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Vanilla Holiday Cookies
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, sugar, and salt with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low; beat in vanilla. Turn off the mixer, add the flour all at once. With the mixer on low, beat just until the flour disappears into dough (dough may appear crumbly). Using your hands, work dough into a ball; divide in half.
- Working with one dough piece at a time, roll between sheets of parchment or waxed paper to 1/4-inch thickness. Freeze between the paper for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Working with one dough piece at a time; let stand at room temperature 5 minutes. Using a 2-inch cutter, cut into shapes. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Gather scraps; repeat rolling and freezing, if necessary, between waxed paper.
- Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies feel almost firm to the touch and are golden on the bottom and around the sides. Remove; cool on wire racks. Decorate as desired. Makes 24 cookies.
From the Test Kitchen
Cocoa Sandwich Cookies:
Prepare dough as above, except whisk 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder into the flour before adding to the butter mixture. (Dough may be a little stiffer.) Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness between waxed or parchment paper, freeze 30 minutes. Cut dough as above using a 1 1/2-inch scalloped cookie cutter. Arrange 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 375 degrees F oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on wire racks. Just before serving, spread the bottoms of all of the cookies with 1/2 teaspoon chocolate-hazelnut spread. Sprinkle half of the cookies with toasted coconut. Place the remaining cookies, spread-side down, on top of coconut to make sandwiches. Makes about 50 sandwiches.
Nutrition analysis per serving: 89 calories, 1 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 5 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 7 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 6 g total sugar, 2% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 27 mg sodium, 1% calcium, 2% iron
Prepare dough as above, except whisk 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and a pinch of ground cloves into the flour before adding to butter mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in granulated sugar to coat. Arrange 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Press an indent in each ball with your thumb. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottom edges just start to brown. Remove cookie sheet to a wire rack. Repress indents, if necessary with the rounded side of a measuring spoon. Fill indents with 1/2 teaspoon apricot preserves, orange marmalade, or desired jam. Cool on the wire rack. Makes about 42 cookies.
Nutrition analysis per serving: 73 calories, 1 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 3 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 9 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 5 g total sugar, 2% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 28 mg sodium, 0% calcium, 2% iron
Toasted Nut Biscotti:
Prepare as above, except place 1 cup blanched almonds, pecans, or walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake nuts in a 350 degrees F oven for 8 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are lightly browned and fragrant. Cool to room temperature, then finely chop. Stir nuts into the dough when the flour is almost incorporated. Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 10-inch log that is 1 1/2-inches wide. Arrange logs 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly press each log to a 2-inch-wide log. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet on a wire rack for 1 hour. Using a serrated knife, cut each log crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick bias slices. Arrange, cut sides down, on the cookie sheet. Bake in a 300 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes per side or until lightly toasted. Cool on a wire rack. If desired, dip half of each slice in 6 ounces melted dark chocolate. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons additional finely chopped toasted nuts before chocolate sets. Makes about 30 slices.
Nutrition analysis per serving: 114 calories, 2 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 7 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 4 g total sugar, 3% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 38 mg sodium, 1% calcium, 3% iron
Prepare as above, except put the sugar into the mixing bowl with the finely shredded zest of 1 1/2 lemons or 1 orange (about 1 Tbsp.). Using your fingers, rub the ingredients together until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the salt and butter and continue as above. If desired, add a tiny drip of pure lemon or orange oil to the beaten mixture before adding the flour. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of dough. Shape into 3-inch logs, then curve into crescent shapes. Arrange 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 350 degrees F. oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove and cool 2 minutes on a wire rack. While warm, dip cookies in 1 cup powdered sugar to coat. Cool completely. Roll again in powdered sugar again to coat. Makes about 42 crescents.
Nutrition analysis per serving: 72 calories, 1 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 3 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 9 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 5 g total sugar, 2% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 27 mg sodium, 0% calcium, 2% iron
Nutrition Facts (Vanilla Holiday Cookies)
- Per serving:
- 106 kcal cal.,
- 6 g fat
- (4 g sat. fat,
- 0 g polyunsaturated fat,
- 2 g monounsatured fat),
- 15 mg chol.,
- 47 mg sodium,
- 12 g carb.,
- 0 g fiber,
- 4 g sugar,
- 1 g pro.
- Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet