Cookie craze

So many great cookies to bake and eat, so little time.

Quite a treat: It’s the season for cookies. Warm up with these tasty recipes.

By Donna Zitter Bordelon

Tough cookie, smart cookie, but for the holidays we want a delicious cookie. So many great cookie recipes and so little time to make them and to eat them all.

These miniature, crescent-shaped pastry cookies are a traditional, Eastern European treat.

RUGELACH

Pastry Dough:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

8 oz. cream cheese

2 cups flour

2 Tbsp. sugar

pinch of salt

½ tsp. Vanilla

1 egg white and coarse sugar for topping

Beater Method: Soften butter and cream cheese, and beat them together in a large bowl until mixed well. On lower speed, beat in flour, sugar, salt and vanilla, just until blended.

Food Processor Method: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the processor. Add cold butter and cold cream cheese, both of which have been cut into 1-inch chunks. Process on and off about 10 times, scrape down the sides of the bowl and process until dough forms clumps.

Gather dough into a ball and divide into four equal pieces.

Flatten each piece between two pieces of wax paper into 8-inch circles (4 circles). Tuck wax paper around dough circles to wrap them so they can be refrigerated individually, and stored in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Coconut Chocolate Filling:

½ cup preserves or jam (apricot, orange marmalade, raspberry, strawberry, fig, or your favorite)

2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut

½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

4 Tbsp. sugar, divided

Heat preserves in a small cup in the microwave to melt.

Lightly flour a surface to fill and roll the 8-inch circles, one at a time, leaving the other dough circles still refrigerated.

Thinly brush each 8-inch circle with 2 tablespoons of the jam or preserves, then sprinkle ½ cup coconut, 2 tablespoons chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon sugar on each circle, all the way to the edge. Gently press filling down onto dough.

Cut circle in half, then in quarters. Cut each quarter in half (8 pieces total).

Roll dough up starting from the wide edge to the point, like a croissant or crescent shape.

Arrange the rolled rugelach on a cookie sheet with the point tucked under the cookie.

Brush each cookie with a little egg white and sprinkle on some coarse sugar.

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 25–30 minutes until golden brown.

MATZO TOFFEE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Matzos (approximately 3 sheets)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Coarse salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a rimmed cookie sheet or jellyroll pan with non-stick foil, or use regular foil and lightly spray foil with oil.

Lay matzos side by side on foil in a single layer, breaking them, if needed, to fill the pan.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter and sugar over medium-low heat.

Bring to a boil, all the while stirring/whisking frequently.

Mixture will expand, so using a little larger pot than seems necessary may eliminate a mess.

When mixture reaches a full boil, reduce to a medium boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove pot from heat and immediately pour butter and sugar mixture over the matzos. Spread the mixture to cover the matzos.

Bake at 375 degrees for 6–7 minutes or until just bubbly.

Remove pan from oven and distribute chocolate chips evenly over matzos.

Return pan to oven for 30 seconds so chocolate chips will soften. (Watch cookies carefully, as chocolate will burn if left too long in the oven.)

Smooth melted chocolate chips evenly over matzos.

Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt for a sweet and salty treat.

Cool and then refrigerate about 2 hours to set the chocolate.

Break into irregular pieces to serve.

Store in an airtight container.

Eat well, live long, enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

Don’t forget:

Send in your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 ShopRite gift card. Mail your recipe to Readers’ Recipes, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002. Or email your recipe to WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com. Please include name, address and telephone number.