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How To Bake for a Very Small Crowd : Desserts: There's no need to prepare a mountain of cookies this Christmas; paired with ice cream, these quick-fix cookies are a perfect dessert for two.

December 06, 1990|BEV BENNETT | Bennett is food editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and author of four cookbooks. and

The aroma of freshly baked cookies is just as delightful a part of the holiday season as the scent of pine boughs. But even if you don't have a large family to bake for, you don't have to miss out--this column has recipes for cookies and ice cream for two.

The cookies, which supposedly originated years ago in Chicago's Senn High School (but more likely were part of the Board of Education's basic recipe book), are prized by practically everyone who went through that city's school system. The delicious, tender butter cookies with a light sugar coating may be the only thing some Chicagoans remember about their high school years.

Fortunately, the recipe was easy to scale down. Like most cookie recipes, this one is easy to double in case the enticing fragrance brings a crowd to your door.

For a special dessert, serve them with rich homemade Cinnamon-Ginger Ice Cream.

SENN HIGH SCHOOL

BUTTER COOKIES

1/2 cup butter, softened

Sugar

Dash salt

Scant 1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter and 6 tablespoons sugar until fluffy. Add salt. Gradually add flour, blending in to make stiff, smooth dough. Stir in vanilla.

Form dough into 8 balls and place far apart on ungreased baking sheet. Place some sugar on saucer. Press palm of hand into sugar, then use to flatten each ball of dough to 3-inch circle, 1/4-inch thick.

Bake at 350 degrees 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave on baking sheet 5 minutes, then loosen with spatula and remove to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 8 cookies.

CINNAMON-GINGER

ICE CREAM

1 pint half and half

3 egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

Dash salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup diced candied ginger

Scald half and half and set aside.

Mix together egg yolks, sugar, salt and cinnamon in top of double boiler and set over simmering water. Slowly pour in half and half, whisking constantly. Whisk over low heat until mixture is slightly thickened and smooth, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Process in ice cream machine according to manufacturer's directions, adding ginger when mixture is slushy. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Note: If desired, add 1/4 cup chopped pecans and/or 1/4 cup golden raisins to ice cream mixture when adding ginger.

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