Cookie,Gingerbread,Mouse,French onion soup,Recipe,Baking,Comté cheese,Cake,Sauce,Chocolate

Stephen Fries: Recipes for gingerbread bears, Mexican mice holiday cookies

December 14, 2016

Gingerbread bears took first place in 1992 in the Chicago Tribune’s annual holiday cookie contest. Mexican mice finished in second place in 2000 in the Chicago Tribune’s annual holiday cookie contest. Photo © Chicago Tribune, courtesy of Agate Publishing The Perfect Holiday Dinner Cooking Class: Friday, 6:30-9 p.m., Chef’s Emporium, 449 Boston Post Road, Orange, 203-799-2665, bit.ly/2gsHCPM, $65. We help you plan a perfect holiday dinner, so you can recreate it with ease on the big day and be able to enjoy the company of your guests. The chef will teach you how to create this delicious dinner from start to finish. Bring a bottle of wine or your favorite beverage. Menu: French onion soup with Comté, beef tenderloin medallions with shallot red wine pan sauce, roasted cauliflower soufflé with Parmesan, chocolate lava cake. Consiglio’s Cooking Demonstration and Dinner: Dec. 22, 6:30 p.m., 165 Wooster St., New Haven, 203-865-4489, bit.ly/2cLo4Wo, $65 (beverages, tax and gratuity not included). Preparation of a four-course meal is demonstrated. Each course is shown, step by step, and then served. Enjoy a fun and entertaining evening out and learn how to make some of Consiglio’s trademark dishes: Baked polenta with shrimp, roasted peppers, spinach, Gorgonzola lemon sauce, Belgium endive sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and pignoli nuts, tagliatelle pasta and scallops brandy cream sauce, caramel pecan pie with vanilla gelato. Have you ever thought about the history of Christmas cookies? Why is it that right after Thanksgiving those cookie sheets are dusted off and the heirloom family cookie recipes are dug up to get ready to bake and share the sweet treats with family and friends? What office this time of year doesn’t have a tray of colorfully decorated cookies waiting to be munched on? My research found that a cookie is derived from “koekje,” the Dutch word for “little cake.” According to culinary history, to test oven temperatures before putting a cake in the oven, a small amount of batter was baked…voila, the cookie was born. According to Wikipedia, “the earliest examples of Christmas cookies in the United States were brought by the Dutch in the early 17th century. Due to a wide range of cheap imported products from Germany between 1871 and 1906 following a change to importation laws, cookie cutters became available in American markets. These imported cookie cutters often depicted highly stylized images with subjects designed to hang on Christmas trees. Due to the availability of these utensils, recipes began to appear in cookbooks designed to use them. In the early 20th century, U.S. merchants were also importing decorated lebkuchen cookies from Germany to be used as presents.” Speaking of cookie cutters, did you know there is a National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum in Joplin, Missouri? The countdown to Christmas is here and I know...

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