Sunday, November 19, 2006

Christmas Cookies

'Tis the season when thoughts turn to baking up scrumptious goodies like Christmas cookies.

Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of the modern classics THE CAKE BIBLE and THE BREAD BIBLE, wrote an entire volume exclusively on Christmas cookies, which was first published in 1998. This will be the first year I delve into it. My 11-year-old has been going through the pages with Post-its selecting her favorites to try. It's hard to choose!

The brand-new magazine from Taste of Home, Best Loved Cookies and Bars, is another visual delight, filled with tempting recipes. It's pricey at $9.99, but this is really a cookbook, not a magazine, and as such the price is well worth it. I found my copy at the local grocery store.

Cook's Illustrated also has a special Holiday Baking Issue ($6.99). It doesn't have lovely color photography, but that is more than compensated for by Cook's Illustrated's reliability. I haven't had one of their recipes let me down yet.

Although not specifically Christmas baking books, the reissued replica editions of Betty Crocker's COOKY BOOK and COOKBOOK FOR BOYS AND GIRLS have fabulous recipes.

The Betty Crocker recipe for Molasses Crinkles, found in each of these books, has been a holiday favorite of mine since I first found it as a little girl in my BETTY CROCKER'S NEW BOYS AND GIRLS COOKBOOK, first published in 1970. I still cook out of that book today. I usually make a double batch of the Molasses Crinkles, dipping half the cookies in sugar prior to baking, and frosting the other half with icing made from powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. These cookies freeze really well and can thus be made now and saved for Christmas gatherings or gifts.

Happy cookie dreams...


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