Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Ovens

Christmas cookie makers, I have noticed, tend to fall into two categories; rollers and droppers. The spousal unit lovingly prepares batches of sugar cookies, cut out with our very eclectic cookie cutter selection (sure, we have stars and bells and reindeer, but we also have a pig, a dinosaur and of course, a German Shepherd).

I, on the other hand, seek instant gratification, and can’t be bothered with the rolling, cutting, rerolling, sugar sprinkling, and whatnot. Drop cookies, says I, and when I saw this book last weekend in a Detroit area Sally Ann for ninety-nine cents, I had to buy it.

(It was a great store. I was with my youngest sister and it was on Plymouth and we were heading back to Canton from Dearborn, more than that I cannot tell you. She was driving. I like driving with women. When one shouts, “There’s a thrift store, pull over!” another woman will immediately comply but a husband, unless he is unusually well trained, will not. Particularly if he is three-quarters Scotch).

Here are some of the recipes I want to try. Remember when packing cookies for shipping (say, to Qatar where one of my nephews will be spending the holiday season) that drop cookies and bar cookies travel best.

Brown Sugar Pecan Rounds

1 ¼ cups packed brown sugar
½ c. butter, softened
1 egg
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ t baking soda
1/8 t salt
½ c. coarsely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix brown sugar, butter and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet (the dough will flatten and spread). Bake until set, 12 to 15 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.

The book notes that you can make this with self-rising flour but omit the baking soda and salt. It also mentions margarine instead of butter. Bleah.

Coconut Meringues

4 egg whites
1 ¼ c sugar
½ t vanilla
1/4/t salt
2 ½ c shredded or flaked coconut

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Beat egg whites in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in sugar gradually; continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not underbeat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop by generous teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto waxed paper-lined or lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake until set and delicate brown, about 20 minutes. Immediately remove from waxed paper. About 3 dozen.

Soft Molasses Drops

1 c sugar
1 c shortening
½ c molasses
1 egg
3 c all purpose flour
¾ c dairy sour cream
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix sugar, shortening, molasses and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 8 minutes. About 5 dozen.

(if we had any sour cream in the house, I would try these molasses cookies now. For years I have sought my own personal Grail, the Ultimate Soft Molasses-Ginger Drop Cookie, and I am still looking).


Anonymous said...

Yum.. yum.. yum.. the pecan ones is a must try.. thanks for sharing.
I had to laugh when you said that about our hub's.. mine HATES to stop unless he has to potty and then it's run for the door and hurry back to the car. Don't even think of stopping for a thrift store or flea market.

Shay said...

I once leaped out of the car at a stop light in Lake Winnepesaukee because I had seen a yarn store and I knew better than to ask him to stop.

Lidian said...

Those are great recipes. I love drop cookies because you can just, well, drop em. I am not a fan of the rolling and cutting and so on.

And I will always stop for a thrift store!

Christine said...

Seeing this brought back such memories! My mother had an older edition of this book (from the early 1960's, I think) and every Christmas we would make several kinds of cookies using these recipes. There was a picture of red and white striped candy cane cookies on the front and I always wanted to try to make them, but when I finally did they were horrible. That was our only bad experience with the book, though!