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Published: Monday, December 3, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Fabulous party fare to make at home

Chances are probably stacked against us when it comes to the time, effort and skill involved in creating our own homemade gingerbread villages.
Not anywhere near the scale of the Sheraton Seattle Hotel's enchanting lobby display of its annual Gingerbread Village, anyway. And, besides the traditional visual treat, there's a sweet-eat one served, too.
So maybe we can't re-create this particular gingerbread village magic in our own homes, but we can create those special gingerbread cookies, thanks to Wally Walberg, pastry chef at the Sheraton.
Then, when a platter of appetizers, not a plateful of cookies, is what you need at the moment, the folks at Spice Islands suggest a snappily seasoned quick-fix possibility.
Different from the usual, "those again'' offerings we all run across (and, to be honest, sometimes actually love), this could be just the ticket to take or serve at the potlucks, parties, gatherings and get-togethers on our busy Christmas and New Year schedules.
Chef Wally Walberg's gingerbread cookies
8 ounces butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup milk
5 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon cloves
1 tablespoon ginger
Heat the butter, sugar, molasses and milk in a heavy saucepan on medium heat until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved. Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and ginger and add to the butter mixture. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour or until it is easy to handle.
On a well-floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out with a cookie cutter dipped in flour. Place cookies on greased baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Makes about 2 dozen medium-size cookies.
Toasted dill delights
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dill weed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon fine-grind black pepper
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
12 slices baguettes or party rye bread
1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped black olives
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, dill weed, garlic powder, celery salt, pepper and cheese. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Broil 6 to 8 inches from heat for 30 to 45 seconds or until lightly toasted. Turn slices over; spread with mayonnaise mixture. Broil 1 minute or until lightly browned.
Top each slice with a portion of the tomato, green onions and olives. Serve immediately.
Makes 12.
The Forum is always happy to receive your contributions and requests, so don't hesitate to send them along to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206.
Please remember that all letters and e-mail must include a name, complete address and ZIP code and telephone number with area code. No exceptions and sorry, but no response to e-mail by return e-mail; send to kruse@heraldnet.com.

The next Forum will appear in Wednesday's Good Life section.
Story tags » Cooking

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