Paper Source, a stationary and gift shop located at Annapolis Towne Center, recently debuted a “Giving Plate” ($39.95). The idea is to gift the plate (preferably laden with tasty treats), in hopes that your recipient will pay it forward to someone else. In theory, your gift could touch dozens of people as the plate makes its rounds through families and friends. It makes a perfect hostess, teacher or cookie exchange gift, and makes a sincere statement on “the Reason for the Season.”
While purchasing the Giving Plate at Paper Source might be quick and convenient, we like the idea of personalizing something similar at Clay Bakers in Annapolis or Easton or Pottery at South River Colony in Edgewater. Plan in advance: your art might require a week or more for firing in the kiln.
Fill your plate with a variety of sweet and savory treats. Try one of the following recipes—all from local cooks.
A small, light and buttery cookie dusted with powder sugar
From chef, trainer and woman extraordinaire Frances Vavloukis
- 1 lb. sweet butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 TB brandy (optional)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 4-5 cups flour, sifted
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 packaged powdered sugar
- Cream butter. Add sugar, beat until light and fluffy
- Add egg yolk and beat thoroughly. Add vanilla and walnuts (if using)
- Add flour, a little at a time, until dough is soft and pliable.
- Form into little crescents or balls.
- Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1” apart
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned
- Spread newspaper or brown paper on the counter top. Cover the paper with waxed paper. Spread a little powdered sugar over the surface.
- Remove cookies from oven and immediately move to the wax paper. Immediately sift powdered sugar over until each cookie is covered completely
- Let cookies cool completely.
Serve in cupcake papers
You will need a pizzelle griddle or iron for this recipe, available at Sur la Table, Williams Sonoma, Target From the Larry Olmo Family
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of anise or fennel seed
- Melt butter, stir in sugar, add eggs then flour and anise or fennel seed and blend until batter is smooth.
- Heat the pizzelle iron, and brush with oil. Drop about one tablespoon of batter onto each circle on the iron. You may need to experiment with the amount of batter and baking time depending on the iron.
- Bake for 20 to 45 seconds, or until steam is no longer coming out of the iron. Carefully remove cookies from the iron.
- Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar if desired.
Rocky Road Cookies
A sweet and fun treat from the fabulous book Sweet Envy by Seton Rossini. Including the book with your Giving Plate would be the pièce de résistance!
Makes 12 cookies
- 2 1⁄2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 3 egg whites (slightly less than 1⁄2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3⁄4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 3⁄4 cup chopped walnuts
- 6 large marshmallows, cut in half with kitchen scissors
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with liners or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, salt and espresso powder.
- Mix in the egg whites and vanilla until smooth and no lumps remain. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts, stirring until fully incorporated and dough is gooey.
- Use a cookie scoop to drop round balls of dough on the baking sheets. Leave about 2 inches between cookies. Press a marshmallow half firmly into the top of each dough ball.
- Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the marshmallows are nice and toasty on top. The cookies will look shiny and cracked. Cool slightly before eating.
Chocolate Heaven in a Cookie
A flour-free, gluten-free treat that is a favorite of everyone here at FFF.
- ¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3 cups confectioners’ (10x) sugar
- ½ ts sea salt
- 3 cups walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped (toast at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden)
- 4 large egg whites
- 2 TB vanilla extract
- Mix the cocoa powder, sugar, salt and walnuts together for about a minute in a stand mixer set on stir. Add the egg whites and vanilla, set the mixer to medium and mix for 2-3 minutes or until completely combined and glossy.
- Scoop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, or in a convection oven at 340° for 11 minutes.
- Let cool briefly and sift powdered sugar over, if you prefer.
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