Sunday, 29 November 2009

Christmas Baking, Part 2

It hasn't been a very nice day out there today, most of the morning and early afternoon it has been wet and dark.

Just the right time of year to stay indoors and make the house warm and cosy by baking.

So here is a recipe for Cherry-Nut Cookies, another one of my Christmas baking favorites. These are lovely, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies full of cherries, dates and pecans.

I copied the recipe out from a book I borrowed from the public library when I was a teenager (photocopiers in those days did not produce copies of the quality we expect today!) - Dolores Casella's A World of Baking. I first baked these about ten years ago and they became an immediate favorite. I have another recipe from A World of Baking for cookies called Hermits, which are very similar to these except that they are made with raisins, dates and walnuts. I tend to alternate the two in my Christmas baking, making Hermits one year, and Cherry-Nut Cookies the next.

Cherry-Nut Cookies
recipe from A World of Baking by Dolores Casella.

4 c. sifted plain flour
1 t. bicarbonate of soda
1/2 t. salt
300 grams softened butter
2 c. soft light brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. grated lemon zest
1 1/3 c. chopped pecans
1 1/3 c. quartered candied cherries (I prefer to use the ones with natural coloring)
1 1/3 c. chopped pitted dates

Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Sift the flour together with the baking soda and the salt.
Cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time and beat in thoroughly.
Add the vanilla and lemon zest, then add the sifted dry ingredients.
Work in the chopped fruit and nuts.
Drop by teaspoonsful onto buttered baking sheets.
Bake at 375 F for 12 - 15 min until lightly browned and done.

Makes about 10 - 11 dozen cookies.
The dough will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

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