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December 2000 Issue
Vision of Sugarplums....
by Victoria Smith
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Would you believe that we actually had snow on this mountaintop on October first? Not much, and it didn't stay long, but by golly when we got up that morning, everything was white. It was incredible. We have a windbreak of 70 to 80 foot red pines along the road at the southern edge of our homestead, and they were unexpectedly beautiful against all that white. Of course, the Autumn colors were on their way out by that time, and they had been so gorgeous that I was wishing that I could save all that beauty and put it in a magic land somewhere, so that it would last forever.

We have been working hard here, getting the parts and pieces together and ready for the restaurant that we will be building up here near the horse trails. For all you non-vegetarian folks out there, don't fear. We will have something good for your tastes, too.

Among the many tasks involved in planning this venture, we have been collecting cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes, and many, many cookie recipes to go with them. This month, I am going to share some of those delicious holiday cookie recipes with all of you. I hope that you find your favorites among them. It was very difficult to choose, as you will see from the number that I included. We had to omit hundreds. If I left your favorite out, I didn't mean to, and if you will e-mail me, I will track it down for you.

So, here, from the store of goodies to be available at Arthur's (King Arthur, that is) Restaurant at Tir Nan Og Park, in Brookfield, NY -- opening, we hope, in 2001 -- are some visions and tastes of sugarplums for you.


Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • sugar
Cream butter; beat in sugar gradually. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla extract; stir to blend. Combine and sift flour, baking powder, and salt; add gradually to creamed mixture, mixing thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheet. Flatten with bottom of glass that's been greased and dipped in granulated sugar. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to racks immediately to cool.

  • Yields: About 3 dozen cookies
  • Preparation Time: chill 4 hours to overnight -- about 30 minutes actual fixing time, not counting the chilling


Buttery Almond Balls

  • 1 cup butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 12 to 15 candied red and green cherries, halved
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter then beat sugar in gradually. Add the egg yolks and extracts and beat until fluffy. Stir in about half the flour; add the milk then beat well. Stir in the remaining flour and knead just until blended in.

Shape into small balls, roll in lightly beaten egg whites, then in the almonds. Place on greased baking sheets and press a half cherry into the center of each ball. Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned on bottoms. Cool on rack.

  • Yields: depends on the size of the cookies
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes


Old-Fashioned Ginger Snaps

  • 2 3/4 cups self-rising flour, soft wheat preferred
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup light molasses
Combine flour, soda, and spices in a bowl and set aside. Cream sugar and margarine. Beat in egg and molasses until light and fluffy. Stir in flour mixture just until blended. Chill for 2 hours or more.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls, roll in granulated sugar, and place on lightly greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake about 8 to 10 minutes, until set.

  • Yields: 8 dozen cookies
  • Preparation Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes


Orange Slice Cookies/Bars

  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 pound orange candy slices
Cut orange slices into small pieces. Pour melted butter over brown sugar and beat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. Add dry ingredients a little at a time. Add vanilla, pecans and chopped orange slices.

Spread in a [greased and floured] 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. Remove from pan.

  • Yields: depends on the size of the squares that you cut
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour


Butterscotch-Pecan Shortbread

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
In a medium size mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla together. Stir in salt and flour; add pecans, kneading in gently with hands, if necessary.

Press or gently roll out on a lightly floured surface; cut into circles or squares about 1/4-inch thick. Bake at 325 degrees F. for about 20 minutes.

Time will vary with thickness, so check them after 12 to 15 minutes if they are a little thinner.

Omit the pecans and drizzle with icing or dip half of each cookie in chocolate coating and sprinkle with more chopped pecans, if desired.

  • Yields: Makes about 15 to 18 cookies
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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