The Old Cookie Press

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Ah, Christmas cookies, I could eat ’em all year. I have several good recipes and sometimes pick different ones to make each year, but one that I ALWAYS make is the one that uses my vintage 1950s Mirro Cooky and Pastry Press. It first belonged to my mother who used it every Christmas. When she stopped making cookies as much as I do, she gave it to me, and I treasure it.

Just like when I was a child, every year we have pink and green cookies shaped like Christmas trees, camels, pinwheels, and sunbursts. The recipe, included with the press, makes a lot of cookies, and it’s a good thing, because those little bite-sized morsels just pop in your mouth so quickly and easily.

Of course, they make electric cookie presses now, but to me, that wouldn’t be as fun. Putting some muscle power into twisting that handle and forcing out cookie dough brings a little old-fashioned Americana to our Christmas baking activities.

There are some interesting cookie tips with my press, which is still in its original box. The hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs hark back to the days when ladies card clubs were popular. For me, the hearts make good Valentine cookies, and the clubs serve as shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.

If you’re lucky enough to have a cookie press, here is our recipe.

1 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. almond extract

2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Green and red food coloring

Cream shortening and sugar well. Beat in egg and almond extract. Gradually blend in dry ingredients. Divide dough in half. Tint one half green, and the other half red. Fill cookie press and form cookies on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with nonpareils and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Valentine Mousse Dessert

The last two days I posted recipes for Meringue Cookies and Best-Ever Chocolate Mousse. Now for the grand finale.

Valentine Mousse Dessert

Take a package of thawed, sugared strawberries or raspberries and blend them into a puree. If using raspberries strain the seeds out after pureeing them. Pour a circle of the sauce onto a pretty plate, then using a teaspoon, drip little drops of cream onto the sauce. Take a toothpick and draw it through the cream drops all the way around to make a string of hearts. Place a generous dollop of chocolate mousse in the center of the circle of sauce, then garnish with a meringue cookie. Valentine’s evening doesn’t get any better than this. Well, maybe, but that’s a subject for another post 😉

Best-Ever Chocolate Mousse

Not to be arrogant, but I’ll stand my chocolate mousse recipe up against any other mousse recipe any day of the week. Try to prove me wrong–the bar has been set! This has the most divine, smooth texture and is just–wow, you’ll see what I mean when you try it. Sometimes I put this in a pie crust and call it French silk pie (and I’ll stand my French silk pie up against any other as well).

Remember the meringue cookies from yesterday and how I told you to save some? Save some of this too, because tomorrow I’ll have a real pretty and Valentiney serving suggestion for you.

8 oz. sweet or semi-sweet chocolate

1/4 cup milk

6 T. butter, softened

3 eggs, separated

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup sugar

8 oz. carton whipped topping

Melt chocolate with milk in the top of a double boiler and stir till smooth. Remove from heat, add butter and egg yolks and beat till smooth. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and salt till thick and foamy, then add sugar and beat till stiff peaks form. Fold chocolate mixture into meringue, then fold in whipped topping. Refrigerate two hours before serving.

Meringue Cookies

Welcome to Valentine’s week on the Eagle’s Quill. Today I’ll share a yummy recipe for some feather-light cookies. Hang onto a few of them because we’re going to use them as part of a fancier-looking dessert later in the week.

3 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Dash salt

Few drops red food coloring

Beat egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt till thick and foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat till stiff peaks form. Add food coloring and mix in. Put meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe out onto parchment-covered baking sheets in small heart shapes. Bake at 275 degrees for 30 minutes. Immediately remove cookies to racks.

You can do other colors and shapes for other holidays.