Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Cookies!

I thought it would be fun to post all the Christmas cookies that we made this year, along with recipes.

Gingersnaps (from Penzey's)
I make two changes/additions to the recipe. First of all, I chop up some candied ginger and toss it in, too. Secondly, I take the cookies out of the oven after 3 minutes and press the spheres of dough down with the bottom of a glass. It makes them more thin, even, and better looking, I think (you get the nice cracked look)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 Cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 Cup molasses - either regular or unsulphured
  • 1 tsp. GINGER, powdered
  • 1 tsp. CINNAMON, powdered
  • 1/2 tsp. CLOVES, powdered
  • 1/3 Cup granulated white sugar (to roll dough in)

Sift flour, baking soda and salt together, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar until well blended. Beat in egg, molasses, GINGER, CINNAMON, and CLOVES. Add the flour mixture in two parts, blending well. Shape the dough into a ball, cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350°. Shape dough into 11/2" balls for large cookies - smaller are fine too. Roll the balls thoroughly in sugar, place on ungreased cookie trays. The cookies spread out during baking, so don't crowd them. Bake 15 minutes. Cool for a minute, then remove from cookie sheets. Store in an airtight container for crispy cookies, or in a regular cookie jar for chewy cookies.

Yield: 40-60 cookies
Prep. time: 10 minutes plus chilling
Baking time: 30 minutes total (2 sheets at a time for 15 minutes each)

Chocolate Chip Cookies made with mini Hershey bars and/or Cadbury Milk Chocolates with a Crisp Sugar Shell

No matter how many fancy cookies I make, classic chocolate chip cookies are always the first gone.
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • chocolate chips or M&M's or whatever
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chips or other additions. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Andes Candies Surprise Cookies

Andes Mint Surprise Cookies
Recipe from: 101 More Things to Do With a Cake Mix
by Stephanie Dircks Ashcraft

1 white or yellow cake mix*
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
30 to 36 individual Andes mints, unwrapped (we took one package and broke them in half)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. With a spoon, mix cake mix, eggs, and oil together in a bowl. Flatten a ball of dough around a chocolate mint. Make sure candy is completely covered with dough.

  3. Bake 8-12 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. Remove cookies and place on nonstick rack to cool.

  4. *Chocolate cake mix can be used, but increase vegetable oil from 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup.

(you need a pizzelle iron for these)

I've tried many recipes, but this is my favorite! Cook on a preheated pizzelle iron until steam is no longer escaping from the sides and the pizzelles are nice and golden.

6 eggs
1 c. butter
2 t. anise extract
4 c. all-purpose flour
3 t. baking powder
2 c. sugar

Beat eggs until smooth. Melt the butter and allow it to cool briefly while you blend and mix the sugar and anise extract into the eggs. Add the melted butter into the mix, sift the flour and baking powder in, and blend vigorously to insure uniformity. Bake according to pizzelle iron directions.

Better than Reese's Peanut Butter Bars

Classic Spritz cookies
Rugelach Pinwheels

From the
Sweet On You Bakery via The Martha Stewart Show
(I found via Smitten Kitchen)

Makes about 50 cookies

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups sifted bleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup golden raisins, chopped (I used a mix of raisins and craisins)
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup apricots preserves, heated and cooled slightly

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Place cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and continue processing until fully incorporated. Add flour and pulse just until dough comes together. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, make filling. In a medium bowl, mix together granulated and brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts; set aside.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of dough into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Spread a thin layer of preserves over dough; sprinkle with filling mixture. Roll dough into a log beginning with one of the long sides; wrap in plastic wrap. Transfer dough log baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining piece of dough. Place dough logs in refrigerator; let chill at least 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping; set aside.

5. Slice chilled dough logs crosswise, about 1/4 inch thick. Toss each cookie in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place cookies 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned, 18 to 20 minutes. Lift parchment paper from baking sheets and transfer to a wire cooling rack; let cool.

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