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CYNTHIA STONE: Get ready for your second cookie swap

Bakers, get your cookie sheets ready… —
Bakers, get your cookie sheets ready… — 123RF Stock Photo

We’ve done the fancy now it’s time for the drops — drop cookies, I mean.

 

These don’t always get the respect they deserve because they sit next to ooey-gooey chocolatey layered squares, but superior texture and simple flavour in a great drop cookie elevate a mixed plate and are a great addition to your cookie swap.

Soft and Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

These beat anything you can buy this time of year at the local coffee shop. Their crispy edges showcase the treacly flavour while the tender middles provide the perfect chew.

If you like a sugar coating on your cookies, roll the dough in granulated sugar before baking.

This recipe makes 24 large cookies.

  • ¾ cup soft unsalted butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. salt, (halve if using salted butter)

Cream butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and creamy, 3 or 4 minutes. Don’t shortcut the creaming. If the butter is a bit too firm to take in the sugar completely, microwave the bowl for 10 seconds and beat the mixture again. You can microwave another 10 seconds, but don’t push your luck beyond that or you might melt the butter. Beat in egg, molasses and vanilla.

Whisk or sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and salt and stir into creamed mixture until there are no streaks of dry ingredients.

Divide batter into 24 and roll into balls. Place on 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets at least 2 inches apart and bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes, until starting to brown lightly. For crispier cookies, bake another 2 minutes or so. Let them rest on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then remove them to a rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

You need this recipe because they look great on a cookie tray and taste fantastic with a glass of milk or cup of coffee. And they’re easy. What more do you want in the frantic run-up to the holidays?

Makes 24 cookies.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt (halve if using salted butter)
  • 1-1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 oz. (squares) unsweetened chocolate
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup icing sugar

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat or whisk brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and airy. Set aside.

Melt chocolate with butter, cool a few minutes then stir into sugar-egg mixture. Add dry ingredients and stir until there are no streaks.

Divide batter into 24 and roll into balls. Place granulated and icing sugar in two bowls. Roll the balls first in granulated then in icing sugar. Place about two inches apart on 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets and bake at 325 F for 12 minutes, until tops crack. The spaces between the cracks should still look gooey but they are done — don’t overbake these. Cool completely on baking sheets before removing. You can bake two trays at the same time but flip them around halfway if you do. I had better success with just one in the oven at a time.

Walnut Icebox Cookies

These aren’t technically drop cookies but I think I can stretch the definition enough to include them here. They were one of my mother’s favourite holiday cookies because they froze so well, as dough or baked, and they were always delicious.

Walnuts are my choice because they add a tiny edge of bitterness to the sweet dough, but substitute any chopped nuts you like.

The butter adds flavor while the shortening enhances texture, so I recommend you use both.

A batch makes a lot — between 4 and 5 dozen  — but they are not meant to be large.

  • ¾ cup soft unsalted butter
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. salt, halved if using salted butter
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts

Cream butter, shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda and add to creamed mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Stir in walnuts.

Shape into two logs about 2 inches in diameter and cover tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least overnight but up to 6 days. You can also freeze the dough at this point.

With a sharp knife, slice about 1/8 inch thick and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes, until starting to turn golden brown. Remove from tray immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Cynthia Stone is an information manager and writer in St. John’s. Email questions to cynthia.stone@nf.sympatico.ca.

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