Friday, December 7, 2012

Veronica's Christmas Cookies

We are having a party next Saturday night.   Since I have more time, and less money, we are making a collective effort to make food ahead of time. Today, I came home from doing the Mary's Center family Christmas shopping with my brother, and in a  burst of energy decided to crank out the cookies.
These are standard roll out, cookie cutter cookies. They don't have to be chilled for hours. When I went to the drawer that houses the aluminum foil, wax paper, etc., I discovered a miracle product that had been lurking in my kitchen unrecognized for probably a couple of years.
The miracle produce is If You Care Silicone Coated Parchment  Baking Paper. Being silicone coated means the cook doesn't have to grease it. It is perfect for rolling out dough. I rarely am successful rolling out dough. It sticks,  breaks up, and is way too sticky because I always feel the dough is too dry  and won't coalesce. This time, even though the dough was not coalescing, I was careful to add only about a quarter of a cup of milk to the dough.  It worked  beautifully.
I climbed up on the little black stool  my father-in-law made for my husband when he was a child and dug out the cookie cutters. Our cookie cutters are somewhat idiosyncratic. I found a Santa Claus, a pig, a rabbit and a  bell. Now, Santa Claus and the bell are seasonal. The pig was for my son, who announced when he was about three that he was Baby Pig. "I have trotters," he announced. "I have snout. I have curly tail." The rabbit was for my husband whose private nickname, for reasons better not divulged, is Bunnies.
I rolled and cut and rolled and cut.  Half  way through, I examined the recipe again and started decorating the pigs with a wreath of candied cherry around their necks. The bunnies got red eyes , and Santa got a red tip on the end of his hat. These are cute and easy. Pay close attention to the amount of flour you add. I may have been too generous. I found that they needed to  bake for 12 minutes to be lightly browned.   

Veronica's Christmas Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
5 1/2 cups flour
 1 teaspoon slat
1 teaspoon  baking powder
 chopped candied cherries or citron peel 

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cream the butter, shortening and sugar together until fluffy.  Beat in the egg, vanilla and lemon extract.
3. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder and add to the creamed mixture. Stir with a spoon or with the hand to incorporate the flour.
4. The dough can be rolled out immediately or chilled for a short period and then rolled.
5.Roll out one-sixth of the dough at a time on a lightly floured board (or  If  You Care Parchment Baking Paper)   to one-quarter-inch thickness . Cut with small, fancy cookie cutters, and place on a  lightly greased baking sheet. Decorate each cookie with a piece of candied cherry or citron peel.
6. Bake ten minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on a rack . Store in an airtight tin or jar. The cookies will keep a week to ten days. Makes about 350 one inch cookies (These are extremely tiny cookies.   Most cookie cutters will make larger cookies.)                                                                                      \\

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