If you are doing some last minute baking today, here are some great recipes. The first is a recipe my Mother always made for Christmas, a family tradition, and the other is a new addition to our traditions from my daughter, Britt.
Polish Kolaczki Recipe
Makes about 5 dozen Polish Cream Cheese Kolaczki
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
1 (8 0z) cream cheese, softened
1 12 oz (3 sticks butter), softened
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 (14 oz) cans fillings of choice preserves (apricot, plums, prune, raspberry, etc.)
1. Mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. And flour 1 cup at a time and mix well. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2.Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough ¼ inch on a surface dusted with equal parts confectioners’ and granulated sugars (the granulated sugar will keep the dough from sticking). Cut into 2-inch squares. Place ½ to 1 tsp. filling on each center of square. Overlap opposite corners of dough to the center over filling (press firmly so they do not open during baking).
3.Bake for 15 minutes or when corners start to brown. Cool and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Store tightly (or freeze) without the confectioners’ sugar, as they will become soggy if held for several days. Dust upon serving.
Gingerbread Boys and Girls
Recipe by Paula Deen (with decorating tips by Brittany Beveridge)
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves 18-24 cookies
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
2 large eggs
¼ cup molasses
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
2 tsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp salt
ICING: (can also use prepared frosting)
A cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Food coloring, as desired
Using an electric mixer at low speed, cream the sugar and butter until combined. Add eggs and molasses and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine with a spoon or spatula.
Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap; place in refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Allow dough to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until pliable.
Take about ½ cup of dough at a time and roll onto floured board until about 1/8” thick. Cut out with gingerbread boy or girl (or basic gingerbread cutter and decorate as desired). You can re-roll the scraps. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies from the board to the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes, until just beginning to brown at the edges. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
To make icing, combine the confectioners’ sugar and milk, or use already prepared icing). Divide the mixture into thirds: 1/3 white, and colors 1/3 green and the final third red. Decorate by piping eyes, mouths, buttons and bow ties (or per Britt’s ‘version’, decorate cookie with white icing for eyes and mouth and ‘dress’ (for the girls) and m and m’s for the buttons and hands. ENJOY!
Decorate eyes a ‘dot’ of icing and place M and M on top.
Beverly A. Beveridge is our Monmouth County Regional Editor. Bev resides in Eatontown with her husband, Bob, daughters, Melissa and Brittany, son, Glenn, dog, Bailey and cats, Kitty and Slodki (polish for honey/sweet). Beverly’s ‘culinary curiosity’ was sparked by her brother who is a chef in Paris and author of many cookbooks. She enjoys dining out, piano, tennis, traveling, designing her JERSEY GIRL swimsuits and Calendar, music (especially Rock Concerts) and meeting new people. Enjoy her ‘fun’ reviews! Passport to Peru – Home of the Jersey Girls Swimsuit models and ‘Calendar’ Girls! ‘Passport Swimsuits – A Swimsuit to fit ‘every body’. www.passporttoperu.net