A Bazaar Cookie Feast

BY MILLIE STEWART Special to Home and Family

THE MID COAST HOSPITAL AUXILIARY’S annual Holiday Bazaar on Friday will feature assorted cookie plates. Shown above are, from left, Peppermint Sandies, Gingerbread Boys and Girls and Chewey Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies. 
MILLIE STEWART PHOTOS THE MID COAST HOSPITAL AUXILIARY’S annual Holiday Bazaar on Friday will feature assorted cookie plates. Shown above are, from left, Peppermint Sandies, Gingerbread Boys and Girls and Chewey Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies. MILLIE STEWART PHOTOS BRUNSWICK

In this season of “ visions of sugar plums dance in our heads” the search is on for delicious homemade treats to celebrate the holidays and share the spirit of fellowship. There is no better place to find “ homemade” than at the community Christmas fairs hosted by local churches and nonprofit organizations, raising money to turn back into community assets for all to enjoy.

At the Holiday Bazaar at Mid Coast Hospital on Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Mid Coast Hospital Auxiliary is revving up the number of cookie bakers because the assorted cookie plates are so popular.

“They fly out of here,” said Ellen Hutchinson, chairwoman of the bake sale that is such an integral part of the Bazaar. “Volunteers wait for a nice assortment of cookies to arrive before they are packaged in cellophane bags. Then, customers have an interesting mix for their office, their family dinner, their party or to eat on the way home. This cookie plate idea is more festive and certainly works for us.”

“Our customers are not interested in a dozen brownies anymore so we have adapted to their wishes,” Hutchinson said.

The Bazaar is in the café conference rooms.

What kinds of cookies and bars are baked for the Bazaar? Old favorites, new favorites, family heirloom recipes or easy recipes found on the Internet maybe with a particular ingredient in mind. Christmas cookies immediately bring to mind gingerbread, chocolate and peppermint! And you will find them at the Mid Coast Bazaar.

An old favorite that has been around Brunswick for a very long time is the gingerbread cookie recipe that originally came from the late Brownie Schrumpf of Orono, wellknown to University of Maine alumni.

Gingerbread Boys and Girls
1 cup sugar
1 cup melted shortening
1 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
2/3 cup hot water
4 teaspoons baking soda
5 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Dried cranberries and raisins

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Mix sugar and shortening, stir in molasses and vanilla. Beat in egg. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to molasses mixture. Mix flour, cream of tartar, salt and spices and add all at once to molasses mixture. Mix well. Chill dough for a few hours or overnight. Roll out on floured counter and cut with cookie cutters as desired. Decorate girls and boys with cranberry or raisin “buttons,” and bake for about eight minutes on parchment lined cookie sheet. Cookies may also be decorated with icing. Large gingerbread cookies, wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbons, make wonderful party favors, too.

Chewey Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

In Martha Stewart’s Holiday Baking magazine a few years ago, this “new classic” cookie appeared and is readily available on her website as well. The cookie has it all-fresh ginger, chocolate and spices. 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour

1 1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon freshly grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix flour, spices and cocoa. Beat butter and grated ginger until light, add brown sugar and molasses, beating until combined. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture, add dissolved soda, and beat in rest of flour. Mix in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for several hours or overnight.

Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and then roll in white sugar. Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets 10-12 minutes.

Peppermint Sandies

This recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Baking magazine from 2009, and uses a Christmas favorite seasoningpeppermint, which is inside the cookie as well as on the frosting.

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup finely crushed peppermint round candies
or candy canes
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups flour

6 ounces white baking chocolate
1 tablespoon half-and-half
Crushed peppermint candies

Preheat over to 325 degrees. Beat butter until light and fluffy, add powdered sugar and 1/4 cup peppermint candy, beating until combined. Beat in water, vanilla, peppermint extract and flour. Shape into one-inch balls and bake on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake about 15 minutes or until bottoms are browned. Cool. Melt white baking chocolate in microwave and stir in enough half-and-half to make a spreading consistency. Frost cookies and decorate with crushed peppermint candy.

Cookies are not the only stars at the Holiday Bazaar. Volunteers this week under the direction of Pat Laz are making more than 100 baskets of evergreens, all gathered along the Mid-coast, along with winterberries, holly, rose hips, and other natural materials.

Laz said that all arrangements have water containers to keep the evergreens as fresh as possible. There will be both small and large arrangements, hopefully to fit any space in small and large homes.

Orders for wreaths are being taken at the Mid Coast Gift Shop, until Wednesday at 373- 6018. Prices are $12 with a red bow and $10 without a bow. Pick-up is Friday at the Bazaar between 8 a.m. and noon.

Proceeds from this annual event benefit Auxiliary health career scholarships for area students and its $150,000 pledge for the Mid Coast Primary Care and Walk-In Clinic at Brunswick Station downtown.

For more information, call the volunteer office at 373-6015.

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