We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cookie Recipe #45 - Pretzel Cookies

Not your typical salty, crunchy pretzel, but just as addicting-it's hard to eat just one. The almond extract gives it a slightly nutty taste. Half of these I rolled in colored sugar; the other half are covered with a glaze and grated chocolate. One is just as good as the other.

Ingredients: 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup butter, softened, 1/2 cup milk, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon almond extract, 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, colored sugar, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 1 tablespoon milk.

Instructions: Mix 1 cup sugar, butter, milk, egg, vanilla and almond extract together in mixing bowl; stir in flour, baking powder and salt until thoroughly incorporated. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Divide 1 part into 12 equal pieces (keep remaining dough covered). Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of colored sugar on board and roll each piece of dough on sugared board into pencil-like strip, about 10 inches long. Twist into pretzel shape on ungreased cookie sheet. Do this with half of the dough. With the other half, sprinkle flour on board and roll into strips as others and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned.

To make icing, beat powdered sugar, almond extract and milk in small bowl until well combined. Spread over the unsugared cookies and if desired, grate chocolate over each. Or, you can tint the icing any color you wish and put sprinkles on each cookie.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies (Betty Crocker's Cookie Book, published by Golden Press, New York, in 1981).

Cookies Rule!!!

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