Saturday, January 13, 2007

My Most Popular "Thank You" Gifts

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I like to bake cookies for friends and family as Christmas presents and thank you gifts. It's rare to find someone who doesn't enjoy homemade cookies, and even if they don't, they'll appreciate the time and thought you put into making them. I've tried many recipes over the years, some that failed pretty miserably (never trying rum balls again), but this year I finally hit it big with two recipes that everyone raved about. They are essentially foolproof (I've made many batches of each and they always turned out great) and each takes less than 5 minutes of work.

Cranberry Orange Cookies
(from the wonderful BakingSheet Blog)

2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Butter
1 cup White Sugar
1 large Egg
Zest of 1 Large Orange
3/4 cup Dried Cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light. Beat in egg and orange zest. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in the cranberries. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets and bake for 9-12 minutes, until edges are only lightly browned. They will look a little undercooked, but they turn out best this way. Cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen.

Coconut Macaroons
From Everyday Food Magazine, April 2004 Issue

3 Eggs (you'll only use the whites though)
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 package Sweetened Flaked Coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 large egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until frothy. With a fork, stir in 1 package (14 oz) sweetened flaked coconut until moistened. Drop mixture by packed level tablespoons onto prepared sheet (cookies will not spread). Bake until lightly golden, 20-25 minutes.

Happy Baking!

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