Baked your holiday cookies yet?

Beery ginger cookies

180 g butter or margarine
190 ml molasses
250 ml soft brown sugar
5 ml bicarbonate of soda
10 ml ground ginger
3 ml ground cinnamon
3 ml salt
480 g cake flour, sifted
125 ml (0.5 c) heated beer, stirred to remove gas
65 ml chopped pecan nuts

Preheat the oven to 190 ºC. Beat the butter, molasses, sugar and bicarbonate of soda together. Sift the ginger, cinnamon, salt and cake flour together. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the beer, and mix to form a dough that is easy to roll out. Add more flour if needed. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until about 3 mm thick. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and place on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle each cookie with chopped nuts and bake for about 8-10 minutes until pale brown. Coot slightly on the baking sheets before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers. Makes 120 cookies.

Chocolate fudge cookies

500 ml cake flour
30 ml cocoa
10 ml baking powder
500 ml oats
500 ml coconut
250 ml sugar
350 g margarine, melted
500 ml icing sugar
10 ml cocoa
10 ml margarine, melted
50 ml hot water

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF). Spray a 30 x 23 cm ovenproof dish with nonstick spray. Sift together the cake flour, cocoa and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add the oats, coconut and sugar and mix. Add the melted margarine and mix until the dry ingredients are well moistened. Press the mixture into the prepared dish, spreading it evenly. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until cooked through and slightly crisp.
Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa. Add the margarine and hot water and mix to form a stiff paste. Spread over the cake while still hot, then leave to cool. Cut into squares and store in airtight containers. Makes about 34 squares.
Cinnamon cookies

250 g butter
85 ml castor sugar
250 ml cornflour
400 ml cake flour
7 ml cinnamon
45 ml icing sugar
5 ml cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF). Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray. Cream the butter until light and fluffy and add small quantities of the castor sugar at a time while beating continuously. Sift together the cornflour, cake flour and cinnamon and add to the butter mixture. Work together with your hands until a stiff dough is formed. Roll into walnut sized balls and arrange on the baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until done and straw coloured. Cool and store in airtight containers. Dust with icing sugar and cinnamon just before serving. Serve with coffee. Makes 40 cookies.
Currant cookies

225 g butter
375 ml sugar
2 extra-large eggs
1 lemon, finely grated rind
2 ml rum essence
750 ml cake flour
5 ml bicarbonate of soda
5 ml cream of tartar
2 ml baking powder
1 ml salt
190 ml currants, rinsed
500 ml cornflakes, crushed

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC and butter a few baking sheets or spray with non-stick spray. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon rind and rum essence. Sift the dry ingredients together and add the currants. Add to the butter mixture and mix to form a dough, (if the dough is too soft, add a little cake flour. Take small pieces of the dough and roll into balls. Roll in the crushed cornflakes and arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly with a fork and bake for 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown.
Hertzog cookies

100 g butter
265 g sugar
3 large eggs
500 g self-raising flour
160 g desiccated coconut
smooth apricot or peach jam

Set oven on 200 ºC.
Beat together butter and 50g sugar until light. Beat in the egg yolks.
Stir in the flour and add enough cold water to make a soft dough.
Roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface until it is about 5mm thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out rounds and line greased patty pans with the dough.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Add remaining sugar, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat until thick and glossy, then fold in the coconut.
Place about half a teaspoonful of apricot jam into the centre of each pastry base. Top with coconut mixture and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until pastry is crisp and golden.
Mealie meal cookies

125 g margarine or butter
500 g sugar
3 eggs
15 ml bicarbonate of soda
7 ml caramel essence
400 ml milk
1 kg mealie (maize) meal

Preheat the oven to 200 ºC (400 ºF). Grease a few baking sheets. Cream the butter, sugar and eggs together. Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix well. Add the caramel essence. Gradually add the milk to the creamed mixture alternately with the mealie meal. Add just enough milk to form a soft dough that can be rolled into balls and placed on the baking sheets. Allow enough room in between for the cookies to spread while baking. Flatten the balls slightly with a fork. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, remove carefully and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 75 cookies.
Melt-in-the-mouth cookies

250 g soft butter
100 g castor sugar
240 g cake flour
60 g cornflour
2 ml salt
125 ml milk
50 g soft butter
130 g icing sugar
5 ml grated lemon rind
15 ml lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Spray 2 large baking trays with nonstick spray. Cream the butter and castor sugar until light and fluffy. Sift in the dry ingredients and blend well. Add up to 125 ml milk to form a stiff but manageable dough. Spoon into a piping bag with a star tube and pipe rosettes on to the prepared baking trays. Bake for about 15 minutes or until baked through and pale brown. To prepare the filling, beat the butter until creamy and sift in the icing sugar while beating continuously. Add the lemon rind and juice and blend well. Sandwich the cookies together with the filling. Makes 23-25 cookies.

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