2014-12-19 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Some recipes sure to please the big elf
By Connie Wendell
Special to the Post

Santa will be coming to your house very soon. Are you ready? You do know he likes to take a break at each house and he loves cookies! Year after year when we get up on Christmas morning, we see that he has eaten all his cookies and sometimes he even leaves crumbs! This time I have given you some recipes that I know are his favorites, because he has eaten them at my house.

Rudolph’s raspberry shortbreads

1 cup butter; 2/3 cup sugar; ½ teaspoon almond extract; 2 cups all-purpose flour; ½ cup raspberry jam

Glaze: 1 cup confectioner’s sugar; 2 to 3 teaspoons water; and 1½ teaspoons almond extract

Combine softened butter, sugar and ½ teaspoon almond extract in a bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add flour; beat at low speed, scraping bowl often until well mixed. Cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make indentation in center of each cookie with thumb (edges make crack slightly). Fill each indentation with about ¼ teaspoon jam.

Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute on cookie sheets, remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.

Combine all glaze ingredients in bowl with whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.

Makes 42 cookies.

St. Nick’s strawberry sandwich cookies

1 cup strawberry preserves; ¾ cup butter, softened; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar; 2 cups all-purpose flour; ¼ teaspoon salt; and coarse grain decorator sugar, if desired.

Place strawberry preserves into food processor bowl fitted with metal blade. Cover, pulse until smooth and pureed. Set 1/3 cup aside.

Combine butter and vanilla extract in a bowl, beat at medium speed until creamy. Add powdered sugar, beat until combined. Add reserved 1/3 cup preserves. Beat until well mixed. Add flour and salt; beat at low speed until combined.

Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a ball; flatten slightly. Wrap each in plastic food wrap; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Roll out dough, one ball at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated) on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with 2 ½ inch cookie cutter. Cut out center from half of cookies using smaller decorative cookie cutter. Place cookies, 1-inch apart, onto prepared cookie sheets.

Sprinkle cookies with center cut-out with decorator sugar, if desired. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.

Spread remaining preserves onto bottom-side of cookies without cut-out, top each with cookie with center cut-out, bottom side down.

Makes 24 cookies.

Rudolph’s cherry almond roll ups

½ cup butter, softened; 3 ounces cream cheese, softened; 1/8 teaspoon almond extract; ¼ teaspoon nutmeg; ¼ teaspoon salt; and 1 cup all-purpose flour;

Filling: ¼ cup sugar; ¼ cup cherry jam or preserves; 1 teaspoon nutmeg; 1/3 cup finely chopped slivered almonds; 1/3 cup finely chopped dried cherries; and powdered sugar, if desired.

Combine butter, cream cheese, almond extract, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and salt in a bowl; beat at medium speed until well mixed. Add flour and beat at low speed until mixture forms dough.

Shape dough in ball and flatten slightly. Wrap in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Place sugar, jam and 1 teaspoon nutmeg in small food processor bowl fitted with metal blade; pulse until smooth.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, to 13-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Spread jam mixture evenly over dough, leaving 1/2–inch border around edges. Sprinkle chopped almonds and dried cherries over jam.

Cut circle into 16 wedges. Roll up each wedge, beginning at wide end. Place cookies onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Cool completely. Dust with confectioner’s sugar, if desired.

Makes 16 cookies.

With these recipes you will be ready for Santa. And, he will be thrilled. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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