Many people believe the Christmas season isn't complete without Christmas cookies.
Even folks who don't bake at any other time of the year enjoy the ritual of pulling out all the equipment, shopping for fresh ingredients and looking through cookbooks and recipe file boxes so they can bake their favorites.
Cookies are so much a part of Christmas tradition the Dundalk Renaissance Corp. has made the small morsels of goodness a part of Dundalk's annual Christmas celebration.
Thanks to generous donors, the DRC's Cookie Tour on Dec. 1 featured nearly 4,500 cookies that were given out at a variety of participating businesses in the Dundalk Village Shopping Center.
Local residents baked and donated cookies for the event. Some of those bakers, confident about their special recipes, entered the cookie recipe contest.
The contest garnered 37 entrants who competed in eight categories, according to DRC Marketing Director Diane Lesman.
Five judges had the enviable task of tasting each entered cookie and judging them against a list of criteria established for the competition.
When the crumbs settled, judges announced the following winners:
Best Overall: Pumpkin Cookies submitted by Dolores Stump
Best Decorated: Christmas Mice Cookies submitted by Dottie Cristy
Best Gourmet: Candy Cane Cookies submitted by Angel Ball
Five Ingredients or Less: Crunchy Chocolate Candy Cookie submitted by Sebastian Lopez
No Bake: Peanut Butter Oatmeal submitted by Angel Ball
1st Place Traditional: Spicy Sugar Cookies submitted by Ronnie Patterson
2nd Place Traditional: Madelines submitted by Ronnie Patterson
3rd Place Traditional: Thumbprints submitted by E.M. Christensen
Winners received gift cards from Mars Supermarkets.
If you'd like to try your hand at making some of the winning cookies, the recipes are below:
Christmas Mice Cookies
Submitted by Dotty Cristy
1 package Oreo cookies (regular or double stuff)
1 bag Hershey kisses
1 jar Maraschino cherries with stems
1 bag slivered almonds
Milk chocolate chips (the type used for candy making)
Small tube of red and green writing gel
Remove one side of the Oreo cookie. You will use the side with the white frosting as the base for your cookies. Have all bases ready and set aside.
Remove the cherries from the jar (with stems), rinse with water, and let dry out as much as possible. You'll need one cherry for each base.
Remove foil from kisses and set them aside in bowl. Again, you'll need one for each cookie.
Each cookie will need two slivered almonds, try to match them up as much as possible, as these are the mouse ears.
Melt chocolate candy making chips. Use a two-cup Pyrex (or microwave-proof) measuring cup. Heat in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between; do not overcook chocolate. To keep chocolate melted longer, set the measuring cup in a bowl with hot water in it.
To assemble: Dip cherry, holding it by the upturned stem, in the melted chocolate. Place the cherry on a base with the stem turned upward. Before the chocolate sets up, place a kiss on the opposite end of the cherry from the tail, tilted upward and slide the almond slices between the kiss and the cherry, angle
slightly so they look like ears. The chocolate sets up fast. Now your mouse is assembled. Finish all the mice at one time.
Use two dots of red gel to make the mouse eyes.
On the base of the cookie, use the green gel to draw a holly leaf and either red gel or red decor candies to make the berries.
1st Place Traditional
Spicy Sugar Cookies submitted by Ronnie Patterson
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2 1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 c. butter (2 sticks)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
In a large bowl, Sift together first 5 ingredients
In another bowl, mix on low speed: sugar and room temperature butter (both sticks)
add and mix one egg
add & mix 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Make sure this is well blended.
Gradually add flour mixture to wet mixture, blending well.
Divide into four to six sections - wrap in wax paper - put in a plastic bag and let rest for at least one day in the refrigerator.
Lightly flour surface and roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters and place on lightly greased sheets and bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. When cool, lightly dust powdered suger over cookies, or you can frost the cookies.
1/4 c. butter or margarine
2 c. 10x powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. cream
Cream together butter (or margarine) and 10-x sugar; add vanilla and stir. Gradually add cream until frosting is the right consistency.
2nd Place Traditional:
Madelines submitted by Ronnie Patterson
Pre-heat oven 350 degrees
3/4 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. cake flour
1 Tbs. rum or rum extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract OR 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
10X powdered sugar (for dusting)
Brown 3/4 cups of butter - allow to cool to lukewarm.
In the top of a double boiler (water should not be boiling) heat eggs and sugar.
Remove from heat and beat until mixture is light & creamy.
Gradually add 1 cup cake flour, mixing well.
Add the cooled 3/4 cup of melted butter, rum or rum extract, and vanilla or grated lemon rind.
Grease and lightly flour Madeline pans
Fill 2/3 full with batter
Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown
Cool on rack
When cooled, remove from pans and dust tops with 10X powdered sugar.
3rd Place Traditional
Thumbprint Cookies submitted by Elisabeth Christensen
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 t. salt
1 c. butter (no substitutes)
1/2 c. superfine sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract OR 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract & 1/2 tsp. almond extract
jam for filling
1/2 c. sifted 10X powdered sugar (for dusting)
Sift together flour and salt; set aside. Cream butter & sugar until light and fluffy; add extract(s).
Slowly mix in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until just blended.
Chill dough for 1 - 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 325.
Meanwhile, quickly shape dough into 1-inch balls and space them 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Make a deep thumbprint in each; fill with preferred jam.
Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies are the color of pale sand. Transfer to wire cooling racks.
When cooled, dust with 10X sugar and pack in tins.
Submitted by "The 3 Generations" Anna Williams, Angel Ball and Allie Callahan
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. cocoa
1 pinch salt
1/2 c. milk
1/4 lb. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
3 c. quick oatmeal
1) Mix in pan: sugar, cocoa, milk butter and salt
2) Heat to boiling on medium heat
3) Take off stove and let cool for 1 minute
4) Add vanilla extract, peanut butter, and oatmeal - stir well
5) Drop by teaspoonful onto wax paper and let cool.
Pumpkin Cookies submitted by Dolores Stump
1 box spice cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 bag cinnamon chips
½ cup water
Mix all ingredients.
Spray a 24-cup cupcake pan with Spam or oil
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min.
Candy Cane Cookies
Submitted by "The 3 Generations" Anna Williams, Angel Ball & Allie Callahan
Preheat oven to 350.
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. peppermint extract
3 1/2 c. Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red food color
2 Tbs. finely crushed peppermint candies
2 Tbs. sugar
1) Stir together 1 cup sugar, the butter, milk, vanilla, peppermint extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Divide dough in half. Stir food color into 1 half. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
2) For each candy cane, shape 1 rounded teaspoon dough from each half into 4-inch rope by rolling back and forth on floured surface. Place 1 red and white rope side by side; press together lightly and twist.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet; curve top of cookie down to form handle of cane.
3) Bake 9 to 12 minutes or until set and very light brown, immediately sprinkle candy mixture over cookies. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies
5 Ingredients or Less
Crunchy Chocolate Cookie Candy
submitted by Sebastian Lopez
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 c. peanut butter chips
2 c. Grape Nuts (use Grape Nut Flakes for softer cookie)
2 c. dry-roasted peanuts
1) Put the chips in a large microwaveable bowl and melt in microwave. Heat for 1 minute, stir, and repeat for 1 minute at a time until the chips are melted and smooth.
2) Add Grape Nuts and peanuts to melted chips and stir until Grape Nuts and peanuts are coated.
3) Line baking sheets with waxed paper; drop mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets.
Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
Makes about 4 dozen crunchy cookies/candies/confections. The Grape Nuts and peanuts make this healthy.