December 10th, 2010 —

As the innkeeper at White Swan Inn, I bake numerous batches of cookies throughout the year. I make dozens and dozens of chocolate chip cookies annually. But when the holidays approach, I like to bake something even more special.

Everyone has a favorite Christmas cookie; a cookie that evokes memories of family traditions and childhood dreams. One of my favorites has to be Thumbprint Cookies (I’ve included the recipe) filled with either jam or buttercream icing. And cut-out sugar cookies are fun to decorate when there are helpers around. Of course, chocolate and peppermint are perennial favorite ingredients.

This season I have decided to try out some new recipes. Just made Red Velvet Cookies (pictured) , yeah kinda like the cake. Wonderful! And I have dough chilling for Viennese Crescents which will be dipped in chocolate once they are baked. Both recipes came via Allrecipes.com Cookie Countdown and TasteofHome.com Cookie Countdown.

A cookie tray filled with a variety of textures, flavors and colors is a holiday treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Search a re-sale shop for a unique plate or tray and combine with an assortment of holiday cookies and you have created just the right gift for a neighbor, co-worker, or special friends.

This holiday season, guests at White Swan Inn B&B will enjoy cookies with tea or hot chocolate following an afternoon of holiday shopping in downtown Whitehall and Montague.

Thumbprint Cookies

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
favorite flavor of jelly

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla. Work in flour and salt until dough holds together. Shape dough by teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls.

Beat egg white slightly. Dip each ball into egg white; roll in nuts. Place one inch apart on an un-greased baking sheet; press thumb deeply into center of each. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from baking sheet; cool on wire rack. Fill thumbprints with jelly.

Yield: approx 3 dozen cookies.

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