My great aunt Oolie McGoogan, made a simple, delicious shortbread that she learned from her husband Angus’ family. Shortbread was always butter, flour, yellow sugar and a pinch of salt. The trick to the success of her shortbread was to knead it for at least 20 minutes. After it was cut into fingers and baked, it was supposed to rest for at least a week before serving. You didn’t mess with it, and we all got a tin of her shortbread for the holidays. How times have changed!
I found this recipe in the food section of our local newspaper and couldn’t resist sharing it. It sounds so completely, deliciously, sinful !!
These delicate, lacey cookies are so delicious that chocolate isn’t really necessary, but they are certainly delicious with chocolate as well.
Courtesy of Alice Medrich, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies
Courtesy of Beth Hensperger
Macaroons, or amaretti, are a traditional Seder dessert usually bought from a bakery or in vacum-packed can. The homemade version is far superior and easily made days ahead. Great served with kosher dessert wine.
This is an adaption of Dorie Greenspan’s master recipe for Sables. A delicious, buttery cookie, this is the French version of shortbread. It lends itself well to variations such as adding finely chopped nuts or maple sugar.
These soft tender cookies are nice with tea. Subtle hints of pumpkin and spice make them a perfect treat for fall.
Served warm, topped with ice-cream after dinner or for breakfast on a crisp fall day, Caramel Apple Bars are a comforting treat any way you slice them. Perfect for an autumn picnic, these are like a bite of fresh apple pie, conveniently packaged as a cookie bar. If you like caramel and apples, you’ll be sure to love these Caramel Apple Bars.
Courtesy of Lauren Groveman
Courtesy of Lauren Groveman
What’s not to like about freshly baked cookies! Some cookies lose their edge fairly quickly, and are best devoured within a day or two.
Anything based on shortbread, however, ages very nicely. I learned this at an early age as my great aunt, Oolie MacGugan (yep, that was her real name), made traditional Scottish shortbread, which was cut in simple rectangular bars and aged for a couple of weeks before it was served.
Courtesy of Didi Davis: www.dididavisfood.com
These cookies are a combination of the French style macaroon, made with ground almonds, and the American style macaroon, made with coconut. I’ve changed the nut to pecans, which are a dreamy combination with vanilla and coconut. The flavors grow in your mouth and linger pleasingly for a long time.
If you have never had real churros, you are in for a treat! First, lightly sweetened fried dough is hard to beat as long as it’s prepared properly. However, what should be a delicate treat can easily become a sodden, greasy, unpalatable mess. And, if it is held under a heat lamp for very long, it can become tough. So, that’s why I say, real churros.
Whenever I think about holiday baking, Russian Tea Cakes (aka Mexican Wedding Cookies) are at the forefront of my mind. What’s not to love about the buttery, crumbly deliciousness of these cookies. with their fragrant toasted nuts and powdered sugar spilling everywhere? Okay, the powdered sugar part can be annoying. What I also love about these cookies is that they’re pretty much popular worldwide with essentially the same ingredients though some come with a few special touches. I recently found a unique version of these cookies in Sunset Magazine. Created by Yigit Pura of “Tout Sweet Patisserie,” they are noted for their extreme crispness and toasty-brown butter flavor. I also like that they’re made with vanilla bean paste. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon cognac or brandy. Prefer a different alcohol or want to substitute a liqueur? Why not? And, if you don’t want alcohol, you can substitute milk.
Courtesy of Flo Braker
Here’s a fun recipe from Flo’s book, Baking for All Occasions. It makes a great hostess
gift as do many of her delectable recipes.
Flo says: Baking the silky, intense chocolate topping on crunchy (firm) shortbread makes for neatly cut brownies that will lend panache to any dessert time.
Courtesy of Gina Tassone, Vanilla Contessa
Almost everyone has experienced the frustration of bananas that have gone from perfect to mush, seemingly overnight. Summer is especially cruel to the sweet and perishable fruit. The Queen’s right-hand woman, Gina, a.k.a. the Contessa, has thoughtfully shared with us a great recipe for utilizing those overripe bananas. You will undoubtedly want to use this recipe often, as it’s quite good.
Years ago I lived in a rural area on the California Coast. I was writing cookbooks and doing some consulting work but I also wanted to be doing something that involved community and made money. A cookie business came to mind.
These cookies are hands down, the best cut-out cookies, whether they’re for the holidays or the 4th of July! They’re especially interesting with Tahitian vanilla extract as the flavor carries through nicely. I personally prefer them with a light sprinkle of flavored sugar instead of being frosted.
What I love about these cookies is that they are deeply chocolate, slightly crisp and chewy on the outside and moist inside. Just before serving, pop them into a microwave for a few seconds or a warm (not hot) oven for a few minutes to melt the chocolate a little. Delicious!
Courtesy of Chef Stephen Block: www.kitchenproject.com
Chef Stephen says, “The most fascinating thing to me about this classic German Christmas cookie is how the flavors of this cookie develop with aging. A few weeks in a cookie tin and all the spices and flavors double in flavor.
“Some recipes actually call for a very small amount of ground pepper to be added to the dough. We recommend that the pepper be used at the discretion of the cook. Since these cookies contain no shortening, they become rather hard; they may need to be “dunked” in milk or coffee.”