Sylvania Bakes: 2018 Holiday Cookie Collection – Part 1

–by Jennifer Ruple
PUBLICATION DATE: December 04, 2018

Jennifer Ruple

Many of us have fond memories of our moms and grandmothers baking batches of cookies in preparation for the holiday season. From traditional cut-out sugar cookies to modern treats such as salted caramel chocolate chip cookies, everyone has a favorite that they’d sneak from the big silver tray on the dining room table. Although I haven’t had one in a very long time, my favorite was a cream cheese cookie my grandma would make by pushing dough through a cookie press with a tree-shaped attachment. Food coloring made the tree cookies green, and they were finished simply with colorful sprinkles, or “jimmies” if you were born in Philadelphia.
The holiday cookie tradition continues with folks baking for cookie exchanges, bake sales, school parties, gift giving, and of course, Santa! Perhaps you’d like to try something new to add to your family’s list of favorites. Here are a handful of beloved cookie recipes from some of the best Sylvania-area bakers and chefs. Look for more recipes in the mid-December issue. Happy baking!

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Patt Morr – The Pie Lady

“The reason I love these cookies so much is they just look like Christmas with their red raspberry color and the sugar glistening on them is like snow,” said Morr.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
⅓  cup granulated sugar
⅓  cup light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar (for rolling the cookie balls in)
Seedless raspberry preserves

Heat oven to 375 F. In a mixing bowl, place butter and beat until creamy. Scrape sides of the bowl. Add both sugars. Beat on medium to high speed for approximately one minute. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat well.
In a separate bowl, add flour, cornstarch and salt. Whisk together. You can finish working the dough together with your hands if it starts to strain your mixer. I use a stand mixer without any difficulty, but a hand mixer is fine.

Scoop the cookie dough into tablespoon sized balls and roll the dough so there aren’t any cracks. Then roll in the granulated sugar and place on a small parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Once the balls are done, use the back of your thumb or the rounded back of a measuring spoon to make an indentation in the center of the cookie dough. Transfer them to a parchment lined or silicone mat baking sheets.

Place the cookie sheets into the freezer for 30 minutes. Once the dough is chilled, put the preserves into each thumbprint filling to the brim. Make sure the cookies are 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

Bake for 13 minutes or until the edges are beginning to turn golden brown. Allow them to cool completely on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack.

Allergen Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chef Casey Johnson – Fifth Street Pub Sylvania

Chef Johnson realizes that holidays can be hard on people who have dietary restrictions. “I created a completely allergen free chocolate chip cookie, which I promise is better than Toll House. You would never know it’s gluten, dairy and egg free,” he said.

Yield: 24 cookies
1 cup tahini
1 cup granulated sugar
⅔ cup brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ teaspoons Kosher salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
1 cup dairy free (vegan) dark chocolate chips
1 cup dairy free (vegan) chocolate chunks

Heat oven to 375 F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Combine tahini, sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for a couple minutes, scraping down with a rubber spatula once or twice. Mixture will be crumbly, not creamy.

Add the applesauce, water and vanilla extract. Continue to mix on medium for another couple minutes, again scraping every so often. The mixture will look glossy.

Add the salt and baking soda. Mix on low just to combine. Add the flour and mix until almost combined. Now add the chocolate chips and mix again.

Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the prepared sheet pans.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes until the edges are turning golden brown but the centers are still tender.

Let cool on the tray for a few minutes before using a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack.

Repeat the above with the remaining dough.

Walnut and Pecan Ma’amoul
Corinne Cassis – Sitto’s Bakery

“Although these cookies are a bit time consuming to make, they are beautiful and delicious. They are perfect for special occasions,” said Cassis.

3 ½ cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 ½ cups farina
1 tablespoon ground mahlab (found in any Middle Eastern store)
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups melted rendered butter or ghee
1 teaspoon dry yeast
3 cups warm water
1 cup warm milk

1 cup ground walnuts
1 cup ground pecans
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
2 cups confectioners sugar for dusting on top of baked cookie

Combine flour, farina, mahlab and salt. Pour in warm melted butter and combine. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

In meantime, proof yeast, and after 15 minutes, combine yeast and warm milk to dough until beautiful soft dough comes together. You may need to add a bit more flour.

Cover bowl with towels to keep dough warm and let it rest 1 ½ hours.
Finely grind walnuts, pecans and sugar together and put in bowl. Add orange blossom water and mix well.

Once dough has rested and doubled in size, pinch off 1 ounce dough balls. Make sure to keep the dough covered while weighing out dough balls.
Heat oven to 375 F.

Roll dough into a small circle, cup in hand and fill with 1 teaspoon nut mixture. Seal cookie tightly so nuts stay secure. Flatten slightly on a cookie sheet.

Place cookies on cookie sheet and bake for 18 minutes until slightly brown on bottom of cookie.

Immediately remove cookies and allow to cool on cooling racks. Once completely cooled, dust cookies with confectioners sugar.

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