Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baking: Mincemeat Cookies - Give 'em a try!!

Isn't that a pretty cookie?? I think using new bigger cookie cutters was fun, makes for more calories per cookie and they'll go faster and use up the dough so I made only half of them like this, but I just think it's lovely - to make these cookies you need a fair sized cookie cutter and a smaller one that either is identically small version or I think one that just compliments it myself. The inside is a Dogwood flower - my fave.
Since it is after Christmas I didn't feel chained to making the traditional heart, star, and holly leaf. Never mind I couldn't find the little cookie cutters anyway and no holly leaf, got lost in the two kitchens I suppose. So that is why you will see my other cookies later - rabbits! A new attempt - not quite such a great one, but we love rabbits in our family so I thought it was worth a try. Also I had identical small rabbit cutter so why not?
Now don't go running from the word mincemeat - it isn't gross at all like it sounds. It tastes wonderful...especially when you 'improve' on the recipe. My grandmother taught me to make them and we have a strict regime: mincemeat tarts are for Thanksgiving and only the mincemeat cookies are for Christmas. Well, I don't always follow that rule because the mincemeat cookies rock - the dough is what really does it, but the filling is necessary, too.
The recipe comes from my old (okay my mother's) old Betty Crocker Cookbook which photographed so nicely here it looks new - in person it is yellowed, beat up and vintagey looking. Odd what a camera can do...it's also held together with tape on the binding. LOL I have no idea if the new Betty Crocker cookbook has this recipe. I guess I could go look, but I'm lazy - I always use this one.
The recipe in my book is in the cookie section and is under 'filled cookies' - you can be lazy and just make turnovers, but we cut out two identical cookie cutter shapes, the top one with the little cut out and filling in between. It can take practice and the dough will need constant chilling to handle and plenty of flower - sticky!! It is a very easy batter to make and you don't need to use the heavy cream, I never have that on hand, only 2% milk and it works just fine. Heck, cuts back on calories, too. Practically fat free and diet like, right? lol

Now here's a not too attractive picture of the filling after I 'fixed' it. I add an apple or two, granny smith is my favorite for more bite and plenty of raisins, all of this chopped very, very finely. Diced til you couldn't make it smaller without it being apple sauce. This year I ran out of raisins and had already begun so I added dried cranberries, worked just as well. Add as much as you like. I even add a touch of sugar so the filling is sweet and not too clove-y for me. Weird how a shiney metal bowl can really ruin a pic. Ick. Too much reflection. The little white squares are the apple.

Now, after you are done, hopefully you end up with something like this: a pretty cookie with the filling peeking out.
When you break it open it looks like this - yum!! You should smell my house right now - wow, do those cookies smell good. I need to make an air freshner can of that smell. Mmmm.... Oh, one last tip, just a spoonful of filling in the cookies, make sure you can form a seal around the edges or they are messy. Sometimes, if it's just for your immediate family and they demand more mincemeat filling I don't mind if they don't seal perfectly.

This is my first year's attempt at bunny cookies...not quite as pretty, huh? Also the little bunny was just a little too big and kept breaking the bigger cookie and well, they ended up not too cute, but they taste just as good, trust me...

And that's the end of my little tutorial. I have a confession to make - even if no one will ever see them or I have plenty of good cookies, I make my family eat the ugly cookies first. Does anyone else do that?? LOL I'm a control freak and I want the pretty ones to last longer and you never know someone might stop by and you want to give them a pretty cookie or two, right? :) I also made a few star cookies, but they are too ugly even to show. Those go first tonight.
Happy Tuesday, Everyone!!


Heather said...

Oh my! arent they pretty! I've never had mince meat but it sounds like a nice old fashioned cookie, I'd like to try them!

58 Cherries said...

Oh, do! They taste great. Just look in the holiday aisle of a big supermarket for mincemeat, not many people use it, though I think it's getting a little more popular again as it has gotten easier to find lately. Open the jar and cut up the apple really fine along with raising and/or dried cranberries to your taste and then I cook the mixture a little. And I can't stress enough chilling the dough between batches of baking and cutting new cookies - the dough is STICKY. But tastes out of this world good.

Run Lori Run said...

I have the very same beat up cookbook from my grandmother ~ isn't it the best?

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