Mt. Washington Valley innkeepers are ready for annual cookie tour
Inn at Ellis River's Cookies for Breakfast (COURTESY)
When Mount Washington Valley innkeepers wish their guests sweet dreams this weekend, they'll know they've done all they can to guarantee that visions of sugar plums, holiday cookies and beautifully decorated trees will be dancing in their visitors' heads.
The 16th annual Inn to Inn Holiday Cookie and Candy Tour, hosted by 13 members of the Country Inns in the White Mountains, takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and 9.
The participating inns have developed original recipes for everything from sweet to savory holiday treats, with each inn featuring a new recipe for this year's tour. All visitors will receive a collection of recipe cards featuring photos of the cookies from each inn.
If a tourgoer questions the resolve of his or her sweet tooth, there's an incentive to make all 13 stops: A collector's brass snowflake ornament goes to everyone who visits all participating inns.
The tour stretches from Harts Location south to Chocorua. No inn is more than 15 minutes from the next, with many much closer.
Each participating inn will offer a Cookie Tour package including two nights accommodations, breakfast each morning and two tour tickets. For a complete list of cookie tour packages, visit www.countryinnsinthewhitemountains.com.
Tour-only tickets ($27 each) can be reserved by calling 356-2642 or 800-338-1356. Tickets are limited. Any unreserved tickets will be available on the day of the event at the 1785 Inn, Notchland Inn and Riverbend Inn.
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Inn at Ellis River's Cookies for Breakfast
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons natural maple extract
3 cups quick oats (not instant)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries or craisins
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped fine
1 cup dried apple, chopped fine
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon egg white (pasteurized)
Cream butter and sugars together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add applesauce and maple extract and mix until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly mix in oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in cranberries, apples and walnuts.
Chill dough for approximately 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until golden and just set, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack set over parchment paper; let cool completely.
Make glaze (optional): Whisk confectioners' sugar, maple syrup, and egg white until smooth. Add water if needed to reach glaze consistency. Drizzle over cookies, let set. Makes approximately 36 cookies.
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Riverbend Inn's Lime-Pecan Christmas Cookies
Makes about 20 cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar; more for coating
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Several hours before baking, combine flour and salt in a small bowl. In a food processor, combine sugar, pecans and coconut. Process until pecans are finely ground. With an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add pecan mixture and beat until well blended. Beat in the lime zest and vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl and add flour mixture, beating until just combined. Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap in plastic, and chill until firm, about 3 hours.
To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Measure the dough into heaping teaspoon-size pieces and roll each between your palms to form a ball. Put the balls 1 ½ inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets and bake until edges of cookies barely begin to brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the sheets for 3-4 minutes then roll in powdered sugar while still very warm. Repeat rolling to create a powdery coating.
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Riverbend Inn's Seriously Chocolate Slice and Bake cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookie
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 Tablespoons (11 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or with hand mixer), beat the butter on medium until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, salt and vanilla and beat for two minutes more.
Turn off mixer and pour in flour mixture. Cover mixer with towel to protect yourself and kitchen, pulse at low speed about 6 times, a couple seconds each time. Pulse just enough for flour to disappear into dough; work dough as little as possible once the flour is added. Add chocolate pieces and mix just to incorporate.
Turn dough onto work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Shape each half into logs that are 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days (the logs can be frozen up to 2 months: when ready to bake, just slice frozen dough into cookies and bake for one minute longer).
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. With a sharp knife, slice logs into ½ inch-thick rounds. If rounds crack, just squeeze back together. Arrange cookies on baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake sheet on center rack for 12 minutes. They may not look done or be firm, but that's how you want them. Let cookies rest on baking sheet until they are just warm, then remove to cooling rack or eat.
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