Christmas Cookies Perfect for Entertaining Guests

Dexter's Anne Kornow reviews several locally-made holiday cookie recipes.

Thanksgiving is over, Black Friday is done and Shop Local Saturday has ended. Now it’s time to get ready for various upcoming holiday gatherings, and to me that means food. I have six cookie recipes that have been shared and taste-tested by Dexter residents who came to . I have included two of the recipes today and will provide others in the coming days.

Four Ingredient Almond Bars

Resident Ina Wesenberg states that these cookies were made by her husband’s grandmother, Alma Wesenberg. The recipe was in the Dixboro Methodist Church cookbook, dated 1944. Dexter residents Judi Bogart and Al Maghes, who sampled the cookies, said they were very good.

1 1/2 cup natural almonds, toasted and cooled
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large or extra large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 of a teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind the nuts or chop finely. Combine the nuts and sugar and stir in the egg by hand (it will be thick). Spread this mixture into a 8-inch square baking tin. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, then check the top, it should have a deep caramel color and be crusty. If only the edges get crusty, lower your heat to 300 degrees and bake an additional 5 minutes. The top will be crusty over a soft inside and the edges will shrink from the pan, a little.

Cool the pan for 3 to 5 minutes, loosen the edges with a metal spatula and cut down through the confection to mark out 18 bars. Let cool until to touch, then cut through the markings again and remove the bars to a cooling rack. You can mold the edges with your fingers to attach loose bits. When cold and crisp, store the bars in an air tight canister at room temperature.

Anne’s comments: "I doubt that they had food processors in 1944, but I’m glad we have them now for chopping nuts! I lined the pan with aluminum foil, so it was easy to get the cookies out and make the final cuts. I also cut them into 20 bars so they were a little smaller — they are rich and yummy!"

Grandma Dort’s Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies

This next recipe was submitted by Dexter resident Peggy Comstock. These are her husband Jeff’s favorite Christmas cookie.

“The recipe card my grandma gave me years ago is yellowed and grease spotted. Using the typewriter, she typed the recipe in red and corrected the typos by typing over the mistake. It makes me sentimental thinking about all this," Comstock said.

1 cup shortening
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
Colored sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening until fluffy, then gradually work in the cream cheese and sugar, making sure the mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla and sifted flour. This grand, adaptable dough can be dropped by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, put through a cookie press or chilled until firm and then rolled with a rolling pin and cut with cookie cutters. Sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake 15 minutes. The recipe makes about 36 average-sized cookies.

Anne’s comments: "These are versatile and can be altered according to personal preference. Roll the dough thin if you like crisp cookies, or roll it out thicker and bake only until lightly brown on the bottom for softer cookies. I only needed about 12 minutes for softer, traditional, melt-in-your-mouth cookies."

Next month: Our wonderful weather can’t last forever. I’ll be ready to try homemade soup or bread. Please send recipes to akcooker@yahoo.com.

Sherry Warden December 04, 2011 at 06:10 PM
Sounds like a great recipe! And gluten-free too! Can't wait for the other cookie recipes. Sherry
Anne Kornow December 06, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Thanks, Sherry--they were yummy and will be on my cookie platter during the Holidays.


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