Tag Archives | cookies


Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Holiday Breakfast and Baked Goods

Story by Sanford D’Amato

And they were prepared as it was written. He looked, took a bite, and was pleased. It was good.

In my pre-pubescent world, there was not-a-morning-person, and then there was my mother. For her, the only appropriate first salutation of the day was, “Good afternoon.” This put a damper on breakfast at our house. My sister and I would self-prepare our morning meals. I learned to open a box and pour milk over Sugar Pops or Kix from a very early age.

I was always amazed, and a bit jealous, when I went over to my friend Rick’s house before school. Uncommon smells emanated from his kitchen: ham, bacon or sausage, accompanied by sizzling eggs, pancakes, waffles or French toast. An ever-present sticky bottle of Log Cabin syrup was a beacon in the center of the table. This was another world to me, as Mrs. Sheridan, with help from her kids, would put out this full-scale spread every morning.

Christmas Day was the only day of the year that my dad closed his grocery store and didn’t work. My sister and I would rush down to the presents and right after … Read More

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DIY Edible Gifts

Kid-Friendly Presents to Give and Receive

Column by Francie Szostak
Photography by Erika Kent

Each December for as long as I can remember, my sister and I would head to our Aunt Mo’s house in Chicago for a holiday crafting weekend full of gift making and cookie baking. We’d spend hours singing to holiday tunes while making homemade presents and sweets to give our family for Christmas.

While the projects and recipes have advanced over the years, the formula for the weekend always stayed the same. Crafts, carols and lots of cookie dough. As we got older, Aunt Mo started taking us on the pre-crafting supply run, stopping at her favorite local chocolate shop to pick up white chocolate to melt over pretzels, or to the Asian market to pick up the right spices for her famous gingerbread. We’d even stop by the mom and pop fabric store to pick out ribbons to decorate our gifts.

While making homemade edible gifts during the holiday season is a great way to show love and thoughtfulness for family and friends, it’s also a great opportunity to support local food producers and retailers.

Strengthening of local economy and the spirit of community partnership … Read More

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From Sandragina Ebben

Fregolotti is a giant break-apart cookie from the Veneto region. It starts as a pile of buttery crumbs, but after baking is like a big shortbread cookie.

(Serves 6-8)

  • 1 c. almonds, toasted and finely ground
  • 2 2/3 c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Amaretto or brandy

Mix nuts, flour, and sugar.

Using a pastry blender, work in the butter until the mixture forms uniform crumbs.

Sprinkle lemon juice and Amaretto over mixture and toss together lightly with a fork until blended. Mixture should be crumbly.

Lightly spread mixture into a buttered and floured 12-inch round pan with 1-in. high sides. Do not press into the pan.

Bake at 350F until browned, 50-60 minutes.

Let cool on a rack.

Break into delicious chunks before eating.

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Cookie Bill Creeps Forward

Photography by Joe Laedtke

Home bakers and canners may soon make up to $10,000 annually from their art, if a bill wending its way through the state Legislature gains final approval. Wisconsin’s “Cookie Bill” passed a first big hurdle by clearing the state Senate with bipartisan support. It now heads to the Assembly, and then to the governor.

The bill allows face-to-face, but not door-to-door, sales to consumers of “non-hazardous” baked goods (i.e. high-acid or low-moisture goods not prone to supporting pathogens). It exempts small-scale sellers from requiring a commercial license or commercial kitchen.

It also increases to $10,000 the pre-existing $5,000 annual sales limit for home canners under the existing Pickle Law.

And it’s about time. Wisconsin needs to catch up with the 32 other states with laws in place supporting home-baked food sales. Advocates say this bill would be a boon for those starting up businesses, testing products, or simply looking for a secondary income.

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Pro Tips from the Cookie Masters

Start Your Own Holiday Cookie Tradition


Story by Christina Ward
Photography by Joe Laedtke


Put down that cookie! That rock-hard tasteless disc of grinning green snowman extruded from a tube o’ plastic. It’s that time of year when we all feel the pressure to perform, then slink into the grocery store and sneakily grab that slab of pre-made frozen cookie dough. Sure, the kindergarten class might be satisfied. But you know. It’s not the same. Those are not the cookies Grandma made.

You can look back onto the faded scrap of paper written in a precise, spidery handwriting… it’s a recipe but only just. No title, just a list of ingredients with arcane measurements of ‘pinch’ or ‘add flour until dough is sticky’. How are you supposed to make that?

The favorite holiday cookies handed down through generations are the simplest. Butter, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla. That’s the core of all the recipes shared here. It’s the slight variations in spices and technique that make them different. And it’s the love with which they’re made that makes them special.

I checked in with some of my favorite home bakers and asked them to reveal their secrets to successful … Read More

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