By Eileen Goltz
Chanukah and cookies always seem to go together (along with latkes and sufganiyot). We all have family favorites that, if not served, will cause a minor meltdown with those expecting them. While my chocolate-chip cookies and mud bars never fail to make an appearance, I try to come up with a few new and exciting cookies recipes every year that can be made ahead of time; can be doubled or tripled; and are so delicious that everyone will be begging for the recipes. (Holiday tip: bring along copies . . . just in case anyone asks, and they will.)
I tested all of these recipes and all I can say is wow, awesome, and delicious. If you bring them as a “hostess gift” or your contribution to the potluck, you are guaranteed to be the most popular person at any party you’re invited to.
The best frosting is a glaze made with powdered sugar and milk or nondairy substitute of your choice. Keep it thin and you can color it with food coloring.
Dairy or pareve. Makes 3–5 dozen depending on the size of the cookies.
1½ cups butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat until smooth (at least 3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly, on a low speed, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. When combined, cover and refrigerate the dough for at least two hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to cut out your cookies, preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly flour the surface you’re going to be rolling the dough on and then roll out one third of the dough to about ¼- to ½-inch thick. Cut the dough into shapes with your cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment paper-covered cookie sheets. You can decorate with colored sugar or sprinkles at this point or wait until they are baked and cooled to frost. Repeat with the scraps and the remaining dough, one-third at a time. Bake 6–9 minutes (they should be just lightly golden on the edges).
Modified from one of my favorite Martha Stewart recipes.
I had this cookie on a recent trip to Israel and refused to leave until I had the recipe.
Dairy or pareve. Makes up to 48 cookies, depending on the size.
½ cup sugar
½ cup plus 6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1¼ cups butter or margarine, softened
1½ cups packed brown sugar
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup light corn syrup
1½ cups toasted pecan pieces
1½ cups toasted walnut pieces
½ cup toasted hazelnut pieces
¼ cup whipping cream or nondairy substitute
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10”×15” baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper. An overhang on the ends helps to remove the cookie from the pan after it is baked and cooled so that cutting is easier.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter for at least 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.
In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until dough comes together (do not overmix). Press the dough into the prepared pan, making sure that the dough goes up the edges slightly. Bake for 15–18 minutes or until the crust is just slightly browned (do not overcook). Remove the crust and cool. Reduce the temperature to 300°.
While the crust is cooling, combine the butter, brown sugar, sugar, honey, and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 2–3 minutes, but no less and no more than that. Remove the mixture from heat and stir in the nuts, cream, salt, and vanilla. Mix to combine and then gently spoon the nut mixture into the crust. Return the pan to the oven and cook for 35–40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling. Don’t worry if it looks a little runny; it will set as it cools. Cook enough to cover, then let set for at least 4 hours or overnight before you try to cut it. Cut into small squares or rectangles.
Submitted by Ari Zaharh, Tel Aviv, modified from a recipe by Linda Faus and Nathan Hostler
Dairy or pareve. Makes approx. 2 dozen.
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
11 Tbsp. sweet-cream butter or margarine
½ cup flour
½ tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1½ Tbsp. instant coffee or espresso crystals
1½ Tbsp. vanilla
1¼ cups coarsely chopped hazelnuts or pecans
2 cups milk or semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a microwavable bowl, combine the bittersweet chocolate and butter. Microwave just until the butter is melted and then mix to combine. Set the mixture aside.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and set it aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, coffee or espresso powder, and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture and mix well. By hand, gently fold in the flour mixture, pecans, and chocolate chips.
Drop by heaping tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake 12–15 minutes or until cookies are no longer look wet in the middle (do not overcook). Let sit on pans for about 2 minutes before removing to the cooling racks.
Modified from a recipe from Catherine Buford, Daily Cafe at Rejuvenation, Portland
Hershey’s White Chop Lemon Cookies
I didn’t change a thing in this recipe; it was perfect just as it is. My friend Laura makes these every year and they are truly awesome.
Dairy. Makes about 30 cookies.
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Hershey’s Premier White Chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Beat butter, brown sugar, lemon peel, and vanilla extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; add to butter mixture. Stir in white chips and pecans, if desired. Drop by tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet.
Bake 8–10 minutes or until almost set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
From Hershey’s website
Raspberry Cream Cookies
These taste like scones!
Dairy. Makes 2 dozen.
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1½ Tbsp. sugar for the raspberries
½ cup sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 stick of butter, cubed (cold not soft)
⅔ cup whipping cream
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ Tbsp. milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the combine the raspberries, 1½ tablespoons of sugar, and lemon juice in a small bowl then set it aside.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and ½ cup of sugar. With two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the cubes of butter. This will be a crumbly mixture. You’ll want the pieces of butter to be small and pebbly. Add the cream and mix to combine. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the raspberries. By tablespoons, drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, making sure to keep them at least 1 inch apart. Bake for about 15–17 minutes or until lightly golden; do not overbake. When done, remove them to a cooling rack. When they are cool, you can combine the milk and powdered sugar and drizzle the mixture over the top of the cookies.
My files, source unknown.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher foods writer. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes columns for the CJN in Chicago, kosherscoop.com, and the OU Shabbat Shalom website, www.ou.org. She also wrote the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim).