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L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off: Enter now!

October 29, 2012
(Ricardo De Aratanha / Los…)

Cookie bakers! There are just a few days left 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: Dulce de leche cookies submitted by Zaira Angelo.

Dulce de leche cookies

Total time: 2 hours, 25 minutes, plus chilling and cooling times

Servings: Makes about 21/2 dozen (2-inch) sandwich cookies

Note: Adapted from a recipe by Zaira Angelo.

Dulce de leche

3 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1. In a medium, heavy-bottom pot, combine the milk, sugar and cinnamon over medium heat, stirring very gently with a wooden spoon. Once the sugar dissolves, stir in the baking soda and salt. Continue to cook, stirring very gently, until the mixture is thickened and creamy, about 1 hour. Do not allow the milk to boil over the pan (mostly because this will create a huge mess). When the mixture is thickened and resembles a caramel sauce, remove the pan from the heat; the dulce de leche is ready. This makes about 1 1/2 cups dulce de leche; more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. The dulce de leche will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 10 days.

Shortbread cookies and assembly

1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

About 23/4 cups (12 ounces) flour

Dulce de leche

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla, then the flour a little at a time until incorporated.

2. Form the dough into a disk, cover and chill for 15 minutes.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a thickness of one-fourth inch. Cut the dough into fun shapes using cookie cutters. Bake the cookies on cookie sheets until lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes (timing will vary depending on size and shape).

4. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes, then spread the dulce de leche over the tops of half of the cookies; cover each half with another half to create a sandwich. Cool the cookies completely, or until the dulce de leche is set.

Each of 21/2 dozen sandwich cookies: 149 calories; 2 grams protein; 21 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 7 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 18 mg cholesterol; 12 grams sugar; 22 mg sodium.

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