In the next few weeks I’ll be posting lots of recipes to try out in the holidays, along with details of books from a few of my favourite authors. So, reading, baking, and trying out delicious new recipes – what better way to celebrate holiday season?
Today’s recipe comes from Ken and Anne Hicks, who live in New York. Theirs is a fun and easy recipe for cookies (“biscuits” to my British friends :) ) that children will love to help decorate.
Thanks for dropping in, Ken and Anne!
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In advance of Christmas, Ken’s mother did a lot of baking. In addition to two or three different kinds of fruitcake she made at least a dozen different kinds of cookies. Ken’s job was to crack the nuts that went into these various masterpieces and, of course, to help with the eating.
Ken continued the Holiday cookie tradition in our house, but branched out to include Hanukah as well as Christmas cookies. When our daughter Alice was big enough to wield a cookie cutter, she got involved and showed us all what can be done with a little bit of colored sugar.
So here is the recipe Ken’s mother used to make decorated Christmas cookies. We have the 3 by 5 card on which she wrote out the recipe many years ago. The card is starting to yellow a bit and now has Ken’s printed reminder on the front: “Cut recipe in half” which we have done in the recipe below.
1 Cups (200gsm) granulated sugar
1/2 Cup (100gsm) vegetable shortening (or butter; guess which we use)
1 Eggs beaten
1 Tsps. Vanilla
1/2 Cup (120ml) milk
2 Tsps. baking powder
1 Tsps. baking soda
3 Cups (300gsm) flour (UK – plain flour)
¼ Tsp. salt
Mix ingredients in order given. Roll out on floured surface to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes.
Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C/gas mark 4) for 7 to 10 minutes. Makes 4 dozen cookies. This cookie is particularly good for decorated Christmas Cookies and stays moist indefinitely.”
One of the tricks of making good cut-out cookies is to reduce flour to the extent possible. You can do this by putting the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours before rolling and cutting. This allows you to roll the dough thin without extra flour. Also, remove the dough from the refrigerator in small batches and roll it between two sheets of wax paper.
When I tested the recipe, I still had to use some flour on the board in the rolling process. It did not affect the flavor. But you might want to use a bit less mild than ½ cup.
We have lots of cookie cutters. However, we always end up cutting a few new shapes every year with a knife. We also roll up the last bits of dough and tie them together in a circle like a wreath.
This year we made some colored icing and Alice helped me paint a few cookies.
And if you would like a heart-warming novel to go with your cookies, read KATE AND THE KID, which Anne and I wrote. It is the winner of a silver medal in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards for social fiction.
KATE AND THE KID is about a young woman who has just lost her job and had a major fight with her boyfriend (also arising from the trauma of being fired). At this very low point in her life, Kate is tricked into taking care of a sweet but emotionally damaged six-year-old girl (Jenny) who only communicates with adults through a doll she calls “Miranda.” As a result of an eventful night of babysitting, Kate begins to bond with Jenny, which causes a whole new set of complications with the people in Kate’s and Jenny’s lives. This book tells the story of how Kate and Jenny help each other to heal, grow, and navigate the difficult and sometimes dangerous world of New York City.
Our contact information is as follows:
Ken Hicks and Anne Rothman-Hicks
Kate and the Kid buy links
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Thanks so much for dropping in, Ken and Anne. Baking with children is great fun. I loved your colourful biscuits!
And congratulations on your award for Kate and the Kid. Tea, biscuits and a heartwarming book are some of my absolute favourite things.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about Ken’s traditional Christmas recipe. Do you have a recipe you always make for the holidays? And do you ever let your children loose in the kitchen? If you have any comments at all, we’d love to hear from you!