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Dining In — Recipe of the Week: It’s time to think about cookies


Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it’s time to think about cookies for the holidays and beyond.

Whether you are an expect baker who creates dozens of kinds of cookies or a holiday cook who whips up chocolate chip for family and friends, this is a season that is forever tied to cookies.

Gingerbread, a holiday staple in Europe or centuries, originally could only be baked by guildsmen, except at Christmastime. That’s when the rules were relaxed and anyone could bake them at home, which no doubt contributed to everyone having more cookies to eat and give and to our current love for holiday cookies.

The Germans also were the first to hang cookies on their Christmas trees, starting with decorated communion wafers as far back as 1587. Americans mimicked this practice by hanging Barnum’s Animal Cracker boxes on trees in the 1800s, and today we have cookie-shaped gingerbread ornaments so we can keep the real cookies for eating.

It was during the Great Depression in the 1930s that historians believe children began leaving cookies for Santa, who no doubt needed nourishment for his long night of travels.

Cookies are everywhere this time of year but the best ones are those we make at home. To give a cookie platter a little extra zip add something colorful like these Melted Snowman Cookies from, which made by starting with any sugar cookie recipe you like, then adding flourishing touches.

Melted Snowman Cookies

1 dozen baked sugar cookies (recipe follows)

6 marshmallows, halved at an angle

White cookie icing, for decorating

Black cookie icing or melted chocolate, for decorating

12 orange jimmies, for noses

24 mini M&Ms, for buttons

Chocolate jimmies, for arms

1. Spread white cookie icing on sugar cookies to create melted blobs.

2. Decorate marshmallows with black cookie icing to make dots for eyes and a smile (or smirk).

3. Insert an orange jimmy into the marshmallow for a nose.

4. Place marshmallow on cookie icing and add more cookie icing around the neck to secure it.

5. Decorate buttons and arms: Place mini M&Ms on cookie icing for buttons and add chocolate jimmies for arms.

Sugar Cookies

Recipe from

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

Additional sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and baking soda; gradually beat into creamed mixture.

2. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in additional sugar. Place on greased baking sheets; flatten with a glass. Bake until set, 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

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