Beat the Christ­mas bak­ing tsunami

The London Free Press - - FOOD -

Gift ex­changes, hol­i­day par­ties, fam­ily din­ners, oh my!

The hol­i­day sea­son is still a few weeks away, but when it ar­rives, it can feel like a whirl­wind.

Get a head start on your hol­i­day prepa­ra­tions with these easy, tasty and — most im­por­tantly — freezer-friendly cookie recipes.

Bring on the hol­i­day cheer with our Choco­late Pep­per­mint Sugar Cook­ies.

These whipped cook­ies have dou­ble the flavour.

The cook­ies them­selves are al­ready flavoured with co­coa pow­der and pep­per­mint ex­tract.

Then they are topped with our deca­dent Choco­late Pep­per­mint Glaze.

For a more fes­tive flair, cut into de­sired shapes — not just rounds — and driz­zle on the glaze in­stead of sim­ply spread­ing.

For a more clas­sic cookie, try The Per­fect Sugar Cookie. Our se­cret in­gre­di­ent? Cream of tar­tar — not only does it ac­ti­vate the bak­ing soda, cre­at­ing a softer cookie, it also helps to sta­bi­lize the eggs, keep­ing the cook­ies light and white.

Who knew there was so much sci­ence in bak­ing?

Lay out a spread of coloured ic­ings, can­dies and sprin­kles with the fin­ished cook­ies for a fun ac­tiv­ity with the kids.

Cal­gary-based ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen has been pro­vid­ing ad­vice on food, cook­ing, recipes for more than 80 years.

CHOCO­LATE PEP­PER­MINT SUGAR COOK­IES

1 cup (250 mL) flour ½ cup (125 mL) un­sweet­ened co­coa pow­der ½ tsp (2.5 mL) bak­ing pow­der ½ tsp (2.5 mL) bak­ing soda ½ tsp (2.5 mL) salt ½ cup (125 mL) but­ter, soft­ened ½ cup (125 mL) sugar ½ cup (125 mL) packed golden brown sugar 1 egg 1 tsp (5 mL) pep­per­mint ex­tract Choco­late Pep­per­mint Glaze (recipe fol­lows) Com­bine flour, co­coa, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda and salt in a bowl. Us­ing medium speed of an elec­tric mixer, beat to­gether but­ter, sugar and brown sugar un­til fluffy. Us­ing low speed, beat in egg and pep­per­mint ex­tract un­til blended. Grad­u­ally beat in flour mix­ture just un­til com­bined. Gather dough into a ball; di­vide in half. Flat­ten each half into a disc shape. Wrap each disc with plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate for 1 hour.

Pre­heat oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Re­move one disc of dough from re­frig­er­a­tor.

On a lightly floured sur­face, roll out dough 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Us­ing a floured 2-inch (5-cm) cookie cut­ter, cut dough into rounds. Place 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on parch­ment pa­per-lined cookie sheets. Re­peat pro­ce­dure with re­main­ing disc of dough. Bake for 10-12 min­utes or just un­til cook­ies are firm around edges. Let cook­ies stand for 5 min­utes on cookie sheets. Re­move from cookie sheets and cool cook­ies com­pletely on racks.

Spread with Choco­late Pep­per­mint Glaze. Let stand un­til glaze is set. Store, lay­ered with wax pa­per, in re­frig­er­a­tor for up to 3 days. May be frozen. Makes 4 dozen

CHOCO­LATE PEP­PER­MINT GLAZE

Com­bine whip­ping cream, choco­late and but­ter in a small saucepan.

Cook over low heat, whisk­ing con­stantly, un­til choco­late is melted and mix­ture is smooth. Re­move from heat.

Stir in corn syrup and pep­per­mint ex­tract.

ATCO BLUE FLAME KITCHEN

¼ cup (60 mL) whip­ping cream 3 oz (86 g) chopped dark choco­late 1 tbsp (15 mL) but­ter 2 tsp (10 mL) white corn syrup ½ tsp (2.5 mL) pep­per­mint ex­tract

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