Most of you know that I am mom to six children. I have talked about them before and make no secret that they are what I consider my greatest accomplishments in life. I have been blessed in that all six of them, despite my one son being a special needs child for other reasons, have always been physically healthy, Sure, there have been illnesses but nothing life threatening and nothing that went beyond momentarily frightening.
Not all parents and not all children have been that lucky though. Many face this time of year fighting not only to keep the joy of the season but being forced to watch as their children fight for their lives.
Pediatric cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children in the United States. Why does this happen in a highly developed country you ask? Money. Plain and simple… lack of money. It’s frightening to think that children die because of a bad cash flow but they do. Cures take research and research takes money and that is something that is lacking in the fight against pediatric cancer.
Knowing how blessed I am in the health of my children, I definitely wanted in when Foodbuzz and Glad offered me the chance to do a very small part in the fight against pediatric cancer. The Glad company is sponsoring a cookie exchange to fight cancer, called
The Glad Products Company’s Glad To Give Campaign with the money raised going to Cookies For Kids Cancer . I was ecstatic when I was accepted to blog about this issue. If the cookies I have made make even a few dollars for this cause in a virtual exchange, I’m thrilled!
That site was founded by Gretchen Witt, a mom who lost her son Liam in January of 2011. Liam was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 at the age of 2. Liam’s parents learned then that a full quarter of children with cancer don’t survive because of the lack of funding for research. Sadly, Liam fell into that group. But by the time he passed away, his mother had already founded Cookies For Kids Cancer. It’s a non profit organization that helps people host bake sales or cookie exchanges with the money raised going towards cancer research.
So how can you help? First, go to www.facebook.com/glad and host a virtual cookie exchange., Gather a few friends, email your family members and get everyone over there. The very generous Glad Company will donate ten cents for every cookie sold, exchanged or given during the months of November and December 2011. Second. go to www.cookiesforkidscancer.org and make a donation. Think of every single child you know who enjoys good health and donate for their sake. Go to the site and read the stories of some the children. Donate for THEIR sake. Donate in memory of Liam. Donate because this should NOT be the problem it is in America. Not in this day and age. Donate because I actually wrote a serious post and that alone is worth something.
So what did I make for MY virtual cookie exchange? I wanted to stay classic with mine with things everyone would like. So I made Linzer Cookies and Iced Sugar Cookies. Please keep in mine that I have honestly admitted before that my decorating skills lack…well… skill. In other words, I stink at it. I love to bake and do it often but my artistic skills line in being able to stay in the lines in a coloring book not in making elegant or gorgeous cookies lol. But you know what? They taste good. So make some of these cookies and go have a cookie exchange. Make some money so other parents don’t lose their children too soon.
The Linzer cookies came from Good Housekeeping. I like these because they use ground pecans instead of the typical ground almonds and you know me, I have to be different. I added almond extract though because I am a sad portrait of an addict. The sugar cookies came from food.com and the only thing I changed was to add extra of both the almond and vanilla extracts as well as an extra quarter cup of sugar. Plus I used a non stick cookie sheet and did fine without the use of parchment paper.
Raspberry Filled Linzer Cookies
- 8 ounces pecans
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam (obviously you can sub your favorite flavor)
- In your food processor, pulse pecans and cornstarch until pecans are finely ground.
- In large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup powdered sugar until mixed. Increase speed to high; beat 2 minutes or until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping bowl. At medium speed, beat in vanilla, salt, and egg. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour and pecan mixture just until blended, occasionally scraping bowl.
- Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; flatten each into a disk.
- Wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 to 5 hours or until dough is firm enough to roll.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove 1 dough round from the fridge; let stand 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature for easier rolling, unless you’re really looking for an arm workout.
- This dough is very very soft if not chilled well so do NOT however let it get too “unchilled” or it it will stick to your cutters, your counter, your clothes. Please don’t ask how I know this.
- On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll dough 1/8 inch thick.
- With floured 21/4-inch fluted round, plain round, or holiday-shaped cookie cutter, cut dough into as many cookies as possible. With floured 1- to 11/4-inch fluted round, plain round, or holiday-shaped cookie cutter, cut out centers from half of cookies. Wrap and refrigerate trimmings. With lightly floured spatula, carefully place cookies, 1 inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet.
- Bake cookies 17 to 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings.
- When cookies are cool, sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar through sieve over cookies with cutout centers.
- In small bowl, stir jam with fork until smooth. Spread scant measuring teaspoon jam on top of whole cookies; place cutout cookies on top. Store cookies, with waxed paper between layers, in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 1 week or in freezer up to 2 months. (If cookies are stored in freezer, you may need to sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar again before serving.)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cup SIFTED powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon (or more; I ended up with a full 3 tablespoons) milk
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
In a large bowl, combine the butter with the sugar, eggs and extracts. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy
In another smaller bowl, mix together your dry ingredients (not the frosting ones of course…just making sure to cover that 😛 )
Stir the dry ingredients into all that buttery goodness.
Cover the bowl with plastic or put into gallon sized baggies and refrigerate this for at least 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. I actually did mine at 375 because in the past, I have just found that anything above that for most cookies leads to burned edges.
On a lightly floured board or counter, roll out dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness
Cut into nice Christmasy shapes. Do at least ONE Christmas tree… because I said you have to. It’s the law.
Put 2 inches apart on either a parchment sheet lined cookie sheet or a non stick one.
Bake until firm and very lightly browned around the edges, about 4 to 6 minutes if you do it at 400 or about 10 at 375.
Let cool COMPLETELY before icing.
For frosting, mix together the powdered sugar with the tablespoon milk (don’t add more yet; wait to see if it needs it until after you’ve added the other ingredients).
Beat in the corn syrup and extract; keep beating until smooth and shiny. NOW add more milk if it is too thick for spreading.
The easiest way to frost the cookies is just to dip them in the icing. Let the excess drip off.
Decorate them while the frosting is still wet so that whatever sprinkles you put on will stick. This dries hard so you won’t be able to do that if you wait.