It's almost time for holiday baking

By Sharon Ghag

McClatchy Newspapers

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 18 2011 4:03 p.m. MDT

Clockwise from back left: petits fours de noel, sweet-surplus-of-chocolate, oatmeal raisin, molasses construction crumples, petits fours a l'anise, triple chocolate cookies (with walnuts) and almond crescents.

Bart Ah You, Mct

Life is sweet, especially since a batch of home-baked cookies can still make someone's day. Butter and sugar prices may give some bakers pause this holiday season. Don't let them. We've scoured through the new batch of cookbooks and baked up a selection of cookies with an eye on tight food budgets. One recipe requires no butter, another uses shortening, one is light on sugar, and some don't skimp at all.

Here's more on the cookbooks:

"One Sweet Cookie: Celebrated Chefs Share Favorite Recipes," by Tracey Zabar (Rizzoli, $30): The international array of cookies includes cherished family favorites and signature best sellers from 70 of New York's best culinary talents. This is a book to buy and keep; has glossy paper and color photographs.

"The Cookiepedia: Mixing, Baking, and Reinventing the Classics," by Stacy Adimando (Quirk, $18.95): Each section begins with pictures of all the cookies, from buttery to chocolaty, fancy to fruity, spicy to nutty and seedy. This is a great gift for beginning bakers.

"Sugar, Sugar: Every Recipe Has a Story," by Kimberly "Momma" Reiner and Jenna Sanz-Agero (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $29.99): This collection down memory lane — featuring cakes, pies, cookies, bars and candies — includes church windows, those beautiful no-bake slice cookies made with colored marshmallows. Yum.

"Biscuiteering Book of Iced Cookies," by Harriet Hastings and Sarah Moore (Kyle Books, $18.95): There are fewer than a dozen cookie recipes in this book, but the iced cookie ideas and templates will hook you and inspire you. This book arrived too late to try any of the recipes.

"Baking Style: Art — Craft — Recipes," by Lisa Yockelson (Wiley, $45): Words can't do justice to this decadent ride through baking in all its buttery glory. This is a book meant to be treasured and savored and enjoyed as much for the recipes as for the photographs and Yockelson's thoughtfully written prose.

"So Sweet! Cookies, Cupcakes, Whoopie Pies, and More," by Sur la Table (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $15): This book arrived too late to try any of the recipes, but its colored photographs, gift-able size and breadth of whoopie pie recipes mean it won't be sitting on the bookshelf too long.

GREAT PUMPKIN COOKIES

"These delicious moist cookies have been a favorite of my family and customers for years," said Fiorenza in an email. "If you are a pumpkin lover, these cookies are for you and even if you don't believe in the 'great pumpkin' once you've tried these cookies, you will become a believer!"

Chef Lee Vera also makes a selection of gluten-free cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 cups flour

1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all dry ingredients in separate bowl and slowly stir into pumpkin mixture. Place spoonfuls of dough on buttered baking sheet.

Bake 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until center of cookie is lightly firm to the touch.

You can add chocolate chips to the dough to make great chocolate chip pumpkin cookies.

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