Cooking in the Clouds: Christmas Baking

Cooking in the cloud
It’s that time of year to start your Christmas baking.  I know!!  Here are some basic cookie recipes to get you started.  May you all have a very Merry Christmas!
Lighter Snickerdoodles
1/4 Cup butter
1 1/2 Cups White Sugar
4 Oz. lowfat cream cheese
1 egg
2 egg whites
2 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Tsp. cream of tartar
1 Tsp. baking soda
1/4  Tsp. salt
1/4 Cup white sugar
2 Tsp. ground cinnamon
Cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar with the cream cheese in a large bowl.  Beat the egg and egg whites into the mixture until smooth.  Sift the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt together.  Stir into the creamed mixture.  Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a small dish.  Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, then into the cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Place the balls 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet & flatten slightly.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Crisp Ginger Cookies
1/3 Cup molasses
1/4 Cup shortening
2/3 Cup brown sugar
1 1/4 Tsp. salt
1/4 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp. each of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves plus a dash each of nutmeg and allspice.
Mix molasses, shortening and brown sugar.  Mix in remaining ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.  Heat the oven to 375.  Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on a floured board.  Bake about 8 minutes.  Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.
Easy Creamy Frosting
1 Cup powdered sugar
1/2 Tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 to 2 Tbs. half and half
Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and salt.  Stir in  half and half until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency.
Scotch Shortbread Cookies
1 Cup butter (Room Temperature)
2 Cups flour
1 1/2 Cups + 2 Tbs. powdered sugar
Cream butter until fluffy.  Add sugar gradually.  Add flour reserving 2 Tbs. for flouring  board.  Turn out batter onto floured board and gently roll out to 1/3 inch thickness. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  You can decorate tops with granulated colored sugar before baking.  Bake at 300  degrees, checking at 15 or 20 minutes.  Cookies should not be too brown.

This article originally appeared in the December 2010 print edition of the Mountain Monthly.