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, December 21, 2010

Cookie Recipe #353 - Eggnog Thumbprints

The smell of nutmeg will fill your house and make it smell like Christmas.

Ingredients: 3/4 cup butter, softened, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 egg yolks, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 slightly beaten egg whites, 1 cup finely chopped walnuts. Rum filling: 1/4 cup softened butter, 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon rum or 1/4 teaspoon rum extract, 1-2 teaspoons milk, ground nutmeg for sprinkling.

Instructions: In a large mixing bowl beat butter for 30 seconds. Add sugar and the 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour until thoroughly mixed. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in egg whites; roll in chopped walnuts to coat. Place balls about 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Press your thumb or finger into the center of each ball to form an indentation.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Make filling: In a small bowl beat softened butter; add powdered sugar until fluffy. Beat in rum or rum extract and enough milk to make of spreading consistency.

Just before serving, pipe or spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of filling into the center of each cookie. Sprinkle with additional nutmeg.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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

Cookies Rule!!!

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