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Article: "Christmas Cookies with The King Arthur Flour
          Cookie Companion"
Author: Chris Sadler
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Copyright:  2004 Chris Sadler
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Christmas Cookies with The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion

by Chris Sadler -

Everyone has fond memories of warm cookies straight from the
oven. The warmth of the cookie, the sweet taste in your mouth, I
have never met someone without a favourite cookie, many of them
centered around the holiday season. Lets face it, even your real
estate agent will tell you to bake cookies to sell your home
faster and for more money. But with hundreds of different
varieties of cookies, it can be just a little daunting trying to
come up with something new for your holiday gatherings and/or the
yearly cookie exchange.

Never fear, The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion is here.
Subtitled "The Essential Cookie Cookbook" this tome is not only
full of wonderful recipes but is stuffed full of tips, diagrams,
and answers to all of your cookie questions. The recipes in the
collection are not simply a hodge podge of interesting cookies,
these recipes were carefully researched and tested with only the
best and most sought-after, the essentials, included.

The essential cookies were broken down into nine separate
categories; Chocolate Chip, Sugar, Oatmeal, Molasses, Peanut
Butter, Shortbread, Biscotti, Brownies and Decorated Cookies. So
many different ways to bake a similar cookie required not just
one or two different recipes but no less than 11 pages of recipes
and tips per essential cookie type. The rest of the book is
dedicated to Bars & Squares, Drop Cookies, Roll-Out Cookies,
Shaped Cookies, Batter Cookies, No-Bake Cookies, The Finishing
Touch and a detailed section on Ingredients.

As they did with The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, the
book is full of information to help you along at every step.
Detailed drawings demonstrate various techniques such as folding,
freezing cookie dough, leveling and more. The multitude of
available cooking utensils available are discussed and
illustrated, there is even a step by step illustration for
packaging cookies for transportation.

It is always, in my opinion, the little extras that make a
cookbook great. The extras in this case are enough to justify the
purchase of this cookbook, even if there were no recipes
included. The incredibly detailed drawings for how to decorated
cookies make it easy enough for even the beginner baker to figure
out. For anyone, beginner to expert, The King Arthur Flour Cookie
Companion will become your Essential Cookie Cookbook.

Looking for a special cookie for your holiday gathering or cookie
exchange? Don't miss the Holiday Cookie Exchange online at:

Try this favourite:

Roll-Out Sugar Cookies

Often sugar cookies are fat and soft, the cumulus clouds of
cookiedom. But when you roll out the dough rather than drop it
from a spoon, you reach the other extreme: thin and crisp. Make
them just a bit thicker, and you've got crunchy. These golden
cookies pair nicely with ice cream or fresh fruit. The dough is
sturdy enough to be cut into fanciful shapes and decorated.

Yield: About 3-1/2 Dozen

Baking temperature: 350 degrees - Baking time: 10 to 12 minutes

1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) butter
1 cup (7-1/4 ounces) sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 large egg
1/4 cup heavy cream or sour cream
3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) cornstarch
3 cups (12-3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, baking
powder and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add the egg
and beat well. Add half the cream, all of the cornstarch, and
half the flour; beat well. Add the remaining cream and the flour,
mixing just until all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
Divide the dough in half, flatten each half slightly, and wrap
well. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer, to facilitate rolling.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease (or line with
parchment) two baking sheets.

Lightly dust both sides of the chilled dough with flour. If
you've just taken it out of the refrigerator, allow it to rest at
room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. When you pinch a piece of
dough, it should feel pliable, not break off in a chunk. Trying
to roll ice-cold dough is like trying to flatten an ice-cold
stick of butter; it's more likely to crack and break into pieces
than to roll flat and smooth.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured, clean work surface.
Starting in the middle, and rolling out toward the edges, roll
the dough into a circle 1/2- to 1/4-inch thick. Thinner cookies
will be crisper, thicker cookies will be sturdier.

Using a metal turner, pick up individual cookies, and place them
on the prepared baking sheets. Edge the turner under the cookie,
lift slightly, pull away the scraps around the edge, then give
your hand a gentle jerk to slip the cookie onto the baking sheet.

Put the cookies in the oven, on racks set as close to the middle
as possible. Halfway through the baking time, exchange the pans
on the racks (top to bottom, bottom to top), and turn each pan
around so the cookies that were at the back of the oven are now
at the front. This will help counteract any hot spots you may
have in your oven.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they're set but not
browned. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for 5
minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a rack to
cool completely. Use a metal turner to pick up one cookie; if it
seems fragile or breaks, let the cookies continue to cool till
you can handle them easily. When the cookies are completely cool,
store them in an airtight container or in a plastic bag, at room

Nutrition information per serving (1 cookie, 3lg): 134 cal, 7g
far, 2g protein, l0g complex carbohydrates, 7g sugar, 26mg
cholesterol, 81mg sodium, 21mg potassium, 69RE vitamin A, 1mg
vitamin C, 1mg Iron, 18mg calcium, 22mg phosphorus.

About the Author:
Chris Sadler is Owner and WebAdmin of The
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