Christmas cookies? Get the dough rolling early
You can roll the dough into logs and then wrap it in foil or wax paper and put them into one-gallon freezer bags. Then you have your very own slice and bake cookies! The other method you can use is to put spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a sheet or plate and put them in the freezer for about a half hour to harden up and then put the dough balls in a bag in the freezer.
You only need to add a couple of minutes of cooking time to bake frozen dough. By doing this early, all I have to do is bake them the day before I give them out. And in a year when money is tight, it's not a bad idea to give a personal gift that doesn't cost as much. I can also confess that in years past, when I made cookies for neighbors, for gifts and for parties, I left out one important group: my family! Why have I been denying our family all these years?! With dough at the ready in the freezer, there's no reason I can't put a pan of cookies in the oven all through the season. **Slapping forehead**
If you are looking for some great recipes, check out St. Petersburg Times food editor Janet Keeler's annual roundup of kitchen tested cookie recipes submitted by readers.
Now I will share one of our favorites, which comes from my friend Charlotte. This is simply the oatmeal cookie recipe on the side of a box of Quaker Oats, but instead of plain old raisins, you add a cup of dried cranberries and a cup of white chocolate chips to turn them into holiday cookies.
Holiday Oatmeal Cookies
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups quick or old fashioned oats, uncooked)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats, craisins, white chocolate chips and nuts; mix well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.
Servings: ABOUT 4 DOZEN
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne