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Kitchen Adventures: Cookies for Santa, others on your gift list

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

Whether for Santa, as gifts for friends or just to eat yourself, ’tis the season for making cookies.

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Each year I do a massive amount of Christmas baking for friends and coworkers, and a few for Santa, too.

This year, I used a recipe I’ve had since I graduated high school 20 years ago. The other is a new recipe from a new cookbook that might become a favorite.

The new recipe is in the “Cookies for Grown-ups” cookbook by Kelly Cooper. Her cookies go way beyond the chocolate chip standard and offer a variety of unique ideas.

Cooper called it Late Night Craving. It’s a buttermilk, maple syrup and bacon cookie. At first, that might sound strange, but bacon is the hot thing in baking. It’s being added to a variety of desserts. The old adage rings true with this cookie: bacon truly does make everything better.

This cookie is like popping breakfast in your mouth with the slightly salty taste of bacon added to a touch of sweet syrup. The buttercream frosting gives this cookie an added touch.

It’s not difficult to prepare and tastes great.

My dogs also enjoyed this recipe because I occasionally dropped some bacon on the floor and they scooped it up in a flash.

Pumpkin cookies also are a treat. I first made it in a home economics class and liked the recipe so much I kept it all these years. I can’t remember where the recipe originated other than the class.

It’s also an easy cookie and this recipe makes plenty, so cut the recipe in half if you need a smaller amount. A cream cheese frosting tops this seasonal treat.

If you give cookies as a gift, packaging sometimes is as important as what’s inside. I’ve used boxes, bags and any combination of the two.
This year, I decided to get crafty and make my own containers. I collected Pringles cans throughout the year and many of my co-workers contributed to the project.

Before adding cookies, it’s important to wipe the inside of the containers and let them air out without the top so your cookies don’t smell and taste like Pringles.

Next, wrap the outside of the can with Christmas scrapbook paper or wrapping paper. If you want to get the kids involved, you can use plain colored paper and let them decorate the containers by coloring pictures or adding stickers.

To make double sure the cookies didn’t taste like Pringles, I also placed them in plastic bags before dropping them down in the chip container. It didn’t hold as many cookies as I thought it would, but then again, I like making large cookies so it could have held more normal-sized cookies.

After filling the container, top it off with the lid and wrap with a bow.
Santa, if someone leaves some of these delectable treats for you, then you owe me, big fellow.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Late Night Craving (Buttermilk, maple syrup and bacon)
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
½ cup buttermilk
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8-12 strips cooked bacon (drained and cooled)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Mix in egg, maple syrup and buttermilk. Beat until well blended.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and add to butter mixture. Beat until just incorporated. Crumble cooked bacon and fold into dough.

Scoop or drop dough by one rounded tablespoon portions and place 1½ inches apart on a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Let sit for a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

Frosting
4 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 cup confectioners’ sugar 

Mix together and frost cooled cookies 

Makes four dozen cookies

Recipe from “Cookies for Grown-ups” by Kelly Cooper

Pumpkin Cookies
2 cups shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional) 

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounce package cream cheese
½ stick butter
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup chopped pecans (optional) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the shortening and sugar. Add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and beat well. Stir together flour and next six ingredients. Add to the batter and mix well. If you choose the optional raisins and nuts, stir into mixture.

Drop rounded teaspoons full two inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.
While the cookies are cooling make the frosting.

Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix well. Frost cookies and add pecans if desired. 

Makes seven dozen cookies. 

Recipe from a Home Economics class project circa 1992