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It's the 3rd annual L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off

October 28, 2012|By Betty Hallock
  • Almond candy cane cookies.
Almond candy cane cookies. (Ricardo De Aratanha / Los…)

If you'v got a holiday cookie recipe you love, we'd love to know about it. You've got a few more days to enter the 3rd annual Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off. Post your recipe along with a short essay explaining why this cookie is your family's favorite. You can find a link for entry on our website: latimes.com/food.

We'll test and taste the top 50 vote-getters at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Pasadena to come up with the 10 best. The deadline for entries is Nov. 3, and the voting ends Nov. 12. So get your recipe in as soon as you can.

Here's a recipe for one of last year's winning cookies: Almond candy cane cookies submitted by Kristen Johnson.

Almond candy cane cookies

Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus chilling time for the dough

Servings: Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Note: Adapted from a recipe by Kristen Johnson.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter

1 1/2 cups shortening

3 cups powdered sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons almond extract

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

Scant 9 cups (38 ounces) flour

Red food coloring

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, then add the almond and vanilla extracts. Add the salt, then slowly add the flour, a little at a time, until completely incorporated to form the dough.

2. Divide the dough in half. Cover and refrigerate half. To the other half, add enough food coloring to turn the dough a rich pink. Cover the other half; and refrigerate both pieces of dough about 30 minutes.

3. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

4. Form the cookies: Take a heaping tablespoon each of the pink and white dough. Roll each piece into a strip, then take the two strips and place them side by side so they are touching each other. Roll them together so you have one uniform piece, red on one side and white on the other, then twist to swirl. Twist the dough to form the shape of a candy cane. Continue forming the cookies with all of the dough.

5. Bake the cookies on a cookie sheet until set, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the hot cookies from the sheet carefully, as the "hook" of the cane can break easily; allowing them to sit on the cookie sheet for a minute or so after baking makes the removal a bit easier. Glaze while hot.

Glaze and assembly

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 to 3 teaspoons almond extract

1/4 cup milk, more as needed

Cookies

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the softened butter with the powdered sugar. Beat in the almond extract, then slowly add the milk. Add enough milk to create a glaze-like consistency (not as thick as frosting, but thick enough to coat the cookie). Glaze the cookies generously while hot. Feel free to add a second coating of glaze if you'd like!

2. The cookies are good warm, but they are actually at their best the second day, or after they have had time to really cool and properly set.

Each of 4 dozen cookies: 264 calories; 3 grams protein; 32 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 14 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 30 mg cholesterol; 15 grams sugar; 128 mg sodium.

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