Holiday Cookies, Part one

Welcome to my first Medium Post on Cookies, I say my first on Cookies, I have developed over 200 recipes over the years, so there will be more posts on cookies in the future.

For a bit of a back story, many years ago I was working with a publishing house on developing a cook book on just cookies and they asked me to come up with over 300 recipes. They wanted it to be “the” cook book on cookies. I would supply the 300+ recipes and they would add classic recipes from their archives to bring up to 500 total recipes. I was at 190 recipes when my agent switch classifications from Cooking to Politics and the publishing house would not proceed with the book without an agent, which was really hard to find. I was told by many agents, it was a saturated market and I was an unknown. I was told to start a BLOG and when I get enough followers to contact them. I did ask what that number should be but never got a straight answer; so no agent and no book. Lucky I had not sent them very many recipes.

So it was hard to choose what recipes to include in this first post. I decided to start with my go to recipes for the holidays. These are all drop cookies, the shaped or cut cookies will be in part two — Enjoy

For more of my recipes go to my BLOG at

www.variationsoncooking.com

My Grandmothers Sugar Cookie Recipe

Sugar Cookies

This is a variation on my Grandmothers Sugar Cookie recipe, I had bought this large bunch of Meyer Lemons and i thought it might be a light lemony taste if i switched out the Vanilla for lemon juice and zest. I actually like it better, enjoy.

I always make big batches of cookies, i guess you can half the recipe. This makes about 8 dozen cookies

Ingredients

6 cups of unbleached flour
4 cups of raw sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
4 eggs
2 tablespoons of Meyer Lemon Zest
2 tablespoons of Meyer Lemon Juice
2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
plus more raw sugar for dusting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In the stand mixer place the butter and zest and cream until combined, then add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.

Now add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the Meyer Lemon juice.

Reduce speed and add the flour a cup at a time until all combined.

Using the the size 50 Zeroll scoop, drop dough about 3 inches apart, sprinkle with raw sugar and bake for 15 minutes until golden

Spice Cookies

Spice Cookies

I created this by mistake, i was out of molasses when I was making my Ginger Snap cookie but i had honey so i played with spice combination and after several tries I came up with the Spice cookie, I hope you like it.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 stick of butter room temp
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 table spoon raw local honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Now this is really easy, just place all of the ingredients with the exception of the flour into the stand mixer and cream together. Next with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour. Once combined, divide dough in half, shape into a logs about 2 inch in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and chill over night.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut logs into 1/8 slices and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Transfer to rack to cool.

Enjoy Cooking

Ginger Snap Cookies

Ginger Snap Cookies

This is one of most requested cookies during the holiday season. Over the years i have simplified the recipe. Note: some like it with the sugar coating and some like with out.

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached flour 
1 cup raw sugar — plus more for coating 
3/4 cup of unsalted butter, room temp 
1/4 cup dark molasses 
1 egg 
2 teaspoons ground ginger 
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, spices, salt and baking soda.

In the stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Next add the molasses and egg a blend until smooth. Lower speed on mixer and slowly the flour until combined, cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 4 hours. I usually cool overnight, also place the dough back in the fridge between rolling out the dough.

Preheat to 325 degrees

Roll dough into 1 inch balls, roll in raw sugar, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, press slightly to prevent rolling and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges turn brown. Place on a cooling rack until firm.

Enjoy Cooking

Ginger Pumpkin Cookies

Ginger Pumpkin Cookies

All my variations on the tradition Gingerbread cookies will follow in another cookie Post/News Letter but I wanted to share this one now since it goes with the theme of the last few recipes.

About 7 years ago with the introduction of the Pumpkin Spice coffee drinks that were all the rage, well and still are. I though I could mix up one of my gingerbread cookies by the addition on Pumpkin.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cup unbleached flour 
1 1/2 cups of firmly packed light brown sugar 
1 cup chopped pecans 
1 15oz can pumpkin 
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp 
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger 
2 large eggs 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon of salt 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients with the exception of the sugar. The stir in the nuts and crystallized ginger.

In the stand mixer cream together the sugar and the butter until creamy. Next add the eggs, mix until blended. Followed by the can pumpkin, the mixer may look a bit odd but that is OK. Now slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixer a little bit at a time until all combined.

On parchment lined cookie sheets drop a table spoon of the batter about 2 to 3 inches apart. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown, they will be soft in the centers. Slide the cookies on the parchment paper to a cooling rack.

This recipe should make about 65 cookies.

Enjoy Cooking

Mexican Wedding Cookies, Walnut Cookies

Walnut Cookies

I had these the first time I spent the Holidays with my in-laws in Southern California, I loved the flavor but I thought they were a bit heavy, so I went to work on switching it up. This is my variation on the traditional Mexican Wedding cookie. You can make these with all walnut flour, they will be very dense.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups of walnuts
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks of butter, diced
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached flour

Powder sugar

Directions

Place walnuts and powder sugar into food processor, pulse to break up the nuts, then turn on the processor until nuts are finely ground. Next slowly add the butter to the food processor, pulsing to incorporate, then full on until smooth. Pour in vanilla and salt while processors is going. Now add the flour, pulsing again until dough starts to form into a ball. Remove from processor and place dough on some plastic wrap, flatten dough into a disc, wrap and chill for at least 2 hours but is best over night.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Remove dough from fridge, unwrap and working with your hand pull off small pieces of the dough and form into 1 inch balls, place the balls onto a parchment line cookie sheet flatten the ball slightly so they do not roll around the sheet. Place the balls about 2 inches apart.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until they start to golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. While on the rack sift powdered sugar over the warm cookies. Once the cookies have completely cooled, roll the cookies in more powder sugar.

Enjoy Cooking

For my full News Letter on my Holiday Cookies, Part One, please visit my BLOG at www.variationsoncooking.com

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