Spread joy: Bake, give cookies


By Daniel Neman - St. Louis Post-Dispatch



Holiday cookies

Holiday cookies


Hillary Levin/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

Hazelnut Crunch Bars

Hazelnut Crunch Bars


Hillary Levin/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

Sugar Cookies


Hillary Levin/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

Pecan Squares


Hillary Levin/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

With everyone concentrating on the gifts they plan to give others at this time of the year, we often overlook the smallest of gifts that are always received warmly.

I’m talking about cookies. The holiday season is nothing if not a time for the baking, giving, receiving and especially consuming of cookies. They are a vital part of the season’s festive spirit, a way to spread cheer and make the days merrier and brighter.

And they are so easy to make, or at least some of them are. With a good cookie — and is there really such a thing as a bad cookie? — the ratio of joy they bring to the recipient to the labor of baking them is off the chart.

This holiday season, I made batches of cookies. They range from very easy (sugar cookies) to decidedly complicated (hazelnut crunch bars), but they all fill you with that sparkling holiday spirit, and calories.

The procedure for making them all is basically the same: You cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and maybe an egg or two, and gently mix in flour, possibly baking powder or baking soda and perhaps a flavor such as cinnamon. Then, bake as directed.

It’s hard to believe that so many different types of cookies can be made from this one fundamental outline.

Here are the cookies I made:

Sugar Cookies: The Big Bang of cookies, the cookie from which all other cookies were born. Simple and classic, they are the best way to make sugar and butter crunchy, especially when flavored with a splash of vanilla. If you choose to top them in royal icing, you’ll add not only bright color but also an irresistible crisp top that brings textural contrast to the soft cookie.

Danish Butter Sandwiches: Think Oreo, but even better. Two delicate and light butter cookies surround a slightly nutty brown butter filling. They are kind of perfect this way, but if you don’t want the hassle of making the crème filling (or you just love butter cookies, which is understandable) the cookies by themselves are absolutely marvelous.

Chocolate-Dipped Orange Shortbread: Soft and crumbly shortbread is a traditional holiday favorite. It’s a classy cookie, quietly understated, that encourages the flavor of butter to shine through. You wouldn’t think it could be improved, but a bit of orange adds intrigue and makes it even more appropriate for the holiday. Dipping it in chocolate only increases its elegance.

Sugar-Topped Molasses Spiced Cookies: Call them gingerbread cookies if you must, because that’s what they are, but these sugar-topped molasses spiced cookies have an intriguing twist. A sprinkling of black pepper gives them a delightfully unexpected bite that acts as a contrast to the brown sugar and molasses.

Pecan Squares: These combine the best aspects of pecan pie with those of a cookie. Instead of a crust, a buttery shortbread is just the right thing to serve as a base for a pecan-pie topping. The earthiness of the nuts is balanced by a blend of maple syrup, honey, brown sugar and cream; it all blends into a marvelous three-bite treat.

Cinnamon Bun Cookies: Some evil genius took the heavenly and seductive flavor of cinnamon buns and figured out how to transfer it to a cookie. A swirl of sweetened cinnamon runs through these simple yet exquisite vanilla cookies, and they are made even better by an enchanting glaze brushed or drizzled on top.

White Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Cookies: The actual cookie dough is superb, even for a chocolate chip cookie; it begins with just enough ground oatmeal for flavor and texture, and corn syrup for chewiness. But then you add the always-delectable combination of macadamia nuts and white chocolate, and you end up with an unbeatable super-cookie.

Hazelnut Crunch Bars: Decadent and indulgent, these spectacular bars are worth the effort. They have four distinct layers, each better than the next. The bottom is a mixture of hazelnuts, milk chocolate and, for a lightly crispy texture, Rice Krispies. Then comes a rich, soft caramel. A soft cloud of sweet homemade marshmallow floats above the caramel, and it is all topped with an impossibly silky chocolate ganache.

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SUGAR COOKIES

Yield: About 24 servings

2 cups granulated sugar, divided

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

Royal icing, optional

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup of the sugar in a shallow dish for coating and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together, and set aside.

2. Beat the butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups of the sugar together in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Give the dough a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is combined.

4. Wet your hands with water, and roll 2 tablespoons of dough at a time into balls, then roll in the sugar to coat. Lay the balls on two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Flatten the cookies with the buttered bottom of a drinking glass, then sprinkle any of the remaining sugar over the flattened tops.

5. Alternatively, roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick, sprinkle with some of the sugar that was set aside for coating and cut into festive shapes with cookie cutters. Place on baking sheets spaced 2 inches apart.

6. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and just beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.

7. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. If desired, top with royal icing.

Per serving: 309 calories; 14 g fat; 9 g saturated fat; 67 mg cholesterol; 3 g protein; 44 g carbohydrate; 44 g sugar; no fiber; 111 mg sodium; 20 mg calcium

Adapted from “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook”

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DANISH BUTTER SANDWICHES

Yield: 24 servings

8 ounces (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 large egg yolk

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

About 5 to 6 teaspoons heavy cream

1. Adjust racks to top and bottom thirds of oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream 2 sticks (8 ounces) of the butter. Add the brown sugar and beat to mix. Add the egg yolk and beat to mix. On low speed, gradually add the flour, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating just until the mixture holds together in a ball.

3. Place a long sheet of waxed paper in front of you. Use a slightly rounded spoonful of the dough for each cookie and place the mounds of dough on the waxed paper, making 48 mounds.

4. Roll the mounds between your hands into round balls and place them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheets. With the heel of your hand or your fingertips, flatten each ball into a round cookie about 1/4 inch thick.

5. Have a little extra flour in a cup or bowl. Dip a fork into the flour and press the back of the tines firmly onto the top of the cookies, forming deep indentations in one direction only. Reflour the fork each time you use it; repeat with each cookie.

6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cookies. Reverse the cookie sheets top to bottom and front to back once during cooking to ensure even baking. Do not allow the cookies to brown — when done, they should be a pale golden color. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

7. These cookies will not be the same size. Match them into even pairs before filling them, and turn them flat-side up.

8. To make the filling, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the butter browns slightly; shake the pan gently during the last part of heating to keep the sediment from burning.

9. Remove from heat when the butter has a rich golden color and immediately add the powdered sugar, vanilla and 5 teaspoons of cream. Stir until completely smooth. If necessary, add another teaspoon or two of the cream to make a thick filling. Transfer the filling to a small custard cup or bowl for ease in handling.

10. Place a scant spoonful of the filling in the center of a cookie. Repeat with 4 or 5 cookies. Cover each cookie with its matching cookie and, as you do so, press the cookies gently together to spread the filling just to the edges of your sandwich. It will be easiest if you hold the cookie in your hands so you can turn them around to see where the filling is going.

11. Repeat, filling the remaining cookies, 4 or 5 at a time. The filling will thicken as you work with it, so when necessary stir in a few drops of additional cream. Add only a few drops at a time, to keep from making the filling too thin. Let the sandwiches stand for a few hours for the filling to set.

Per serving: 163 calories; 8 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 29 mg cholesterol; 1 g protein; 21 g carbohydrate; 2 g sugar; no fiber; 4 mg sodium; 11 mg calcium

Recipe from “Cookies are Magic” by Maida Heatter

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CHOCOLATE-DIPPED ORANGE SHORTBREAD

Yield: About 54 servings

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and cutting out dough

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

Grated zest of 1 orange

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl or stand mixer set on high speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg, followed by the orange zest, orange juice and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour mixture until just combined.

2. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; if it is too firm to roll out, let stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes to soften slightly).

3. Position the oven racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

4. Working with 1 disk at a time, briefly knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface until smooth. Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Dip a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter or another shape of similar size in flour and cut out cookies, cutting them as close together as possible to avoid excess scraps.

5. Arrange the rounds 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Gather up the dough scraps and gently knead together, and cut out more cookies. If the dough becomes too soft to roll out, refrigerate until chilled. Refrigerate any remaining dough while your bake the first batch.

6. Bake, rotating the positions of the sheets from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through baking, until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges and bottoms, about 20 minutes. The cookie tops will not brown, but do not underbake them. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire cooling racks and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

7. To dip the cookies, line baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats. Put the chocolate in a microwave-safe medium bowl. Heat the chocolate on medium, stirring at 30-second intervals, until fully melted. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has cooled to 89 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

8. One at a time, dip one half of each cookie into the chocolate. Drag the bottom of the cookie across the rim of the bowl to remove excess chocolate, and place the cookie on the baking sheet. If the chocolate cools and thickens, warm in the microwave for 15 seconds at medium power. Let the cookies stand until the chocolate sets and they can be easily lifted from the baking sheet, about 1 hour.

Per serving: 71 calories; 4 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; 12 mg cholesterol; 1 g protein; 9 g carbohydrate; 4 g sugar; no fiber; 40 mg sodium; 15 mg calcium

Recipe from “Baking for Friends” by Kathleen King

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SUGAR-TOPPED MOLASSES SPICE COOKIES

Yield: 24 servings

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Pinch (small or large, your choice) of cracked or coarsely ground black pepper

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)

1 large egg

About 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and pepper.

2. Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes or so to blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until the flour and spices disappear. If some flour remains in the bottom of the bowl, to avoid overbeating the dough, mix in the last of the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula. The dough will be smooth and very soft.

4. Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 days.

5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

6. Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Working with one packet of dough at a time, divide it into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a small ball between your palms. One by one, roll the balls around in the bowl of sugar, then place them on one of the baking sheets. Dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar and use it to press down on the cookies until they are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.

7. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops feel set to the touch. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, if the cookies have spread and are touching, use the edge of a metal spatula to separate them while they are still hot. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool at room temperature.

Per serving: 167 calories; 6 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 23 mg cholesterol; 2 g protein; 27 g carbohydrate; 18 g sugar; no fiber; 162 mg sodium; 27 mg calcium

Recipe from “Baking” by Dorie Greenspan

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PECAN SQUARES

Yield: 24 servings

For the shortbread layer

Softened butter for the pan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold, salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/3 cup granulated sugar

For the topping layer

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) salted butter, cut into tablespoons

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup Grade B pure maple syrup, see note

1/4 cup heavy cream

31/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Note: Grade B maple syrup can be hard to find. If you can’t find it, use Grade A.

1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Line the bottom and the 2 short ends with a 20-inch long piece of aluminum foil, pleating the foil to fit and letting the excess foil hang over the ends. Lightly butter the foil.

2. To make the shortbread layer: In a medium bowl, mix the flour, butter and sugar with an electric mixer set on low speed until just combined and crumbly. Do not mix into a dough; it should remain crumbly. Press firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand on a wire cooling rack. Leave the oven on.

3. To make the topping: In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and heavy cream to a boil, stirring until the butter melts. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans. Pour and spread the pecan mixture over the crust.

4. Return to the oven and bake until the pecan mixture is bubbling and golden brown around the edges, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack.

5. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the shortbread to release it. Lift up the foil “handles” and remove the shortbread from the pan. Using a long, sharp knife, cut into 24 rectangles.

Per serving: 162 calories; 11 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 29 mg cholesterol; 1 g protein; 18 g carbohydrate; 11 g sugar; no fiber; 85 mg sodium; 8 mg calcium

Recipe from “Baking for Friends” by Kathleen King

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CINNAMON BUN COOKIES

Yield: 24 cookies

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon table salt

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 cup heavy cream

1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, the butter, the salt and 11/2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract. Add the flour, stirring just enough to make a cohesive dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until you’re ready to use it.

2. On a piece of parchment or waxed paper, roll the dough into a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. In a small bowl, mix together the egg white and water. In a different small bowl, mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Brush the dough with the egg white glaze. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon mixture.

3. Starting with the long edge, roll the dough into a log, sealing the edge. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment and freeze until firm.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the freezer and unwrap it. With a sharp knife, gently cut it into 1/2-inch slices. Transfer slices to the prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool.

6. When cookies are completely cool, sift the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar into a medium-size bowl. Whisk the cream into the sugar to make a smooth glaze. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap until ready to use, to prevent a crust from forming.

7. Drizzle or brush cookies with glaze.

Per serving: 120 calories; 6 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 15 mg cholesterol; 1 g protein; 16 g carbohydrate; 10 g sugar; no fiber; 52 mg sodium; 3 mg calcium

Recipe from “The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion”

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WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNK MACADAMIA COOKIES

Yield: 40 servings

¾ cup lightly packed very fresh dark brown sugar

½ cup quick (1-minute) oats

¹⁄³ cup granulated sugar

1¾ cup all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 ounces fine-quality white chocolate, cut into ¼- to ½-inch pieces

1½ cups coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

1. Position the shelves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place the brown sugar, oats and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process 2½ to 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to pulse. The oats must be finely ground.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and corn syrup together on medium-low speed, mixing until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the oats-sugar mixture in 3 additions and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

5. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the dry ingredients one-half at a time, and mix just until blended. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the white chocolate pieces and macadamia nuts.

6. Drop 1½-inch mounds of dough (about the size of a large walnut) onto cookie sheets, about 3 inches apart. Scrape down the size of the bowl occasionally to ensure even distribution of the chocolate chips and nuts. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. To ensure even baking, toward the end of the baking time rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back. Do not overbake.

7. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 2 minutes. When they are firm enough to handle, transfer to cooling racks.

Per serving: 204 calories; 13g fat; 4g saturated fat; 17mg cholesterol; 3g protein; 21g carbohydrate; 7g sugar; 1g fiber; 50mg sodium; 17mg calcium

Recipe from “Great Cookies” by Carole Walter

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HAZELNUT CRUNCH BARS

Yield: 24 bars

For caramel (see note)

1 cup water

1¼ cups granulated sugar

½ cup corn syrup

4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter

1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the hazelnut crunch

½ cup hazelnuts, toasted (60 grams, 2 ounces)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Rice Krispies cereal

9 ounces milk chocolate

For the marshmallow

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

¼ cup cold water

3 large egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

½ cup water

2 tablespoons corn syrup

For the dark satin ganache

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup light corn syrup

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

10 ounces semisweet chocolate broken into small pieces

Note: The caramel must be made at least one day and up to a week before making the bars.

1. Make the caramel: Place the water, sugar and corn syrup in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil, and wash down the sides of the pan with a natural bristle pastry brush dipped in water. Boil without stirring until the mixture becomes a medium golden color.

2. Take it off the heat and immediately add the butter; stir until it is melted. Pour in the cream all at once and stir. Don’t worry if some of the cream forms lumps. If possible, clip a candy or frying thermometer onto the side of the pan.

3. Return the heat to medium-high and bring to a hard boil. Cook to 242 degrees. Pour into a container. Do not stir at this point. Allow to cool to room temperature. Set aside for at least one day.

4. Make the hazelnut crunch: Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper. Spray the paper and sides of the pan with a nonstick spray. Set aside.

5. Add the cooled, toasted hazelnuts to the bowl of a processor and process until fairly finely ground. Do not overprocess or you will make a paste. Remove to a large bowl and add the Rice Krispies cereal. Mix well and set aside.

6. Spray the back of a large spoon with nonstick spray, and set aside.

7. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave at half power. Pour it over the hazelnut/cereal mix and quickly mix all of it together with a large spoon or a gloved hand. Pour into the prepared pan and immediately smooth it with the back of the sprayed spoon or a gloved hand. If it sets up too quickly, place it in the oven on the lowest setting for a few minutes to loosen.

8. Add the caramel: Microwave the caramel or heat over a double boiler until spreadable. Do not stir any more than necessary. Pour it over the hazelnut crunch layer and spread evenly. Set aside.

9. Make the marshmallow: Sprinkle the gelatin over the ¼ cup cold water. Stir to moisten all of it; set aside.

10. Place the egg whites and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat to soft peaks on medium speed. Slowly add ¼ cup of the sugar and beat to stiff peaks.

11. As soon as you begin beating the egg whites, combine the ½ cup of water, the remaining ¾ cup of sugar and the corn syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, washing down the sides of the pan with a brush dipped in cold water. Boil to a temperature of 240 degrees.

12. If the egg whites are stiff before the sugar syrup comes to temperature, lower the speed of the mixer as low as possible and keep mixing the whites. Do not turn off the mixer.

13. As soon as the sugar syrup comes to temperature, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Try to pour the syrup between the bowl and the whisk so it goes directly into the whisk or bowl. Liquefy the gelatin in the microwave for a few seconds and pour it over the egg white mixture. Beat until cool and stiff.

14. If the caramel has hardened, heat the top of the caramel layer with a blow dryer so the marshmallow can adhere to it. Immediately pour the marshmallow over the caramel and smooth it out. Cool completely.

15. Make the ganache: Heat the cream, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan until steaming hot but not boiling. Submerge the chocolate in the hot cream and let sit for a few minutes. Gently whisk until smooth; do not whisk too enthusiastically or you will have air bubbles in the ganache. Pour the ganache over the marshmallow and smooth it out. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight

16. To serve: Loosen the edges with a small flexible spatula and turn out onto a cake board. Turn right side up and cut 6 rows across and 4 rows down with a hot knife. The knife must be dipped into very hot water and quickly dried with a paper towel between each cut. Let the knife melt through the ganache, which will be cold and firm, and then cut straight down.

17. To store, keep in a closed container at a cool room temperature for a day or two. For longer storage, refrigerate.

Per serving: 314 calories; 15g fat; 9g saturated fat; 22mg cholesterol; 3g protein; 44g carbohydrate; 41g sugar; 1g fiber; 36mg sodium; 32mg calcium

Recipe from “Craving Cookies” by Helen S. Fletcher

Holiday cookies
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/12/web1_FOOD-HDY-COOKIES-1-SL.jpgHoliday cookies Hillary Levin/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS
Hazelnut Crunch Bars
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/12/web1_FOOD-HDY-COOKIES-2-SL.jpgHazelnut Crunch Bars Hillary Levin/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS
Sugar Cookies
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/12/web1_FOOD-HDY-COOKIES-3-SL.jpgSugar Cookies Hillary Levin/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS
Pecan Squares
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/12/web1_FOOD-HDY-COOKIES-4-SL.jpgPecan Squares Hillary Levin/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

By Daniel Neman

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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