It's almost time for holiday baking

By Sharon Ghag

McClatchy Newspapers

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

When you bake these cookies, they rise a little and look like mushrooms.

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon whole anise seeds

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for flouring pastry sheets

Unsalted butter for pastry sheets

Instructions: Butter pastry sheets and dust with flour.

Put sugar and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix for about 10 minutes on high speed, until a ribbon forms when a whisk is inserted and lifted from the mixture.

Add the anise seeds and beat for a few minutes more, until the seeds are blended.

By hand, with a spatula, gently fold in the flour. Put this dough in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip. Pipe dough onto the pastry sheets, forming circles ¾-inch across.

Let them dry overnight, or at least four hours, at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes.

— "One Sweet Cookie: Celebrated Chefs Share Favorite Recipes," by Tracey Zabar (Rizzoli, $30)

PETITS FOURS DE NOEL

Makes about 100

Ingredients:

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 ounces candied orange peel (optional)

8 ounces ground almonds

Grated zest of 1 lemon

3 small eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

1 egg beaten with a little cold water

Instructions: Cream butter and sugar. Add cinnamon, candied orange peel, almonds, lemon zest and three eggs and mix thoroughly. Add flour and knead until you have a smooth paste.

Enclose dough in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator overnight, or up to two to three days.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a pastry sheet and dust it with flour.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a ¼-inch thickness. Cut with cookies cutters. Combine scraps and roll and cut again.

Arrange cutouts on the pastry sheet. Brush them with beaten egg. Bake until they are golden brown, about 10 minutes.

— "One Sweet Cookie," Andre Soltner

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

1¾ cups all-purpose flour and ¼ cup cocoa

1¾ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt

12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1¼ cups dark brown sugar and ¼ cup sugar

3 eggs

11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

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