spices. Whisk together until well mixed.
3) Pour the honey mixture over the flour mixture.. Mix thoroughly. Sometimes it is easier to use your hands toward the end.
4) Divide the dough into two pieces. Pat each into a smooth disc. Place in plastic bags or wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Overnight is fine. If you don’t want to use it all right now you can freeze it for up to a month (carefully double wrapped.)When you are ready to cut out your cookies, set out the dough to warm up a little. Then work it with your hands until it is soft enough to roll out.On a lightly floured surface (I use parchment paper) roll out to about 1/4 inch. Cut out cookies and place on cookie sheets covered with parchment. Bake in a 300º oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until just golden brown. Once cool the cookies may be kept tightly covered in a cool dry place, they may be frozen for up to a month undecorated. just let warm and decorate a day or two before you need them. They are very crisp when first made. In a humid place they will begin to soften after a couple of days. Anywhere they will be softened and delicious a day after icing.Ice with butter cream tinted with gel food colors. Decorate with icing designs, sprinkles, colored sugar, red hots, etc. If carefully packed they travel well.
Variations Hot coffee, Sherry, Other fruit juices or brandy can be substituted for the OJ. Two cups finely chopped nuts can be added (but this will make cutting out harder for kids). Up to 4 cups finely chopped dried or candied fruit can be added. (Same caution as above.) My Mom used to put in nuts and fruits, but us kids finally talked her out of it. And the cutting process got a lot easier. I have contemplated using different liquids, but I really like the Orange flavor. Maybe some day. If you use frozen orange juice, use some of the undiluted concentrate. It really does taste good.
Spiced Cherry Bells
Here’s one from us to get you started. This one is Christmassy, but that's not required!
1 c. Butter, softened
1 1/4 c. Brown sugar
1/4 c. Dark brown corn syrup
1 TBS heavy whipping cream
3 1/4 c. Flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c. Packed brown sugar
3 TBS maraschino cherry juice
1 TBS butter
1 1/2 c. Finely chopped pecans
14 maraschino cherries, quartered
Cream butter and brown sugar. Add in corn syrup, egg and cream. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate dough for 24 hours or overnight.
In the meantime, combine the first four filling ingredients. Mix well.
Sprinkle a smooth surface with powdered sugar. (Use it in place of flour.) Divide dough into three or four balls. Roll out on the sugared surface. Cut into 2 or 21/2 inch rounds.
Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Place 1/2 tsp. filling in the middle. Fold one side of dough halfway over the filling, then the second side halfway over. It should almost look like a triangle with a rounded bottom. That's the "bell" shape.
Place a piece of the maraschino cherry where the two edges meet, along the wide edge. It is supposed to be the "clapper" of the bell.
Bake at 350º for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove to cookie rack to cool.