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Cookie recipes can be varied, versatile

Professional baker Mary Ann Williams shares some of her favorite cookie recipes from simple to a little more complicated for novice and more advanced holiday bakers. ERIC FREEHLING/BUTLER EAGLE11/27/22

Now that the holiday season is truly upon us, it’s time to start baking Christmas cookies.

In kitchens across Butler County, pastry makers and dough punchers will get an opportunity to demonstrate their baking skills.

But holiday baking can be a daunting prospect for the novice. Professional baker Mary Ann Williams shared some of her favorite cookie recipes that range from simple to a little more challenging.

“Some, like the sugar cookies, are really easy to make. The nut horns are a little more time-consuming,” Williams said.

But even the simple sugar cookie can be jazzed up.

“Sugar cookies are easy, but you can be real creative on what you can put on top of them, chocolate chips, sprinkles,” Williams said.

Meringues can be created in a number of shapes or can be simple drop cookies, she said. However, she cautioned, when baking meringues, “you cannot open the oven door. Things will happen, bad things.”

Don’t be afraid to change up the recipe ingredients she said.

“With the lemon bars, you can’t always guarantee how much juice you get out of a lemon,” she said. “To make up the difference, I added limoncello (an Italian lemon liqueur) and they turned out great.”

EASY SUGAR COOKIES

Preheat oven 325 degrees

Cream together and then set aside:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

*********

Whisk together in separate bowl:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Form dough into 1” balls at least 2” apart and place on cookie sheets. Do not flatten them — they will flatten themselves during baking.

Bake 325 degrees for 10 to 13 minutes. After baking, let the cookies set on cookie sheet 1-2 minutes before removing them from the cookie sheet. Remove from cookie sheet while still warm and soft. Cool on rack. They will become firm when cool.

If desired, cinnamon or nutmeg can be added to the recipe.

*After cooled, an option is to make a glaze with powdered sugar and milk and then add sprinkles, coconut or crushed nuts to top before glaze hardens.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Limoncello bars. Submitted Photo. 11/30/2022
An easy-to-make sugar cookie can be jazzed up with decorations such as sprinkles and nuts. SUBMITTED PHOTO 11/28/22
Merangue cookies can be shaped and decorated in a number of different ways. SUBMITTED PHOTO 11/28/22
Limoncello bars. Submitted Photo. 11/30/2022
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