Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cookie workshop

This week Will and I wrapped up a four-session cookie bake-off that we carried out over the course of two weeks. One of my fondest childhood memories of the holiday season is the platter of Christmas cookies we sampled each night. My mom typically made at least six varieties. This year I used her recipes for sugar cookies, magic cookie bars and fudge. And I found this classic gingerbread recipe online.

We had fun with each variation of cookie making (Will helped with all but the fudge). But as much as Will enjoyed the rolling pin and cookie cutters, I think I’ll be abstaining from all baking that requires cookie cutters until at least Valentine’s Day. These cookie projects turn into two-hour marathons and I’m exhausted at the end.

At the end of a gingerbread man cut-out session, I let Will invent his own recipe with a remaining scrap of dough. He chose to add water and flour to it, roll it out and then beat it on the cutting board like so.

Of our four cookie varieties this year, my personal favorites are probably the magic cookie bars (really more appropriate for adults because they are evil, sticky-gooey goodness) – in part because they required no rolling and cutting. In making the graham cracker crust for them, Will discovered the joy of smashing graham crackers to smithereens with a rolling pin.
Here’s the recipe, in case you’re looking to gain a few pounds:
Magic Cookie Bars
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs mixed with ½ cup melted butter
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coconut
1 can Eagle brand milk

Pat graham cracker crumb-butter mixture into a greased 13x9 pan with a fork, then with fingers. Then sprinkle the walnuts, then the chocolate chips, then the coconut over all. Pour the can of Eagle brand milk over all. Bake at 350 until brown around the edges – about 30 minutes. Cut into squares right away, but don’t take them out until they’ve cooled.
Any favorite Christmas cookie recipes to share?

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