Contributed by: Chris WebAdmin. of RecipesNow.com
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.
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: http://www.1001recipes2send.com/db/detail_pageb.cgi?ID=2228
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
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 temperature.
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.
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