Preheat oven to 375º F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Cream together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets or baking sheets covered with parchment.
Bake for 9 – 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 doz. Cookies.
Variation: Grease 15x10 inch jelly roll pan. Prepare dough as directed. Spread dough into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 doz. bar cookies.
Note: High Altitudes affect baking! For baking above 5,200 feet, increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 tsp. water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 – 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17-19 minutes.
PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES ½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. soda
¼ tsp. salt
Thoroughly cream butter, peanut butter, sugars. Add egg and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients; blend into creamed mixture. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased or parchment-covered cookie sheet. Crisscross with fork tines. Bake at 375º for 10-12 minutes. Cool slightly; remove from pan. Makes 4 dozen.
JAM THUMBPRINT COOKIES 2/3 c. butter
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 c. finely chopped walnuts
1/3 c. cherry or strawberry preserves
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sifted all purpose flour
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla and salt; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing well. Shape into 3/4" balls. Dip in slightly beaten egg whites, then roll in 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts. Place 1" apart on greased cookie sheet. Press down center of each with thumb. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes. Cool slightly; remove from pan and cook on rack. Just before serving, use 1/3 cup preserves to fill centers of cookies. Makes 3 dozen.
¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Cream shortening and sugar together till light and fluffy. Add egg. Stir in milk. Sift together dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture. Stir in oats, raisins, and nuts. Drop from tablespoons 2 inches apart on lightly greased OR parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake in hot oven, 400 degrees, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly; remove from pan. Makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies.
Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and milk; beat till light and fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients; blend into creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
On lightly floured surface, roll one half of the dough at a time to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes with cutters. Bake on ungreased (or parchment covered) cookie sheet at 375 degrees about 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly. Remove from baking pan; transfer to cooking rack until thoroughly cooled. Makes about 3 doz.
ICING: A simple powdered sugar icing provides the base coat on decorated cookies. Start with pouring the desired amount of powdered sugar into a small bowl. Add milk cautiously, adding just enough to make the icing of easy spreading consistency. Color with food dye as desired. Coat the cookies with this icing…being careful to spread the icing all the way to the edges of the cookie. Additional designs and details can be added with thicker powdered sugar icing or buttercream frosting.
Decorator’s (Buttercream)Icing 1 cup shortening (white, all vegetable such as Crisco)
2 pounds powdered sugar (Pure Cane dissolves better than beet sugars; this is usually one bag)
½ cup cold water (not icy cold, but cold)
2 teaspoons flavoring (almond is best, white vanilla also works)
pinch of salt (a little salt makes sugar taste sweeter)
Mix shortening, water, and flavoring. Continue mixing while adding the powdered sugar and salt gradually. Beat mixture at medium speed of electric mixer at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, and do not use high speed unless using a portable mixer.
This frosting can be stored for an extended period of time. Cover bowl with wet cloth or paper towel and air-tight lid. Refrigerate. Allow frosting to return to room temperature before trying to frost cake.