The holiday season always brings families together to create memories and traditions. Everyone has their own ideas about how to make their holiday perfect, but one item that seems to be on everyone’s list of favorite things is the cookies. Holiday cookies are one of the top items to get the holiday spirit flowing. Try one or both of these cookie recipes from a local Baltimore expert and baker at Hamilton Bakery to add to your cookie platter.
5414 Harford Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21214
What made you open your own bakery?
Ruben Hernandez: “Opening the bakery came from from a combination of three things: opportunity – the neighborhood didn’t have a bakery or morning go-to place; need – before I opened the shop, I had a photography studio but that market is saturated and it wasn’t paying the bills; and passion – I’m a big ole foodie. I love to eat, cook, bake, all of it!”
Where did you learn to be a baker?
Ruben Hernandez: “All of my experience is practical. I’m not formally trained in anything. My grandmother was the best cook I’ve ever known. My mother was awesome as well. My mother once cooked a different meal every day for a year, it was incredible! I managed hotel properties for 16 years. Every property had a restaurant or bar or both. I was always in the kitchen, always trying to get a lesson. I watched a ton of Food Network.”
What do you think makes a the perfect Christmas cookie?
Ruben Hernandez: “I think any food has to remind you of whatever occasion it’s for. Fourth of July and apple pie, Thanksgiving and turkey, Christmas and cookies. I love a buttery cookie, cookies that are decadent. “
You’ll notice that this recipe has virtually no liquid. You can find these cookies in Hispanic bakeries. They’re brightly colored in pink or yellow, sometimes tri-colored.
- 2 1/4 c all purpose flour
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1 c butter
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Cream sugar, butter and vanilla together.
- Add flour a little at a time until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides as necessary. You can use a little food color to tint the cookies if you like. You can also top with sprinkles or dip in sugar.
- Shape dough into ball of desired size. Place on an un-greased cookie pan about one to two inches apart depending on your cookie size. Press down lightly.
- Bake at 350º for 20-25 minutes and turn once halfway through baking to promote even baking.
- 1 1/2 c butter
- 1 c sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp anise seed
- 4 c all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp rum**
- 2 tsp cinnamon plus 3 tbsp sugar
- Cream together butter and sugar.
- Add eggs and anise until well incorporated.
- Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Add to butter mixture along with rum. Mix until well incorporated, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Spread dough evenly on a sheet of parchment paper or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least half hour.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Mix cinnamon and 3 tbsp sugar together.
- Cut out cookies to desired shape. Sprinkle or dip in cinnamon sugar.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes turning once halfway through to bake evenly.
** You can also use milk
Jessica Lemmo loves to write about Baltimore’s great restaurants. From food service to the atmosphere, you can be sure Jessica will cover the entire restaurant experience. She especially likes finding her readers great discounts. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.