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Crowd-pleasing cookies

12/21/2012 4:57 PM

12/26/2012 11:13 AM

Chocolaty or fruity, crisp or chewy, there's something here for everyone to love.

Everyday Food magazine offers quick, healthy solutions for everyday meals -- from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living.

Apricot-walnut rugelach

2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface

1 cup dried apricots

1/4 cup brandy

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. In a food processor, process butter, cream cheese, 3 tablespoons sugar and salt until combined. Add flour and pulse until a dough forms. Divide in half, flatten into disks and tightly wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours (or overnight).

2. In a small pot, bring apricots, brandy, cinnamon and 1/2 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until most of liquid is absorbed, about 7 minutes. Transfer to clean food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Stir in walnuts and remaining 2/3 cup sugar.

3. Working with 1 disk at a time, on a floured surface, roll out dough into a 12-inch circle. Spread with half the filling, leaving a 1-inch border. Cut into 16 wedges. Starting from the outside edge, tightly roll each wedge up; place on parchment-lined baking sheets, seam side down. Lightly brush with egg. Freeze 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely. Store in airtight containers, up to 1 week.

Nutritional information per cookie: 160 calories, 11 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat), 14 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 1 gram fiber, 62 percent of calories from fat.

Citrus thumbprints

If you want your cookies to sparkle, roll dough balls in sanding sugar before freezing; omit confectioners' sugar in step 2.

2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, divided, plus more, sifted, for rolling

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice

1 tablespoon grated lime zest plus 1 tablespoon juice

1/3 cup fruit jam or citrus curd, whisked to remove lumps, for filling

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Combine flour, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and citrus zest and juice on medium until combined; increase speed to high and beat until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture on low. Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls; place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Freeze 10 minutes.

2. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven; with small end of a melon baller or a small round measuring spoon, make indents in centers of cookies. Return to oven, rotating sheets, and bake until set and light golden at edges, about 12 minutes more. Transfer cookies on parchment to wire racks; let cool 10 minutes. Gently toss in sifted sugar, then sift more sugar over tops. Fill centers with jam. To set jam, bake cookies on racks set on sheets (without parchment) 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool completely. Store in airtight containers, up to 2 days.

Nutritional information per cookie: 120 calories, 7 grams fat (4 grams saturated fat), 14 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 0 grams fiber, 52 percent of calories from fat.

Flourless chocolate-coconut drops

3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (spooned and leveled)

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (5 ounces)

1 cup roughly chopped toasted almonds

3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

4 large egg whites, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in the middle and lower thirds. In a large bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, cocoa and salt. Stir in chocolate chips, almonds and coconut. Add egg whites and stir until combined (do not overmix).

2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until tops are dry and cracked, about 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Store in airtight containers, up to 3 days.

Nutritional information per cookie: 147 calories, 8 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 23 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, 49 percent of calories from fat.

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