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, March 16, 2010

Cookie Recipe #73 - Cream Cheese Shamrocks

The next two days will bring shamrocks of luck your way. Make a wish before you eat one and see what happens...

These 3-leaf clovers contain cream cheese giving them a soft, creamy flavor with light brown, slightly crispy bases. An almond-flavored frosting is added to the cooled cookies in any design you like. Don't leave any out on the counter overnight or the leprechauns may steal them!

Ingredients: 1 cup butter, softened, 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder. Frosting: 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, 4-5 teaspoons milk, food coloring, if desired.

Instructions: In large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese; add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and almond extract; beat well. In small bowl, combine flour and baking powder together then gradually add to creamed mixture. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring to the dough and mix well (I used green).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough, half at a time, to 1/8 thickness on lightly floured surface (I used powdered sugar rather than flour). Cut out shamrocks (or desired shapes) with cutters dipped in flour (or powdered sugar). Place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool on baking sheets for a minute or two before transferring to cooling racks.

Almond Frosting: In small bowl, beat powdered sugar, softened butter and almond extract until smooth. Beat in milk until blended. Add a few drops of food coloring, if desired. Place in decorator bag and pipe decorations on cookies or spread frosting on cookies with a knife or spatula and top with candy sprinkles.

Makes about 4-5 dozen shamrocks.

"Treasury of Holiday Cookies" published by Publications International, Ltd, Lincolnwood, IL, in 1994.

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