It’s cookie season.
Don’t get Local Flavor wrong — cookies can be enjoyed all year long — but the holidays are cookies’ time to shine. That being said, please give a warm welcome to Laurie LaClair’s Quick Mix Spritz Cookies.
“These are the staple Christmas cookie in our family,” LaClair said on a recent night inside her Old Forge home.
LaClair perfected the recipe passed down to her by her dad, William Miller. He was the cook of the family, LaClair said, and while he cooked and baked all year, the holidays were a special time. LaClair would help decorate as her father created dozens of batches of cookies, and the now-91-year-old patriarch even made the cookies himself up until he was 86.
LaClair continues the tradition today with her own family. The cookies are a favorite of her husband, Ed, and children, Logan, 20, and Julia, 17.
To make it even sweeter, LaClair’s recipe earned Taylor Community Library, for which LaClair serves as board president, a $50 gift card to Riccardo’s Market, 1219 Wheeler Ave., Dunmore, through Local Flavor Gives Back.
LaClair’s Quick Mix Spritz Cookies are made with a cookie press — a device used to squeeze out cookie dough into distinctive shapes. The press consists of a cylinder with a plunger or trigger mechanism, fitted with a metal die-cut disc with the desired design placed at the extruding end. (The German word “spritzen” means to squirt or spurt.)
LaClair strongly advised bakers use a stand mixer for the recipe, as the cookie dough is thick.
“When I first started making these, I would use a hand mixer, and I was able to smell it burning,” she said, laughing. “This is a tough dough, so you need a very sturdy mixer.”
LaClair’s cookies were the perfect treat. The buttery cookie had a melt-in-you-mouth texture with the right amount of sweetness. Sprinkled sugar on top made for just the right touch.
LaClair takes after her dad and loves to prepare a variety of dishes, from different kinds of soup (including Turkey Noodle and Chicken Tortilla) to other baked treats. When she’s not creating in the kitchen, LaClair can be found at Taylor Community Library. She joined the library’s board of directors eight years ago and served as vice president for several years before becoming president two years ago. First, though, she was a loyal patron, bringing her children there for activities when they were young. She fell in love with the fun, safe atmosphere in which her kids could learn, play and make friends.
“(The library) has such awesome programs for kids,” LaClair said. “Mine just loved it.”
Over the years, LaClair was able to merge her interests. For a fundraiser, the library came up with was a cookbook in which dozens of staff members, volunteers, board members, patrons and others shared their cherished recipes, including LaClair’s signature Mac and Cheese. “Taste of Taylor” costs $20 and can be purchased at the library, 710 S. Main St. All proceeds also benefit the library, LaClair said, which brings together two great things: food and community.
“Sharing recipes and tips, food is just an ultimate uniter,” she said. “And to be able to help the library and all the programming we can offer the community, there’s nothing better than that.”
Laurie LaClair’s Quick Mix Spritz Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut butter into dry ingredients to resemble very fine lumps. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
Using a cookie press, press shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet and decorate. Bake at 375 F for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT