Project Christmas Cookies is in full swing. For anyone wanting to make sure they bring something unique to a cookie swap, I recommend my personal favorite. I've made them three years running now, and they're always a hit. Colorful, and with unexpected flavors and textures, a batch of these is sure to be a crowd pleaser, and it doesn't take a lot of skill or special equipment to make. However, these cookies work best if chilled before baking, so you'll want to plan ahead.
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tablespon cocoa powder
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
1/4 dried cherries, chopped
red and green food coloring
Like any good recipe, in my opinion, this one leaves some freedom for your own personal touch. Other nuts and dried fruits can of course be substituted for cherries and pistachios, and you can chop up your favorite flavored chocolate bar instead of using mini chips. Raid the pantry and see what you already have lying around. That will save money and maybe even a trip to the store, plus it'll get rid of stuff that's been lying around forever. I know, I know, that's the opposite of everything that the holiday season stands for, but, dare to be different, right?
1. Line bottom and sides of a 4 x 8 inch straight-sided loaf pan with plastic wrap, using enough to overhang all sides.
2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar together.
3. Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in vanilla, then egg. Gradually mix in flour. Stir until ingredients are well combined.
4. Divide dough into three equal parts in medium bowls. Mix red food coloring and diced cherries into one bowl, green food coloring and pistachios into another, and cocoa and chocolate chips into the third.
5. Pat an even layer the green dough into the bottom of the pan, followed by the red and the brown, taking care not to let the layers mix in with each other. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for a least four hours.
6. When you're ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 375. Then take your chilled dough out of the fridge and carefully pull it out of the pan. Grease two cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.
7. Cut 1/3 inch slices crosswise. Then cut each of these slices in four equal pieces and place them about 1 1/2 apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes, until golden brown.
Yield: 100 cookies