Granny's sugar cookies. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)
Vicki Wawerchak of West Los Angeles was one of the 10 winners of last year's Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off with Granny's sugar cookies:
"When we traveled to visit my grandparents, we were 99% guaranteed that we would go home with a couple of coffee cans full of her baked delights. The challenge was waiting until we left to see and taste what she created. When my family was ready to leave, a paper bag filled with coffee cans mysteriously appeared, and my sisters and I would fight to see who would carry it to the car. We tucked it behind a seat in our VW bus and weren't allowed to peek until we said our goodbyes. My dad backed the van out of the parking spot, with grandma and grandpa standing at the edge of the lot waving, and down the driveway we went. But when we turned the corner and made our way to the freeway, we could still see them in the distance. So we waved like goofballs with extended, over-exaggerated movements hoping they could still see us as our silhouettes faded in the distance. The goodbye only took five minutes, but it felt like an hour when waiting for a tasty treat. We were allowed one, and I always chose the sugar. I would bite into it slowly, allowing it to melt away, crumbs covering my shirt."
These festive cookies are one of the favorite holiday cookie recipes we've collected in our updated "Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookies" e-book. The cookbook now includes 65 recipes from a wide range of sources, including world-famous pastry chefs, favorite bakeries and home cooks. And check out the favorite holiday recipes we've collected in our "Los Angeles Times Holiday Handbook." The book shares more than 110 seasonal recipes to help you celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's.
Each book is $4.99. They are available at the Los Angeles Times bookstore for Kindle, Nook and iBooks.
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Granny's sugar cookies
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes, plus chilling and cooling times
Servings: Makes about 5 dozen cookies
Note: Adapted from a recipe by Vicki Wawerchak.
4 1/2 cups sifted flour (18 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the margarine with the sugar and powdered sugar until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined, then beat in the vanilla. Add the oil and flour mixture, one-fourth of each at a time, until combined to form a dough. Cover and refrigerate the dough until well-chilled, at least 2 hours.
3. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Take a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Place the ball on a cookie sheet and press down with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar to flatten the cookie. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.
4. Bake the cookies until set and lightly colored on the edges, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Each of 5 dozen cookies: 113 calories; 1 gram protein; 12 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 6 mg cholesterol; 5 grams sugar; 75 mg sodium.