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Chocolate cookie rolled in walnuts with a melted chocolate chip center.
The ugly antics taking place during the U.S. presidential election probably will not get any better, but maybe a sugar cookie in shapes of the two major parties will lighten up your chatter at home and in the office.
I found my Democratic donkey and Republican elephant cookie cutters in the gift shop at the Harry S. Truman “Little White House Museum” during a visit to Key West in February. The residence was initially a naval station command headquarters during the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. In 1946 it first served as the winter White House of President Harry S. Truman and a site for the Cold War response by later presidents. Unfortunately, it appears a private developer garnered the rights to the shorefront property in front of the home so when you visit, you see a hotel campus and no view of the ocean that Truman once had.
The cutters came with this sugar cookie recipe which I have used a few times. It is easy and makes a good, sturdy sugar cookie. You can substitute almond flavor for the vanilla if you prefer. The elephant trunk is especially susceptible to breaking. I usually freeze them in containers once they are cooled and I frost them while they are still frozen. This sets up the frosting more quickly and makes them less likely to break.
I am not an expert decorator and had trouble getting a pure red and blue frosting that tasted decent. My photo is from divaentertains.com.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
Mix until all ingredients are well blended
Chill dough 3-4 hours before rolling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Roll out on a lightly floured counter to 1/4″ thick and cut into shapes
Transfer cookies onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone liners
Bake about 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with a royal icing or buttercaream icing.
Tips on icing these shapes from another blogger.
Here is a history on the party symbols.
This post is dedicated to Mary, a great cook and baker.
In my large Italian family, the death of a loved one means there will be crowds gathering at the house and these people need to be fed. Italians are good at eating their way through mourning, although I view it as breaking bread to remember and celebrate those gone from the table. While visiting my Aunt Theresa once, she found out a distant family member had passed. Without any hesitation she announced, “I’ll have to bake a ham.”
My siginificant other, also Italian, lost his mother Mary recently and our house swelled with more than 50 family members for dinner following calling hours. As with my own family, his relatives and friends brought in large quantities of terrific Italian food. When it was time for dessert, things got interesting.
Three of his cousins had all made the same thing–Italian Jeanettes or Ginettes. My family calls these “oil cookies.” I have written about them previously and the recipe has proven to be one of this blog’s most visited posts.
A competitive spirit ensued and it was decided that I (being a cookie blogger) would taste (with my eyes closed) and select a “best of Ginette” from the cousin confections. Our departed Mary and many in her family are enthusiastic horse handicappers so the odds were announced on cookie trays made by Gina, “Big Ang” and “Little Ang.” Each baker introduced their cookie, explaining why their method or ingredients should move them to the top spot. Braiding the dough vs. no braid and lemon juice vs. lemon extract were just a few topics debated. Each cookie tasted terrific and, in the end, I selected the one made by “Little Ang” which resulted in boisterous cheers and jeers. We asked one of Mary’s sisters what Mary would have thought about our antics and she replied, “Mary hated these cookies.” Lots more laughter as we reminisced and celebrated the remarkable Mary.
After Mary’s funeral the following day, as we gathered to eat again, a cousin informed us that a horse had just won race 4 at Belmont Park by four and a half lengths. The horse’s name? Mary Pray For Us!
My family launched the holiday season last week with its annual cookie bake, a manic day of baking fun. I probably should have tracked how many pounds of butter were used. We were productive and had fun.