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Holiday Cookie Recipes from the Bunko Babes
 
Do you remember those winter days long ago, when you spent all afternoon in the kitchen as your mom made batch after batch of fresh, hot cookies from scratch, pausing only to refill your mug with steaming cocoa and sweet, fluffy marshmallows? Outside the eaves piled up with snow, until finally dusk darkened into night, the lights came on in the neighbors’ houses, the smell of a wood fire drifted across the still, frosty landscape, and you felt completely safe, happy and at peace – yeah, me neither. But these recipes will make you feel as if you do.
 

Oatmeal Lace Cookies (Teresa Atyeo)

  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup melted margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl combine melted margarine, sugar and rolled oats. Add egg
and vanilla and stir until combined. Stir in the dry ingredients until
incorporated. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop level
tablespoons of cookie dough 3 inches apart on the sheet (they realllly
spread) Flatten slightly. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden on
the edges. Cool completely before trying to take them off the parchment
paper.

Teresa’s note: These cookies are really temperamental! I usually double the recipe because I end up ruining a couple of trays by burning or having them run together! The dough is weird…it’s very liquidy. You kind of have to watch them really closely in the oven. For the holidays I dust them with powdered sugar after they are completely cooled so they look like snowflakes. Enjoy!
 

 
Italian Ginettes (Peggy Brandano)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 oz lemon extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 4 cups flour

Icing:

  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 oz lemon extract, use all to get right consistency

Beat each ingredient as it is added: add more flour if needed, dough will be sticky. Use teaspoon to drop dough onto greased baking sheet. Use warm water to get dough off spoon. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Top with icing.
 

 
Date Pinwheels (Lourdes Goodman)

  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Filling:

  • 1 package (7 1/4 oz) pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Cream butter; add sugars, vanilla and egg, beat until light. Add sifted dry ingredietns, and mix well. Chill until firm enough to roll. Halve dough; roll each half on floured waxed paper, into a 12 x 9 inch rectangle. To make filling, cut pitted dates into small pieces. Add to water, sugar and salt in small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring often. Mix in nuts and allow to cool. Spread dough with cooled filling, roll up tightly from end. Wrap in paper; chill overnight or freeze for easier slicing. Cut into 1/8 inch slices. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheets at 375 for about 10 minutes.
 

 
Polvorones: Ground Walnut Cookies (Beth Wiegard)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground walnuts
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus more just before serving

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in the flour and then the gound and chopped nuts. Divide the dough in half, forming each half into a ball. Wrap each ball tightly with plastic wrap and chill until really cold, about 45 minutes. Keep one ball of dough in the fridge while you work with the other. Use a spoon to scoop 2 teaspoons of dough at a time, and roll the dough between your palms into balls. It’s helpful to measure the dough so the cookies are all the same size, that way they will all finish cooking at the same time. Try to roll the balls of dough quickly, when this dough warms up it gets very sticky and is hard to work with (helping hands make this part go faster!) Arrange the balls on a large baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 325 until just pale golden on the bottom, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven but leave cookies on the baking sheet to rest for 5 minutes. Gently toss warm cookies in a bowl with the powdered sugar to coat, then place on a rack to cool completely. If you’re not serving these cookies immediately some of the powdered sugar will get absorbed by the butter and they won’t look all snowy, so you can sift additional powdered sugar over them right before serving if desired.

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Pecan Pie (Beth Wiegard)
 

  • 9-inch piecrust, not deep-dish
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/8 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted sweet butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dark rum or bourbon, if desired

Preat oven to 400 (375 for dark or nonstick pans.) Pour chopped pecans into piecrust, distribute evenly. Beat eggs well in a large bowl, add other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour over pecans. Shake piecrust gently so that filling settles around nuts – small bubbles may appear as this happens. Set on middle rack of oven and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 (300 for dark or nonstick pans) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until filling doesn’t jiggle when you move the pie pan. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

 

 

 

Caramelized Onion and Bacon Tart (Lourdes Goodman)

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 small onions, cut in half lengthwise and thickly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 (8-inch) frozen pie or tart shell

Preheat oven to 350°. Cook bacon in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat until fat is mostly rendered and bacon is crisp around edges. Transfer to paper towels to drain, and set aside, leaving bacon fat in pan. Crumble bacon after cooling. Add onions to pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown, about 8 minutes. Turn heat to medium-low and add 1 tablespoon thyme and pinch of salt. Continue to cook until onions are soft and deep golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Meanwhile, combine ricotta, egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pinch of pepper, 1 teaspoon thyme and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a small bowl. Stir well to combine. Spread ricotta mixture evenly on the bottom of tart shell. Arrange onions on top of ricotta and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmigiano-Reggiano. Sprinkle bacon over top. Transfer to oven and bake until edges of filling are golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.

*Just kidding!

 

 

 

 

 

Cranberry Orange Pound Cake (Nuria Myers)

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (can use frozen)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease bundt pan or two loaf pans. In large bowl, combine sugar and butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, orange zest and eggs, one a time. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture, alternating with sour cream, mixing well after each addition. Gently fold in cranberries. Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake for 65-75 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Nuria’s note: “You could also add nuts, more orange zest, orange liqueur, or drizzle it with orange juice. The cake comes with a recipe for butter rum sauce. I made it once, but nobody had it because the cake was good enough on its own. To make the sauce, mix in a small sauce pan 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp flour, 1/2 cup half and half and 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly and thickened. Remove from heat, stir in 4 tsp light rum, pour over cake and serve while sauce is still warm.”

 

 

 

 

 

Low Carb Avocado Salad (Theresa Thornburg)

Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup low carb vanilla yogurt (Dannon carb & sugar control brand)
  • 3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup water

Salad

  • 1 bag field greens
  • ½ bag fresh spinach, stems removed, torn in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, chopped in ¼ inch cubes
  • 6 green onions, cut in slivers
  • 2 tubs Publix goat cheese crumbles
  • 4 ripe just ripe avocados, peeled, seeded, cut in ½ inch chunks
  • Fresh tarragon sprigs, for garnish

To make the dressing: Place all ingredients except water in blender. Blend, then gradually pour water through top opening. Turn blender off as needed to scrape sides with spatula. Blend until mixture is consistent and creamy. Transfer to glass bowl.

To make salad: Mix field greens and spinach and place on large serving dish or bowl. Evenly distribute other items over greens.

Place dressing on the side for guests to dress their own salad.

 

 

 

 
Orzo Salad (Diane Feller)

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces, I use more)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (or to taste)
  • 1 can chickpeas (19 oz), drained
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional; I skip this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic (or to taste)

Cook pasta, drain and rinse.  Combine pasta, scallions, cheese, dill and chickpeas in large bowl, tossing to combine.  Mix lemon juice and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Drizzle over pasta mixture, toss.  Put in refrigerator to cool before serving.

Diane’s note: “I generally make extra dressing, as is gets absorbed. And I definitely do this to taste, so each time it is a little different. My kids love this, and don’t realize they are actually eating something healthy.”

 

 

 

 

Crab Puffs (Teresa Atyeo)
  • 1 (6-7 oz.) can crabmeat, drained
  • 1 stick butter (8 oz.)
  • 1 (5 oz.) jar Kraft pasteurized cheddar cheese spread
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 6 english muffins, split
Combine all ingredient except muffins and mix well.  Spread mixture evenly over top of each muffin half, then cut each half into quarters.  Place on baking sheets (first making sure the sheets will fit inside your freezer) and freeze for at least 30 minutes.  This step is important!  You can also make these ahead of time, wrap well, and freeze for up to two months.  Preheat broiler, and broil about 6 inches from heat source for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffed and lightly browned.  Serve warm.  Makes 48.
Teresa’s note:  “I do not use the broiler for these because my broiler scares me!  Instead I just bake at high heat, about 450, for 10 to 15 minutes, and I just watch them to make sure they don’t burn.