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Cookbook Tue Oct 28 2014

All the Holiday Cookies Fit to Print

-9.jpgLike it or not we are a whisper away from the holiday season. It is an exciting time and within the next few weeks anything that sits still long enough will be wrapped in a string of lights and accented with tinsel. Several holiday traditions are about to spring into action, and if you're from a family like mine, the first hints of Christmas mean only one thing: the cookies are coming! The cookies are indeed coming and this year the Chicago Tribune's famed holiday cookie contest has them coming at us like never before.

For the last 25 years, the Good Eating section of the Chicago Tribune has hosted a nationwide holiday cookie contest drawing entries from home bakers looking to share their favorite family recipe--and the story behind it. Only a handful of the very best recipes are selected for publication each year, but this year winning recipes from past have been gathered into a new cookbook: Holiday Cookies: Prize-winning Family Recipes from the Chicago Tribune.

The book is filled with more than 100 winning and honorable mention cookie recipes arranged into categories such as simple sugar confections, gingerbreads, sandwich cookies, fruit and nut treats, bars, brownies and shortbreads. The book is a must have for holiday cookie aficionados for its wide and interesting selection. Where else would you find Kolackys, Mandelbrot and Mexican Mice cookies all in one place? I am particularly excited to add the Pecan Pie Cookies (2006's third-place winner) to my family's repertoire. A cookie that is also a pie, I mean, come on! You should definitely up your cookie game with this cookbook as soon as it arrives on store shelves November 1.

Pecan Pie Cookies

(Reprinted with permission from Holiday Cookies by the Chicago Tribune staff, Agate Surrey, November 2014.)

Barbara Marine's 2006 third-place winners have a center of pecans surrounded by a soft cookie. Marine said she adapted the recipe from one she received from a student when she was teaching first grade.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours
Bake time: 17 minutes per batch
Yield: 30 cookies

½ cup confectioners' sugar
½ stick (¼cup) butter, softened
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
½ cup chopped pecans

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup dark corn syrup
2 eggs, separated
2½ cups flour

1. For the filling, heat the sugar, butter and corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan
over medium heat; remove from heat. Stir in pecans. Set aside to cool, 10 minutes.
Transfer to a food storage bag. Press to flatten; seal. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, for cookies, beat butter and sugar together with a mixer on low speed until well combined. Beat in corn syrup and egg yolks until combined. Stir in flour gradually. Transfer to a food storage bag; press to flatten. Seal; chill 1 hour.

3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut pecan mixture into 36 equal pieces; set aside. Whisk the egg whites in a small bowl until foamy; set aside. Form 1-inch balls of dough; place on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Brush tops lightly with egg whites. Bake cookies 7 minutes per batch.

4. Remove cookie sheet from oven. Press 1 piece of the pecan filling into the center of each cookie. Return to oven; bake until light brown, about 10 minutes per batch. Cool on racks.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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