Victoria's Vegetarian Victuals

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

Cream Cheese Crescent Cookies

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

Combine flour and baking powder in bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat well. Gradually add flour mixture beating after each addition. Divide dough into three balls. Refrigerate overnight.

Work dough into long strands. Cut and form crescents, or make balls and flatten with fork on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool before icing.

Icing: Melt chocolate or white chocolate chips and dip cooled cookies. Sprinkle with chopped nuts or decorative sugar if desired.

  • Yields: depends on the size of the cookies
  • Preparation Time: chill 4 hours to overnight -- about 30 minutes actual fixing time, not counting the chilling

Chocolate Crinkles

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • confectioners' sugar, sifted

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, chocolate, oil, baking powder, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour with the mixer as possible, and stir in the rest of the flour. Chill for 2 hours, covered.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sifted confectioners' sugar, coating well. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets and bake in a 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until crackled in appearance. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar if desired.

  • Yields: Makes 48 cookies
  • Preparation Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Old-Fashioned Walnut Balls

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely chopped walnuts
  • powdered sugar

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Sift flour and salt together; add to creamed mixture. Mix well; stir in walnuts. Shape dough into walnut-sized balls. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet with spatula. When still warm but cool enough to handle, roll in powdered sugar.

  • Yields: depend on the size of the balls
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Lemon Spritz Cookies

  • 1 1/2 sticks margarine, softened (6 ounces)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp lemon peel, finely grated
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven at 350°. Prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, combine margarine, lemon juice, and lemon peel. In another mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients just until moistened. Spoon dough into a cookie press (with desired shape template). Press cookies about 2" apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or lightly browned.

  • Yields: about 3 dozen
  • Preparation Time: less than 30 minutes


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup almonds or hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 pound candied orange peel, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • pinch salt
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons cream or water

Mix all cookie ingredients together and arrange 2 inches apart, by teaspoonfuls, on baking sheet. Flatten each with a knife dipped in cold water.

Bake about 10 minutes, or until browned around the edges. Cool, flat side up, on racks, then spread with chocolate icing.

Icing: Melt chocolate in a double boiler; add cream or water. Stir until smooth and spread on the flat side of the cookies.

  • Yields: 24 cookies
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Special Christmas Tarts

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg white, unbeaten
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar and stir in well beaten egg. Sift flour and baking powder together, blend with first ingredients to make a soft dough. Set in refrigerator to chill. When cold, place on well floured board (or use powdered sugar), roll out 1/8-inch thick. Knead in more flour if needed. Shape with cutters. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet at 275 degrees about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

  • Yields: about 30 cookies
  • Preparation Time: about 45 minutes

Extra Wonderful Cookies

  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until they hold stiff peaks. Add salt and vanilla. Stir well. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Cover cookie sheet with foil and grease with butter or margarine. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the foil. Put in oven then turn the oven off. Leave overnight in oven with door closed.

  • Yields: about 4 dozen
  • Preparation Time: about 45 minutes plus overnight