by Billie Doux
Dutch Tile Cookies
1-3/4 c. unsifted flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
sliced or halved almonds
red and green candied cherries, halved or quartered or whatever
Beat butter, sugar and extracts until smooth. Separately, sift flour with baking power and salt. Add the two mixtures together until well combined. Divide into two equal portions. Roll out each portion of dough between two pieces of waxed paper, try to get it into a 7-1/2 inch square, and then use a knife to cut into 1-1/2 inch squares. (Remove the waxed paper first!)
Place cookie squares on ungreased cookie sheet and decorate with almond pieces and cherry bits. Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 375 until lightly brown. About 50 cookies.
These cookies are almondy delicious, even when I don't get them into even squares and some end up browner than others. I also tend to go a little crazy with the decorating, using more cherries than perhaps I should when I get near the end. They're a production, but worth it.
The first time I baked these cookies was my son's first Christmas, mentioned above. The two recipes below are aren't really all that holiday-ish, but I make both of them often.
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
1 c. peanut butter (I think it works best with extra crunchy)
1 c. sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Combine ingredients. Drop tablespoon full on to a cookie sheet. Press down on each cookie with a fork to make that yummy crosshatch thing on the top. Bake eight minutes. Cool, and enjoy. Simple, fast, and really good.
Homemade Chocolate Pudding
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder (the unsweetened kind for baking)
pinch of salt
2 - 2/3 c. milk
1 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix dry ingredients. (I usually do it in the bottom of the saucepan with a wooden spoon.) Add milk slowly and mix together, getting out as many lumps as possible. Cook slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a rolling boil. Don't let the bottom of the saucepan burn!
Let it boil for about a minute or less -- not too long. The pudding should have thickened and will look velvety. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. You can pour it into individual cups and cool, or leave it to cool in a big bowl, as you prefer. Cover before putting in the refrigerator.