Today: Jul 02 , 2020

Sales, Menus & Recipes: Christmas Cookies

04 December 2019  

Holiday Cookies

Whatever Holiday you are celebrating, cookies should be part of it. Nothing says “I value you” better than a freshly baked cookie. Who doesn’t like cookies? But with the pressure Holidays bring, who has time to bake a variety of fresh cookies. Guess what, with a little planning, you do! As with so many cooking tricks, the refrigerator is key here. Over the next couple of weeks, we will show you how to have freshly made cookies at the drop of a hat.

Back in the long ago 1950’s there was a thing called the refrigerator cookie. By making up the dough ahead of time, turning it into logs and freezing or refrigerating these, you can have freshly baked cookies in quantities from a couple to a couple dozen.

This week we will show several recipes that lend themselves to this make ahead technique. Be sure to see the cardamom squares at the very end of the column.

But we can’t live by cookies alone, so we will also devote time and attention to warming, cozy, but easy recipes using the foods that are on sale this week in our grocery stores. Now that the Thanksgiving bounty is eaten or frozen, we turn our attention to fresh areas.

Sales This Week: Don’t forget that Wednesday December 4 is Senior Discount Day at Fry’s and Safeway.

Fry’s—Buy 5 or more participating items, save $1 on each, includes: Philadelphia cream cheese only $.99/each, All brand laundry detergent for $1.99/each and Classico Pesto Sauce for $1.49/each. There is a special $10 dinner deal, get a colossal deli chicken, mashed potatoes, a salad kit, and a baguette all for $10, with card. You can still get 4x fuel points on gift cards with digital coupon.

Safeway—Special Just for u coupon, Lucerne Cream Cheese only $.25/each, first 4, select varieties. Fab 5 returns, buy 5 participating items, get $1 off each one. Items include: $.99/bag for frozen vegetables, Picksweet, Signature Select or Green Giant, $1.49/16 oz jar for peanut butter, Signature Select brand or $.99/each for Progresso canned soup.

Sprouts—A 72 hour sale from Fri. to Sun. features 3 for $1, Haas Avocados, Incredible bulk sale-25% off regular prices of ALL bulk items including bins, spices and coffee, Only $3.99/lb for fresh cut 2 year aged white Cheddar Cheese.

Special Note: Sprouts has bay scallops on sale this week for $6.99/lb. If you’ve never tried these before, you should. They are much more tasty than sea scallops, and the texture is amazing.

National Days This Week

Dec. 4Cookie Day
Dec. 5Sachertorte Day
Dec. 6Microwave Oven Day AND Gazpacho Day (though why they think we want to eat cold soup in December is beyond me.)
Dec. 8Brownie Day AND Pretend to be a time traveler day
Dec. 9Pastry Day

Cold Weather Meals

Here are some suggestions for cold December Days. According to the Weather Chanel, it’s going to be cloudy most days for the next week and the highest the temperature will get is 54º. 

This Week’s Struggle Meal Cooking on a Budget? Try Struggle Meals.

This Week’s Struggle Meals brings you Butternut Squash 3 ways.

Main Dishes

Bay Scallops and Spaghetti
Sheet Pan Chicken
Shrimp with Pasta
Pan Broiled, Oven Finished Steak Beef Stew,
Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Salads and Sides

Broccoli Salad
Green Salad
Quinoa Salad
Citrus Salad
Crusty Bread
Roasted Garlic Potatoes


Icebox Cookies
Sacher Torte Brownies

Recipes and Videos

Bay Scallops and Spaghetti

Sheet Pan Chicken

A good explanation of how to get the best out of this technique.

Easy Meatloaf

It might be a little easier and better if the onion was diced quite a bit smaller. Also instant oatmeal could be used instead of bread crumbs.

Shrimp with Pasta

Steak, oven and stovetop Interesting technique

Beef Stew: Slow Cooker

Beef Stew: Instant Pot

Broccoli Salad (if you don’t want raw broccoli, blanch it for a few minutes in boiling water.)

Citrus Salad

Quinoa Salads (vegetarian) Some say Quinoa must be well rinsed, some say this is no longer necessary, we say you can’t go wrong by rinsing.

Roasted Garlic Potatoes

Icebox Cookies

A method, customize to your liking.

Cardamom Icebox Cookies

A shortbread version. Could use pecans.

Sacher Torte

It’s worth watching the video, even if you have no intention of actually making it.

Ways to Use Frozen Puff Pastry

Pastry Making Made Simple And Fry’s has raspberries on sale this week.

On Sale This Week


Beef Roasts—$3.99/lb @Safeway, boneless, chuck (best for stew), cross rib, eye of round. $$7.99/lb @Sprouts, standing rib roast.
Beef Steaks—$4.77/lb @Safeway, T-Bone, $7.99/lb @Safeway, New York. $4.97 @Fry’s, T-Bone. $6.99/lb @Sprouts, New York or Top Sirloin Filet.
Ground Beef—$3.99/lb @Sprouts, 85%, all natural. $3.47/lb @Safeway, 93%, value pack. $3.49/lb @Fry’s (sold in 2 lb pkg.
Ground Turkey—$3.99/lb @Sprouts Chicken—$.97/lb @Safeway, bone in parts. $1.99/lb @ Safeway, B/S breasts, at full serve counter. $1.99/lb @Sprouts, B/S breasts, value pack.
Shrimp—$5.97/lb @Fry’s, (2 lb bag for 11.97). $5.99/lb @Sprouts, 16-20 ct. farm raised. $7.99/lb @Safeway, 16-20 ct.
Fish—$5.99/lb @Fry’s, fresh Tilapia. $7.99/lb @Sprouts, Wild Tuna or Swordfish, 10.99 @Sprouts, Alaskan Salmon Bay Scallops—$6.99/lb @Sprouts, wild, natural

Fruits and Vegetables

Pineapples—$2.50/each @Sprouts 
Blackberries—$.99/box @Safeway, $1.67/box @Sprouts 
Blueberries—$1.67/box @Sprouts, $2.98/box @Sprouts (O) 
Raspberries—$.99/box @Fry’s. $1.67/box @Sprouts 
Grapes—$1.48/lb @Sprouts, red, green, black, $1.98/lb @Sprouts red, (O) 
Oranges—Mandarin/Clementines—$1.88/2 lb bag @Sprouts. $3.99/3 lb bag @Safeway. $3.99/3 lb bag @Fry’s.
Apples—$.98/lb @Fry’s, Honeycrisp, $1.99/lb @Fry’s, Autumn Glory or Opal
Greens—$3.34/each, Salad Kits, Taylor Farms. $5/pkg @Safeway, O Organics blends 
Tomatoes—$.99/lb @Safeway, Roma. 
Avocados—$1/3 @Sprouts, 72 hr sale, $1.67/each @Sprouts, Jumbo $1.25/each @Fry’s, large.
Cauliflower—$.98/lb @Sprouts 
Celery—$.98/head @ Sprouts Green Bells—$.50/each @Safeway 
Cucumbers—$.50/each @Safeway 
Potatoes—$2.99/1.5 lb bag @Fry’s, Gourmet small size.

Other Good Deals

Essential Oils—50%off @Sprouts, Now Brand 
Chicken—Simple Truth, (O) full line sale, BOGO 
Toll House Chips or C&H powdered or brown sugar—$2.49/32 oz bag @Safeway 
Blue Diamond Nut Thins—BOGO @Sprouts 
La Croix water—$11/3 @Fry’s 
A wide variety of items $1/each @Safeway, everything from shampoo and deodorant to gummy bears and peppermints.
Honey Nut Cheerios—$1.79/box (buy 5 sale)

Bonus Recipe: Cardamom Squares (an icebox cookie) Makes about 5 dozen


For cookies 

3 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
3/4 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon fresh ground cardamom (If not using fresh ground, use 1 1/2 teaspoons) 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened 
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar 
2 large eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla 

For espresso icing

1 teaspoon instant-espresso powder 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk, cream, or half-and-half 
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

For chocolate

3 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

Special equipment: 2 small heavy-duty sealable plastic bags (for icing; not pleated)


Make cookies: Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice in a bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy (easier with mixer). Beat in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Form dough into 2 (12-inch) logs (1 1/2 inches in diameter), each on its own sheet of plastic wrap. Use plastic wrap and your hands to roll, press, and square off sides of logs. Chill logs on a baking sheet until slightly firm, about 1 hour, then smooth logs with plastic wrap and flat side of a ruler to achieve straight sides. Chill logs on baking sheet until firm, about 1 hour. Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for several weeks if carefully wrapped.

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut enough 1/4-inch-thick slices from a log with a knife to fill 2 large un-greased baking sheets, arranging slices about 1 inch apart (chill remaining dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until you are ready to bake it).

Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes total. Cool on sheets 3 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled baking sheets.

Ice cookies: Whisk together espresso powder, vanilla, and 2 teaspoons milk until espresso powder is dissolved (it helps if you let it sit for 15 minutes or so, then whisk vigorously.) Add confectioners sugar and enough additional milk to make a thick but pourable icing. Spoon into a sealable bag and snip 1/8 inch off a bottom corner.

Melt chocolate chips in a small bowl or measuring cup. Put in microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir. Give it another 20 seconds and stir again. Continue until most of the chips are melted. Stir well and let cool a little. Do not let the chocolate get too hot or it will taste burnt and will not handle well. Spoon cooled melted chocolate into a sealable bag and snip 1/8 inch off a bottom corner.

Pipe some espresso icing and chocolate over each cookie and let cookies stand on racks until icing sets, about 1 hour.

Cookies will keep for up to a week in a cool place packed in sealed containers. it is best to place parchment or waxed paper in between layers.

Note: Espresso powder is available on line from Amazon, King Arthur Flour and other vendors. You can also use Espresso instant coffee, but crush it before measuring. If you have a spice grinder you can use that, but don’t let it run very long or the ground coffee will cling to everything and become slightly gummy.