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BOOKS FOR COOKSRating Scale: Best in its class / Highly recommended / Recommended / Not recommended
A plate of homemade Christmas cookies is the perfect holiday dessert, hostess gift or tree-trimming treat. The fact that many bakers reserve their favorite recipes for the holiday season makes these cookies all the more special.
"The Christmas Cookie Cookbook"By Lou Seibert Pappas (Chronicle, 2001, $14.95)
Review by Barbara Burke
Special to the Star-Bulletin
Christmas cookies have been a tradition in northern and central Europe since Medieval times. Today, families of many cultures bake and pass along their treasured family Christmas treats, according to Lou Pappas, author of "The Christmas Cookie Book."
Pappas includes only about three dozen recipes, but she does them very well. A wide variety of cookie types is represented, including stamped (Springerle), rolled (Sugar Cookies), pressed (Spritz), drop (Chewy Coconut Orange Macaroons) and bar (Macadamia-White Chocolate Brownies).
Huge pictures of mouth-watering cookies practically jump off the glossy photo pages. The book's simplicity is refreshing, especially at a time of the year when schedules are so hectic.
The following crispy, wafer-thin, 9-inch-long cookies are Australia's version of biscotti. They are particularly dramatic wrapped in clear cellophane and tied with a festive ribbon.
Macadamia-Ginger Biscotti Batons4 egg whites
Dash of salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (7 ounces) macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch square pan.
Beat egg whites and salt until frothy. Gradually add sugar and beat until still peaks form. Mix in the ground and grated gingers and the almond and vanilla extracts. Fold in flour and nuts. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake 30 minutes, or until set and very faintly brown on the bottom. Remove from oven, invert onto a rack, lift off the pan, and let cool 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 150 degrees. Slice the baked sheet as thinly as possible, about 3/16 inch thick, making long, slender slices. Lay the slices flat on 2 ungreased baking sheets and return to oven. Bake 30 minutes, or until light brown.
Turn off the oven and let the cookies dry in the oven for 1 hour longer. Makes about 4 dozen. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
Approximate nutritional information per cookie: 60 calories, 3 g total fat, no saturated fat or cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein.
Barbara Burke is a Hawaii Pacific University instructor who teaches and writes about food and nutrition. Her reviews of cookbooks of local interest run every two weeks. Contact her at Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail email@example.com
New releases from Hawaii authors, reviewed by Burl Burlingame:
"Traveling Man - The Journey of Ibn Battuta, 1325-1354," by James Rumford (Houghton Mifflin, $16.)
A lyrical meditation on the redemptive power of unfolding vistas, Manoa artist and writer Rumford's fourth book for HM concerns a real-life Arab hero who saw most of the known world in an age when few got beyond sight of home. Rumford's calligraphic-influenced illustrations are evocative, and his words stirring.
"The Best American Essays 2001," edited by Kathleen Norris (Houghton Mifflin, $13.)
Poet Norris, who divides her time between South Dakota and Hawaii, spent her time here last winter absorbing hundreds of periodicals, and chose 25 essays -- plus one of her own -- for this edition. For the first time, a piece from Hawaii is included, Lenore Look's "Facing the Village," first appearing in the Manoa literary journal. It's a reminiscence of a China visit.
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