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Hearthbeats: Recipes from a kitchen witch

hearth

Merry Yule and a wonderful winter season to you all. This time of year in the Northern Hemi we are preparing for the snow and the cold and the season of sleep for Mother Earth. This is the shortest day and longest night of the year. We welcome the rebirth of the Sun with feasting, dancing, music and festivities. Decorations include wreaths, boughs of holly, mistletoe, evergreens, and lots of lights.

In the Southern Hemi you are settling into summer, on the longest day of the year, with the Sun at its highest point in the sky, Pagans rejoice in the Sun’s life-giving warmth and ability to make things grow.

In this article I am going to be sharing some wonderful cookie recipes. Mostly for Yule, but can be used whenever.

Almond cutout cookies

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Red and green colored sugar and/or sprinkles, optional

Directions

  • In a small bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg and extracts; mix well. Combine the flour, cornstarch, almonds, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture just until blended. Shape into two balls. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut out with lightly floured 2-1/2-in. cutters. Place on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with colored sugar and/or sprinkles if desired.
  • Bake at 350° for 7-9 minutes or until set and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. Yield: 28 cookies.

Anise Butter cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup thawed orange juice concentrate
  • 4 teaspoons aniseed, crushed
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and 1-1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in orange juice concentrate and aniseed. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  • Combine the cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over cookies. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Yield: 5 dozen.

Austrian Nut cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • FROSTING:
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • Slivered almonds

Directions

  • In a bowl, combine flour, chopped almonds and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Form into a ball; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • On a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a 2-in. round cutter and place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 7-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Spread 1/2 teaspoon jam on half of the cookies; top with another cookie.
  • For frosting, combine chocolate, confectioners’ sugar and butter. Spread on tops of cookies. Decorate with slivered almonds. Yield: 20 sandwich cookies.

Browned-Butter sandwich spritz cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions

  • In a small heavy saucepan, cook and stir butter over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  • Set aside 2 tablespoons browned butter for filling. In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and remaining browned butter until smooth. Beat in the egg, yolk and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  • Using a cookie press fitted with the disk of your choice, press dough 2 in. apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-9 minutes or until set (do not brown). Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • In a small heavy saucepan, bring syrup to a boil. Cool slightly. Whisk in remaining confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat reserved browned butter until light and fluffy. Beat in syrup mixture until smooth.
  • Spread 1 teaspoon of filling over the bottom of half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies. Yield: about 3 dozen.

Chewy Oatmeal cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup each raisins and chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, molasses and vanilla; beat well. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the raisins, pecans and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets.
  • Bake at 350° for 9-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes before removing to wire rack. Yield: about 5 dozen.

Brownie cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  • In a bowl, beat the sugar, egg, oil, chocolate and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Chill for at least 2 hours.
  • Shape dough into 1-in. balls; roll in confectioners’ sugar. Place 2 in. apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks. Yield: about 1 dozen.
  • Note: Dough will be sticky. Dip hands in confectioners’ sugar when shaping dough into balls.

A cheating way to make brownie cookies is to use brownie mix follow the directions but omit the water. Place by the tablespoon and bake for 8-9 minutes(less if you want them chewy)

Chocolate mint fantasies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • ICING:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 to 2 drops green food coloring
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • DRIZZLE:
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon shortening

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in chocolate and extract. Gradually add flour and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. (Dough will be soft.)
  • Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 6-8 minutes or until firm. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, extract, food coloring and enough milk to achieve desired consistency; spread over cooled cookies. Let set. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cookies. Yield: 4 dozen.

Cinnamon Snap cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Additional sugar

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Roll into 1-in. balls, then roll in additional sugar.
  • Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set and tops are cracked. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 4-1/2 dozen.

Cracked cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  • In a bowl, combine the sugar, egg, oil, chocolate and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill dough for at least 2 hours.
  • With sugared hands, shape dough into 1-in. balls. Roll in confectioners’ sugar. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Yield: about 1-1/2 dozen.

Coffee cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup instant coffee granules
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Additional sugar

Directions

  • In a bowl, combine sugar and oil. Dissolve coffee in water; add to sugar mixture and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the sugar mixture.
  • Roll into 3/4-in. balls, then roll in additional sugar. Place 2 in. apart on lightly greased baking sheets; flatten with a fork. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: about 5 dozen.

Pecan Crescent moons

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • FILLING/TOPPING:
  • 1-1/2 cups ground pecans, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg white, beaten

Directions

  • In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine the egg, yolk and vanilla; add to flour mixture. Shape dough into a ball. Chill for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  • Meanwhile, for filling, combine 1-1/4 cups pecans, 1/4 cup sugar, peel and milk; set aside. Divide dough into four portions; shape each into 12 balls. Flatten each ball into a 2-1/2-in. circle; top each with a scant teaspoon of filling. Fold dough over filling; seal edges. Curve ends to form crescents.
  • Place on ungreased baking sheets. Combine remaining pecans and sugar. Brush egg white over tops; sprinkle with pecan mixture. Bake at 350° for 17-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 4 dozen.

Rugalach

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • FILLING:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Divide dough into fourths. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  • Roll out each portion between two sheets of waxed paper into a 12-in. circle. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Brush each circle with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle each with 3 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar and 2 tablespoons pecans. Cut each into 12 wedges.
  • Roll up wedges from the wide end; place pointed side down 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Curve ends to form a crescent shape. Bake at 350° for 24-26 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Brush warm cookies with remaining butter; sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar. Yield: 4 dozen.

Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar.
  • Shape dough into 1-in. balls; roll in cinnamon-sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Happy Hearth and Blessed eating…
Until next month

The Heartkeeper