Susan Stone: ‘Tis the season for cookies |

Susan Stone: ‘Tis the season for cookies

Susan Stone
Highland Foodie

To help us get ready for Santa’s arrival, holiday cookie exchanges and hostess gifts, some Grand County bakers agreed to share their favorite holiday recipes.

Veronika Kalan is a member of a knitting group and the garden club here in Grand County. Her Walnut Squares are well received when she takes them to gatherings.

Veronika said, “This is an old family recipe from Marijana Kalan, my mother-in-law, and it is our Christmas tradition to have it for the holidays.” The name of the recipe in Slovenian (Walnut Pita) doesn’t translate into English very well, so Veronika calls them Walnut Squares.

Marijana Kalan was a woman who loved good food but later in life, when living alone, she didn’t bake like she did when her family was close by. Cleverly, she sent recipes ahead prior to visiting her son Thomas and daughter-in-law Veronika so her favorites would be waiting for her when she arrived.

Veronika lines the pans with parchment paper before filling with dough. You can use either an 11×17-inch cookie sheet or a 9×13-inch baking pan; if using the deeper 9×13-inch pan, you may need to add baking time as the squares will be thicker.

They’ll also be more moist than those baked in the cookie sheet. For the cookie sheet, she cuts bite-sized squares but if using the deeper pan, she cut them larger, more like a serving of cake. However, Veronika said, “You should let your imagination go to work and cut them as you like.”

Walnut Squares

For the dough:

2 cups white flour, sifted

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Rind or zest of half of a lemon

1 stick butter

2 oz. cream cheese

1/3 cup whipping cream or milk

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. In a separate bowl, beat together with an electric mixer the butter, cream cheese, milk or whipping cream, sugar and egg. Add one cup of the flour mixture to this with mixer running, and then, with the mixer off fold in the rest of the flour mixture to form soft dough. Roll it to fit into the baking pan or cookie sheet. Prick the dough with a fork and bake it for 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

While the dough is baking prepare the topping:

3 eggs, separated

3/4 cups sugar

2 Tbs. lemon juice

2 cups ground or finely chopped walnuts

3/4 cup apricot preserves, more if you are using large pan

Powdered sugar

With an electric mixer whip egg whites until stiff. Add sugar and beat five minutes longer, until mixture is shiny. Then slowly add egg yolks one at the time while the mixer is running. Add lemon juice at the end of mixing. Fold walnuts into the egg, sugar and lemon juice mixture. Remove the baked dough from the oven, spread with apricot preserves and walnut egg mixture and bake in 325 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the top is lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack, sift some powdered sugar on top and cut into squares while still warm.

This just in from the North Pole:

Santa’s Helpers Memo

Christmas, 2007

Santa wants all the children in the world (especially those in Grand County) to know he’s been watching to see who has been naughty or nice. His list of nice children is very, very long this year.

Santa has a request – he wants baked goodies and a glass of milk this year instead of cheese! Just to keep his strength up, you see.

The reindeer always enjoy freshly picked carrots.

P.S. This memo does not apply to those living in cheese-producing dairy states.

Imagine my surprise to hear from the elves all the way from the North Pole. How nice of them, letting us know what to leave for Santa by our stockings with care.

If you are too young to use the oven but want to make cookies for Santa all by yourself, these No-Bake Cookies from Cynthia Palmer, the Arts and Entertainment editor for the Sky-Hi News are perfect for you. Ask your parent to help you with the stovetop cooking.

No-Bake Cookies

1 stick margarine or butter

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup cocoa

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 cups quick oats

Combine margarine or butter, milk, cocoa, sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil for one minute. Take pan off the heat and stir in the peanut butter, then slowly add and stir in the oats. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper, let cool, and enjoy.

Another recipe from the Palmer recipe file, Puppy Chow for people, is great to have on hand to serve at parties. And another recipe little ones can make themselves (with some help) for Santa. I wonder… does Santa have a puppy?

People Puppy Chow

1/2 cup margarine

6 oz. chocolate chips

1 cup peanut butter

1 lg. box Crispix cereal

2/3 c. powdered sugar

Mix margarine chocolate chips and peanut butter in a saucepan and heat until melted. Place cereal in a large mixing bowl; pour melted ingredients over cereal and mix. Place in a really big container with a lid. Add powdered sugar and shake. Let cool and serve.

Contact Susan Stone at (970) 531-1952 or with recipe recommendations, suggestions or clarifications.