They look like something out of a Gourmet Magazine December cookie special photo shoot. Lined up on a diagonal are some 6 or 7 different cookies, as festive as the 200 year old, and massively heavy silver butler’s tray is stunning. And yes, you will often find this selection of cookies at Sister’s home during the holidays. She often bakes several hundred (over a thousand this year I hear) that she places in beautiful tins and sends to friends with fabulous apartments with kitchens larger than most New York City studios, but who wouldn’t dare mess up the carrara marble with flour and butter. Or other friends and relatives from around the U.S. that hope Sister is in a baking mood that year or else it’s Chips Ahoy to Bing Crosby on the CD player… Heeheehee, I jest of course. But imagine my incredible surprise and shock when sister sent several of her favorite cookie recipes and these wonderful photos (her son had to come over to take them, and please note, the different tablecloths, silverware, etc. from her vast collection) and said she was sharing them with all of Marketmanila’s readers! So Merry Christmas everyone from Sister in New York, she writes:
Cookies For Christmas
If you had to choose only one thing to bake for the holidays, choose a cookie. some years I make 13 different kinds for the Apostles, still including Judas, and other years I can barely manage one. So here are some of my recipes, tested through the years. My children’s favorite is the Ischler cookies, those we save for Christmas Eve, but the quintessential holiday cookie is of cours the sugar cookie, merry with colored sprinkles and shapes bound to delight the child in every one of us. Happy Baking!
From my kitchen to yours,
She continues with some tips for successful cookies:
Have at least three cookie sheets. Chill dough in the fridge. Have at least 2 cookie racks. Line with parchment paper or thin foil, can be re-used, but limit to one kind of cookie, then change. Use butter which should be still cool and malleable, but not spreadable or oily. Get unsalted if possible. Purchase the finest ingredients you can find, particularly butter (sister uses Plugra). Acquire several sized cookie scoops, 1″ and 1 1/4″ are the most useful-they will speed up cookie production and you will have the same sized cookies for even baking. Store cookies, each kind separately so flavors don’t migrate, in cans or plastic containers. Make cookies with children, they will long remember it. Follow cookie instructions (or Sister will show up at your door and thwack you silly)! Always make a test cookie before you chill the dough-take a tbsp of dough and flatten to 1/4″ and bake at 350F. Cool and taste. If it spreads too much add a couple more tbsp of flour to the dough. It it’s not sweet enough add a little sugar. If it’s too hard add a couple of tbsp. of softened butter. This is your chance to adjust the dough before you bake the rest of it.
Use margarine, it has an artificial taste. Be impatient, the chilling periods allow the flour to absorb the moisture. Add too much flour – cookies will be hard. Ask me about drop cookies for the holidays, those are for the lazy (can you tell MM and Sister possess the same genes?) even my chocolate chip cookies are portioned out with a scoop. Make cookies if you are rushed, choose a leisurely afternoon.
Let the cookie recipes begin…