Tip of the Week
Many of our fondest childhood memories consist of spending time with friends and family, baking delicious holiday cookies and eyeing the beautifully wrapped presents under the tree.
Embrace nostalgia and create the perfect holiday cookie that tastes delicious and is easy to decorate. Instead of displaying a gingerbread house, cut sugar cookies using some snowman, tree and star cookie cutters to set up a festive and tasty holiday scene. Scatter some coconut shavings or crinkled strips of paper for snow and place holiday candies behind the cookies, so they stand up all night long.
When making holiday cookies, remember to:
• Cream the butter and vanilla together. Doing this beforehand will encapsulate the vanilla and prevent flavor loss.
• Chill the dough in the fridge before shaping it. This will make for a softer, moister cookie that is less likely to spread when baking.
• Remove cookies from the oven a few minutes early, as they will continue to cook on the sheet.
• Let the cookies cool completely before you begin to ice them.
Number to Know
125: Fruitcake made with alcohol is known to last for months or even years, if stored correctly. In 2003, a Michigan man made headlines when he appeared on the Jay Leno show to show off — and share — a fruitcake that had been in his family for 125 years. When Leno tasted the cake, baked by the man’s great-grandmother around 1878, he declared that it needed more time.
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Easy Recipe: Sugar Cookie Bars
Ingredients: 3 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar 1 egg + 1 egg yolk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cookie directions: Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper so paper overhangs edges. In a large bowl, stir flour with baking powder and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour mixture until fully incorporated. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Chill for 30 minutes; preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until set in center and edges are lightly golden.
From which continent does ginger, a holiday cooking staple, originate?
A. North America B. Africa C. Europe D. Asia
Answer at bottom of rail.
Wise to the Word
Roux: A roux is a thickening agent made from equal parts butter and flour. The mixture is cooked until the flour taste disappears and then combined with milk or stock to create a sauce. There are basically two kinds of roux: White (or blond) roux is cooked just until the flour taste vanishes, but before the butter begins to turn the roux brown, and brown roux is cooked until it turns a nutty brown color.
The Dish on…
‘My Barcelona Cookbook’ by Sophie Ruggles Sophie Ruggles brings to life this vibrant city with her colorful collection of recipes, stories, and images, sharing her quirky insights and personal cooking touches, as well as her understanding of the heartwarming and approachable local cuisine that made her fall in love with the place and its food. This collection will inspire readers to discover the traditional and contemporary culinary diversity Spain has to offer, from Sophie’s take on authentic alioli, a hearty Catalan fishermen’s stew, and melt-in-the-mouth baked caramel custard, to irresistible tapas treats, including the guaranteed life-changing taste sensation of Bombas de bacalao, and much more. Includes a black placeholder ribbon and dual measurements.
— Murdoch Books
Food Quiz answer
D. Ginger originated in southeast China. It later spread to other parts of the continent. Today, India is the largest exporter of ginger.
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Food for Thought: Sugar cookies offer holiday nostalgia
Tip of the Week