Magazine article Sunset

If You Want Pretty Party Cookies

Magazine article Sunset

If You Want Pretty Party Cookies

Article excerpt

If you want pretty party cookies Are you planning an event with light refreshments to honor a bride or mark some other special occasion? Pretty make-ahead cookies may be the answer. With big, stemmed strawberries, champagne or a fragrant tea, and these five cookies ready to pull from the freezer, you are well equipped to play the host.

The first four cookies are all variations on a good butter dough. The most basic is the plain dough shaped into little logs and studded at one end with chocolate bits and almonds to resemble spoons.

Replace some of the flour with rye flour to make brown crunchy rabbits, pigs, or posies--or whatever your selection of cooky cutters provides.

For a fresh variation on ribbon cookies, flavor the dough with anise seed and bake in strips. Fill with jam and glaze with an anise-flavored icing.

As a final twist, instead of creaming the butter and sugar, brown the butter before adding to the dough to develop a rich toasted flavor and aroma. The round cookies have a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

In Norway, heart-shaped waffles are traditional treats. Here, we take the same batter and bake tiny dollops of dough in the waffle iron to make wonderfully crisp cooky-waffles.

The cookies and waffles are delicious freshly baked, or they can be stored in the freezer until time to serve.

Almond Spoons 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature 1/2 cup sugar 1 large egg yolk 3 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate baking bits 2/3 cup whole unblanched almonds

With an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar until smoothly blended. Mix in egg yolk, then smoothly beat in flour.

Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls, then roll each ball between your palms to make a 1/4-inch-thick log. Lay logs at least 1 inch apart on ungreased baking pans (you'll need 2 or 3 pans, 10- by 15-in. size). With your finger or an almond, make an impression in 1 end of each log.

Bake cookies in a 350[deg.] oven until golden on bottom, about 8 minutes; if using more than 1 pan in the oven, switch the pan positions halfway through baking.

Quickly place 1 piece chocolate in each cooky impression. Return to the oven to soften chocolate, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven and push 1 almond into chocolate on each cooky. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

Serve, or store airtight up to overnight at room temperature; freeze to store longer. Makes 8 to 9 dozen.

Rye Rabbits

Make dough for almond spoons, preceding, adding to butter and sugar 1/2 cup dark molasses, 2 teaspoons each ground cinnamon and ground cardamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Use only 1 cup all-purpose flour and add 2 cups rye flour.

Omit chocolate and almonds.

Chill dough if too soft to roll easily. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on a board lightly coated with all-purpose flour. Cut with a rabbit-shaped cutter (or any fancy cooky cutter, 2-in. maximum dimension); place dough cutouts slightly apart on ungreased 10- by 15-inch baking pans.

Bake in a 350[deg.] oven until firm to touch and slightly darker at edges, 10 to 12 minutes; if using more than 1 pan in the oven, switch pan positions halfway through baking. Transfer to racks to cool. Serve, or store as directed for almond spoons. …

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