Monday, December 5, 2011

Cookie Week: Stoplight Cookies

Yesterday was National Cookie Day. So I thought I would use that festive occasion as inspiration for this week's offerings, and provide recipes for holiday treats so that you can get started on your Christmas baking.

Yes, Christmas is 20 days away. And there are cookie exchanges, parties, tree trimming, and all sorts of other events coming where treats will be required. Santa will be expecting a little nosh, too, once he gets down that chimney.

But before you succumb to feeling overwhelmed and overstressed, let me assure you that I'm way behind on my own baking ventures. This is as much a nudge for me as it is for you.

So let's get started! Welcome to Cookie Week!

Our first feature is Stoplight Cookies, one of Jeremy's all-time favorites. They began life as a variation on thumbprint cookies, with candied cherries placed in the center of the cookie rather than it being filled with jam.

But one time, I tried to cram too many cookies onto the baking sheet; they bled together rather than remaining as individual rounds. When Jeremy - who was very young at the time - saw them, he was absolutely giddy: "They're stoplight cookies!"

Oh, okay. They're not a mistake anymore - they're a new creation!

Jeremy asks for these simple but festive cookies every year. And I remember - as only a mom whose son is now 6'3" and almost 21 years old can - how little and sweet and innocent he was when he redeemed my baking disaster with his glee.

Stoplight Cookies
(adapted from a recipe in The Taste of Home Cookbook)

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
18 red candied cherries, halved
18 green candied cherries, halved

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and shortening together; stir in the confectioners' sugar 'til light and fluffy. Stir in the milk and the eggs. Add the flour and salt, and combine well.

Form 3/4" balls of dough and place two next to each other - mushed together just a bit - on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Place a red cherry piece onto one half of each cookie and a green cherry piece onto the other half of each cookie.

Bake for 12 minutes until the cookies are just set. Remove to a rack and cool completely, repeating with remaining dough and cherries.

Makes 36 cookies.

And don't forget these oldies but goodies:

Applesauce Bars

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies


Unknown said...

Cookie Week!! YAY!!!! And what a great cookie to start with. Love the story of the name too... very cute :)

Cranberry Morning said...

I LOVE the story and the name, Mary!! And now I'm trying to think of a fruit that is yellow and would hold its color during baking. Got any ideas? Can't wait to make these for my grandsons! :-)

Leanne said...

Ok, mow I'm so glad to be taking the time to catch up! I'm a MAJOR COOKIE baker during the holidays . . . And I LOVE these. Phil was addicted to all things traffic related when he was a youngster, so I love to pull out the "stops" (no pun intended) and bake things like this. fantastic!!!! two cookie recipes to add to the list this year!!!! Yummy-O!!!!

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