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!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cookie Recipe #349 - Eggnog Bears

These cute little bears have a golden tummy consisting of crushed butterscotch hard candies. Eggnog is a welcome addition to this sugar cookie and is finalized with an eggnog glaze.

Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2/3 cup butter, softened, 1 slightly beaten egg, 1/4 cup dairy eggnog, 1/2 cup finely crushed butterscotch-or rum-flavored hard candies (about twenty-five 1-inch candies). Eggnog Glaze: 3 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon rum extract (or vanilla), 2-3 tablespoons dairy eggnog (or more).

Instructions: In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Using a pastry blender (or your fingers), cut in butter until the pieces are the size of small peas. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, combine egg and eggnog. Add all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until combined. Cover and chill dough about 2 hours or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil; set aside. On a well floured surface, roll dough until 1/4 inch thick. Using floured 2 1/2-inch cookie cutters (I used a bear), cut into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Cut small shapes (I used a heart) out of cookie centers. Fill each center cutout with some of the crushed candy.

Bake in preheated 375 degrees oven for 6-8 minutes or until edges are firm and lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before sliding cookies still on foil onto heatproof surface to cool completely.

Make Eggnog Glaze: In a medium bowl, stir together sifted powdered sugar and rum extract (or vanilla). Add enough eggnog to make of drizzling consistency. Drizzle generously over each cookie and allow to set.

Carefully remove cookies from foil by sliding an offset metal spatula (or knife) under each with a sawing motion.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

"Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies", Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, IA, 2003.

Cookies Rule!!!

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