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Hearty holiday cookies.

Wholesome flavors from hearty flours give this assortment of cookes special personalities. Masa flour gives masa toffee bars the unmistakable imprint of corn tortillas, but with orange peel, chocolate, and pine nuts, the bars also make a Southwestern statement. Dark rye flour, favored by Finnish cooks, makes thin, crisp cutout wafers--good plain or as cooky sandwiches. Oatmeal gives jellied thumbprints a new dimension. Plain wheat germ develops toasted tasted and aroma as it bakes in chewy-crisp shortbread. Wholewheat flour lends different toated flavor to crisp rounds. The adventurous cook will find blue cornmeal cookies an amusing experiment in food chemistry--lemon juice turns the dough an earthy pink.

To store cookies, package each kind separately in rigid, airtight containers. If cookies have frosting or toppings or are inclined to stick together, separate layers with waxed paper. If held longer than 1 day at room temperature, cookies begin to soften and taste stale. Freezing preserves freshness best, even if cookies are to be kept only a few days; you can serve them directly from the freezer.

Masa Toffee Bars

1 cup pine nuts 1 1/2 cups each dehydrated masa flour (cor tortilla flour) and all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter or margarine, cut into chunks 1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar 2 large eggs 2 tablespoons grated orange peel 1 large package (12 oz., 1 1/2 cups) semisweet chocolate baking chips, or 12 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped

In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over medium-low heat, shake pine nuts frequently until golden, about 10 minutes. Pour from pan and set aside.

Stir together masa, all-purpose flour, and cinnamon.

In a food processor or with a mixer, whirl or beat butter, sugar, eggs, and orange peel until creamy. Whirl or stir in masa mixture until dough holds together. Pat dough evenly into a 10- by 15-inch rimmed pan.

Bake in a 300[degrees] oven until golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and immediately scatter chocolate over hot cooky; when chips soften, spread evenly with a spatula, then sprinkle pine nuts onto chocolate. With a clean, wide spatula, light press nuts into chocolate.

Let cool until chocolate is just firm to touch. With a sharp knife, cut cookies into bars about 1 1/2 by 2 inches. Remove from pan with a spatula. Serve or store (see box above). Makes about 4 dozen.

Per bar: 144 cal.; 2 g protein; 8 g fat (2.7 g sat.); 17 g carbo.; 44 mg sodium; 19 mg chol.

Snow-frosted Rye cutouts,

Singles or Sandwiches

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 2 cups rye flour Snow frosting (recipe follows) About 1/2 cup fruit jam (optional)

In a food processor or with a mixer, whirl or beat butter, sugar, and egg until well mixed. Add rye flour; whirl or stir to mix, then beat until dough holds together. Gather dough into a ball, wrap airtight, and chill until firmer, at least 1 hour or up until next day.

Cut dough into 4 equal portions. On a lightly floured board (use rye or all-purpose flour), roll 1 portion to about 1/16 inch thick. With a flour-dusted cooky cutter 2 to 2 1/2 inches wide, cut out cookies and place slightly apart on 2 lightly greased 12- by 15-inch baking sheets. Bake in a 300[degrees] oven until slightly darker, 12 to 15 minutes. With a spatula, transfer to racks to cool.

Spread a think layer of frosting on all half the cookies. Let stand until frosting is dry to touch, about 1 hour. Serve or store (see box above). Up to 4 hours before serving, make sandwich cookies by spooning about 1/2 teaspoon jam on each unfrosted cooky, then setting a frosted cooky on top. Dot tops with jam. Makes about 6 dozen single cookies, 3 dozen filled.

Per frosted cooky: 43 cal.; 0.4 g protein; 1.4 g fat (0.8 g sat.); 7.6 g carbo.; 14 mg sodium; 6.4 mg chol.

Per sandwich cooky: 92 cal.; 0.7 g protein; 2.8 g fat (1.6 g sat.); 17 g carbo.; 28 mg sodium; 13 mg chol.

Snow frosting. To frost all the rye cutouts, stir together 2 cups powdered sugar and 3 to 4 tablespoons milk until smooth; to frost half the cookies, use 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk.

Oatmeal Thumbprints

1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1 large egg, separated 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 cups regular rolled oats About 1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts or almods About 1/2 cup fruit jam

In a food processor or with a mixer, whirl or beat butter, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla until smoothly blended. Whirl or stir in flour until mixed, then stir in oats.

Shape dough into 2-teaspoon-size balls. Beat egg white and 2 teaspoons water with a fork. Dip balls into egg white, drain briefly, then roll them in nuts. Set balls about 1 inch apart on an ungreased 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. With your thumb, press a well in the center of each ball.

Bake cookies in a 300[degrees] oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and reshape each thumbprint by pressing the hollow down with rounded end of a wooden spoon. Quickly spoon about 1/2 teaspoon jam into each hollow (jam should not flow over rim). Return to oven and bake until cookies are golden brown and jam has melted, about 15 minutes longer.

With a spatula, transfer cookies to racks to cool. Serve or store (see box on page 192). Makes about 4 dozen.

Per cooky: 92 cal.; 1.3 g protein; 5.7 g fat (2.6 g sat.); 9.3 g carbo.; 42 mg sodium; 15 mg chol.

Wheat Germ Shortbread

1/4 cup pecans 1/2 cup each plain wheat germ and all-purpose flour 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/3 cup butter or margarine, cut into chunks 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (optional)

In a food processor, whirl pecans to a fine powder (or mince). Mix in wheat germ, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add butter and vanilla; whirl or rub mixture with fingers until dough holds together. Scrpe dough into a 9-inch cake pan with removable rim; pat the dough flat with lightly floured hands.

Bake in a 325[degrees] oven until cooky is darker brown and smells toasted, 25 to 30 minutes. For a decorative rim, firmly press tines of a floured fork around edge of warm cooky, then cut cooky into 10 to 12 wedges. Let cool, remove pan rim, and rub powdered sugar through a fine strainer onto cookies. Serve or store (see box on page 192). Makes 10 to 12.

Per wedge: 123 cal.; 2.1 g protein; 6.1 g fat (2.7 g sat.); 16 g carbo.; 44 mg sodium; 11 mg chol.

Whole-wheat Crisps

1 cup whole-wheat flour 1/2 cup cornstarch About 1/2 cup powdered sugar 3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine, cut into chunks 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a food processor or bowl, mix flour, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Add butter and vanilla; whirl or rub until dough holds together compactly.

Shape dough into 1-tablespoon-size balls. Place 2 inches apart on 2 ungreased 12- by 15-inch baking sheets. Dip a potato masher, slotted spoon, or fork in powdered sugar, then press each ball to flatten to about 1 3/4 inches in diameter.

Bake in a 325[degrees] oven until richly browned, 25 to 35 minutes. If using 1 oven, swith pan positions halfway through baking. Transfer cookies to racks with a spatula and let cool. Dust lightly with more powdered sugar, if desired. Serve or store (see box on page 192). Makes about 2 dozen.

Per cooky: 89 cal.; 0.7 g protein; 5.9 g fat (3.3 g sat.); 8.6 g carbo.; 60 mg sodium; 16 mg chol.

Sky Blue to Pink Cookies

Blue cornmeal (found in fancy food stores), like red cabbage, turns pink or brighter red when acid is added. In these earthy-flavor blue corn cookies, lemon juice contributes not only a pleasant tartness, but also a curious pink color. 1 1/2 cups blue cornmeal 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine 1 large egg white 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel 1/3 cup lemon juice Lemon icing (recipe follows)

In a food processor or large bowl, whirl or stir together blue cornmeal, flour, and sugar. Add butter and whirl or rub with fingers until mixture forms fine crumbs. Add egg white, lemon peel, and lemon juice; whirl or stir until well mixed.

Shape dough firmly into 4 ropes about 3/4 inch in diameter and as long as a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Lay ropes about 2 inches apart on pan. Without your thumbs, press ridges diagonally down the length of each rope (be careful not to press all the way to the pan).

Bake in a 300[degrees] oven until ropes are lightly browned at edges, 25 to 30 minutes. While ropes are hot, cut them at a 45[degrees] angle into 1-inch lengths across thumbprint ridges. Cool, then drizzle with lemon icing. Serve or store (see box on page 192). Makes about 4 dozen.

Per cooky: 66 cal.; 0.7 g protein; 2.4 g fat (1.4 g sat.); 11 g carbo.; 24 mg sodium; 5.9 mg chol.

Lemon icing. Stir together until smooth 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon each lemon juice and water.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Holiday Entertaining special section
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:How about a trim Christmas dinner?
Next Article:Easygoing big party on the move.

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