Tiny holiday cookies pack big flavors

In The Kitchen

By Lucy Herrman
Posted 12/19/19

The fact is, cookies are good for the soul. Baking brings back memories of our childhoods. Cooking together connects us with our children and grandchildren. And most of all, we get to share treasured recipes.

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Tiny holiday cookies pack big flavors

In The Kitchen

Posted

I was in Chicago recently to visit my sister, Ellen, who is undoubtedly the queen of cookie baking. Her cookies are morsels of deliciousness to savor. Every year for the holidays, she scouts out some of the most charming divided cookie boxes with which to showcase her handiwork. She packs several varieties in each box like precious jewels, making perfect little gifts.

The fact is, cookies are good for the soul. Baking brings back memories of our childhoods. Cooking together connects us with our children and grandchildren. And most of all, we get to share treasured recipes.

When I told Ellen about wanting to write an article about cookies for the holidays, she immediately said, "Tiny cookies!" As she explained, tiny cookies are a sweet treat to enjoy without overindulging -- if you can resist, that is!

So we spent the next two days baking together and having a ball. The first thing we did was pore over her favorite recipes. We chose three different cookie recipes for a variety of flavors. Then we rolled up our sleeves, donned aprons and made the flour fly.

The first cookies, Cinnamon Coins, are a perennial favorite in our family. (In fact, my husband claimed all of them for himself when I got home.) The dough is formed into long ropes and refrigerated before rolling in coarse sugar and cutting into "coins" for baking. Easy peasy, and you end up with a couple of hundred bite-sized cookies. For a twist on a New Mexico tradition, add some ground anise seed, substitute whiskey for the vanilla and reinvent them as Baby Biscochitos.

The second cookies are as beautiful as they are easy -- Chocolate Crackles. Once mixed, the sticky fudgelike dough is divided up, wrapped in plastic and refrigerated until firm. To prepare for baking, you pinch a 1-inch ball of the chocolate dough, roll it in granulated sugar, then roll it again in confectioners' sugar. During baking, the cookie puffs up and cracks, beautifully highlighting the dark chocolate against the white powdered sugar.

The final cookie is Cranberry Oatmeal with White Chocolate. Sounds decadent, but a healthy quantity of whole oats in the dough means you can relax and enjoy. I used a very small gelato scoop to measure out a consistent cookie size. And this means we are able to go ahead and have two or three when they are done.

I hope you enjoy these cookie recipes from my family to yours. And by all means, add your own family favorites to the mix. Just remember, the idea is to make them small. Once all the cookies are done, you can pack a few of each flavor in holiday cellophane bags, tie with ribbon and share them as gifts.

Tiny cookies are just the thing to end a big meal, or a delectable snack in the afternoon. And, by the way, your house will be filled with incredible aromas.

Happy baking! 

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