It Wouldn’t Be Christmas Without…

Christmas Cookies! I love baking them, eating them and giving them away!

Baking

Photo courtesy of ballookey @ Flickr.com

here was a time when I began making and freezing 12 varieties of Christmas cookies at the end of October. (You can keep them in the freezer for up to 8 weeks, not that they would be safe from snitches that long.) I kept some for my family, some  went to relatives and the rest I sold by the pound for a little extra Christmas spending money.

These days, I don’t begin until after Thanksgiving. I only make 8 different kinds of cookies now, which amounts to about 40 dozen. I split them up between our four kids, my Mom and ourselves. Out of my own allotment, I give a few to the postman and anyone else who stops by before Christmas.

Our house is scented with the aroma of cinnamon, chocolate and sugar for the whole month of December…what could be better? My mood stays cheery since holiday stress is not allowed in the door.

I’d like to share two of my family’s favorites. I love them because the yield is so high and they taste so yummy. Both of these cookies can be prepared one day and baked the next. I’ve even gone as long as a couple of days before baking. If you do a lot of baking and have days when you’re pressed for time, it’s comforting to know you have cookie dough in the fridge that just has to be shaped and baked.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Photo courtesy of polkaroo @ Flickr.com

Chocolate Crinkles – fudgy and yummy, this recipe yields 80 cookies.

1) Melt chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler over simmering water or in microwave until about three-quarters melted. Remove from water or microwave and stir until completely melted and smooth.

2) Meanwhile, stir flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl.

3) In a large bowl with electric mixer on high-speed, beat eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla until creamy, about 2 minutes. Whisk chocolate-butter mixture til smooth and beat into egg mixture til smooth. Add 1/3 of flour mixture and mix on low-speed. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing just til blended. Dough may be thin, but will thicken upon cooling. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll into balls, 6 hours or overnight.

4) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Sift some confectioner’s sugar into a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in confectioner’s sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

5) Bake until puffed and crackled in appearance and surface is dry to the touch, about 12 minutes; centers will still be somewhat soft. Slide parchment onto racks to cool cookies completely.

Candy Cane Cookies

Photo courtesy of bigal_60714 @ Flickr.com

Candy Cane Cookies – This is the best recipe I’ve found for these well-loved cookies and they pack a punch of peppermint. Yield is 100 cookies.

  • 3 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbls. finely crushed peppermint candy canes or drops
  • 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 12 drops red food coloring

1) Whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl.

2) In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter til creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla and egg. Add about 1/3 of flour and mix on low-speed. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing just til blended. Remove half of dough and cover with plastic wrap. Ad crushed candy, extract and food coloring to dough remaining in bowl and beat on low-speed until well blended. Cover dough with plastic wrap as well and refrigerate both until firm enough to roll out, at least 2 hours or overnight.

3) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

4) Separately roll 1/2 tsp. of dough of each color on a lightly floured surface into a 1/4-inch wide, 5-inch long rope. Twist them together, place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets, and shape into a small candy cane by curving about a quarter of the length of twisted rope into a hook shape.

5) Bake until just beginning to turn light golden brown around edges, about 12 minutes. Place pan on rack to cool. If desired, sprinkle with red colored sugar while still warm.

When I’m baking, I’m in my own little world. I have the stereo cranked up with Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett singing White Christmas or I’ll Be home for Christmas. You find me singing and dancing in my kitchen as I sing along with those crooners.

What will you be baking for the Christmas holiday? Do you let your kids help or do you like to work alone with your music or just your own private thoughts?

You know I love hearing from you and anxiously await your comments!

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30 thoughts on “It Wouldn’t Be Christmas Without…

  1. Pingback: Holiday Mash Up | Sonia G Medeiros

  2. Pingback: Blog Treasures 12-10 « Gene Lempp's Blog

  3. Thanks Marcia! I just added those ingredients to my shopping list. Christmas baking with my granddaughters starts this weekend and they’re going to love those recipes. I like to crank up the Christmas tunes too but I suspect we will have to add a little of “the Biebs” this year. The girls are growing up!

    • I think Justin Bieber has a Christmas album out. You could surprise the granddaughters with just how cool you are, if they don’t already know that! Have a blast with them!

  4. Okay,l from now on I will call you Martha (not Marcia) Richards-Stewart 🙂 You are fabulous. I love those recipes and I’m snatching them right away. My mother-in-law used to make the Candy Cane cookies but she stopped a couple of years ago and I miss them. Now I can make them myself — thank you, darling!

    I really like the phrase you used in your post, “Holiday stress is not allowed in the door.” This is a great line and I try to live by it every year (with mixed results).

    • Enjoy the cookies, Angela! Martha Richards-Stewart lol! You ahve no idea how many people call me Martha by mistake!
      Stress is like a flood of water seeping under the door. It wants to invade our precious moments. All we can do is to keep sweeping it back away from our happy space.

  5. Chocolate crinkles are one of my family’s favorites too!! I’ve also put a hershey kiss in the middle of them when they come out of the oven and that makes them even more chocolatey!! Now I need to start/finish my shopping and my baking!!

  6. First of all, ONLY 40 dozen cookies?? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many cookies in my life! Secondly, these look absolutely delicious. If I get time, I am going to try the candy cane cookies this week, to give to Mr B’s colleagues when they come over for Christmas dinner on Friday.

    • I know it sounds like a lot, but they add up fast! We have 4 grown kids, plus my Mom and my sis-in-law. My son asked me to bake extra so he could swap Mom-cookies with a buddy of his. I actually need that many in order to have some for us!

      I hope you like the candy canes…they’ll be a nice treat for your guests. Have a wonderful dinner party!

  7. Oh no! More cookies to make…LOL, I make tons. Though I haven’t tried the candy cane ones. I start baking after Halloween, usually one batch each weekend, and into the freezer they go. I start pulling them out a bit at a time in December to supplement the freshly baked ones. Wee beasties like their cookies 🙂 Thanks for the recipes!

    • I wish I had started earlier, like I used to, but I’m doing 3 batches a week now which should give me enough. I have about four different kinds of cookies that I rotate just to have a new one on the tray each year so I ahve tons of ‘favorite’ cookies! Enjoy your holiday!

  8. Wow! You really love cookies. I love eating them, but not so much making them. I used to feel bad about this, but have accepted that baking just isn’t my thing. Lucky for me, it’s totally my son & daughter’s. Whoohooo! They make the cookies for me. I’ll have to print out these recipes for them to try this year. Thanks!

  9. The least you could have done is send us some of the smell. We rarely bake because of weight and my diabetes, but I do miss the smell. . . .

    My specialty was chocolate chip cookies, and my secret was undercooking them. Cookies continue to harden after you take them out of the oven, so I always took them out when they were almost mushy so that when they cooled they would still be soft. I remember one time I cooked about four dozen, allowing my daughter and two stepsons to eat a few along the way. Okay, maybe I ate a few, too. Anyhow, when I took the last batch out of the over and started to put them on the counter top to cool, there were NONE left out of all I’d cooked.

    • Oh, I can relate to that love of chocolate chip cookies! They never lasted long in my house either–same with brownies, shortbreads, half moons, etc!
      You know, David, I’ll bet it won’t be long before before we CAN send aromas over the internet! Cool!

  10. My mom used to make Chocolate Crinkles every Christmas, but she won’t share recipes with any of us “men”, so thanks for that one. I think (and I am no baker) that I’ll try my hand at making that one (probably with lots of help from the wife or daughter #1).

    Awesome sweet stuff, Marcia 🙂

    • Thanks, Gene! Chocolate crinkles are so easy! You’ll be fine on your own, if you choose. I hope they turn out like your mom’s. I wonder if she modified the recipe so that it’s truly hers and that accounts for why she won’t give it out? In any event, enjoy!

  11. They sound ahhhmazing!!! I am not a Christmas baker – more like a Christmas shopper. LOL! I have friends and family that start baking in October straight through but it’s not one of my passions so I just head off to the grocery store where I buy any baked goods that are required. Not to mention, hubby and I really don’t entertain – we go visit people more than people come to see us so…who would I feed baked good to?!?! My rear-end…so I keep er’ lean and mean at my house. LOL! But those recipes sound FUN and festive…ENJOY spreading the holiday cheer!

    • Shopping is an art, Natalie! I really don’t like to shop, but I do love to give gifts that my family will love, so My husband goes with me and we make it fun.
      Enjoy your party-hopping this season and keep the goodies off your butt!

  12. The chocolate crinkle cookies are my favorite. I’ve never attempted the candy canes. They look like a lot of work. Maybe I’ll give them a go this year. They’re so pretty! I’m looking forward to sugar cookies with mounds of icing. Yum!

    • Pass some of those sugar cookies over here, please! Mmm.
      The candy canes really aren’t too bad…yes, they’re more work than spreading brownies in a pan, but sooo worth it! You’ll love them! Enjoy!

  13. I WILL NEVER NOT EVER MAKE THOSE CANDY CANE COOKIES AGAIN! LOL. Marcia, I love you, but I am SO NOT a baker. I’m more of a “eyeball it” person when it comes to measurements and so baking and I don’t get along. I made those candy cane cookies last year for a work party and for all the work it took to only make 2 dozen cookies. It just wasn’t worth it. I don’t care how buttery good they were. I do not have the patience for it. Plus my hands were dyed pink from the food coloring! Ugh!

    I did find 2 recipes that I will TRY to make this holiday season. One is for creme de menthe cookies and the other is a Sugar and Spice Cake. IF I get through them, I’ll share the recipes. But no promises. 😛

    • LOL, Jess! Like I said, baking isn’t for everyone, but who knows…you may hit on a recipe that works for you and it will become your signature dessert! *Giggling over your pink hands*
      Your two recipes here, sound awesome! I hope you like them because I’ll be waiting for the recipes!

  14. Ok you are Such a great baker, I have added your two to my lost. They just HAVE to be good if from you. I too love the Christmas music.
    Thats the way I do them too. Great post!!

    • Thanks, Helen. I miss the days of our swapping cookies and our themed Christmas gift exchanges. You will love these…especially the chocolate crinkles–they’re fudgy delicious!

  15. Ooh, I love shortbread cookies, too! So buttery! Even if you normally prefer to stay in the background, Emma, I’m happy to know you’re there and appreciate you popping in to visit. You’re welcome to join me here anytime you like. Have a fun day of baking and hope the chocolate crinkles make you and your family smile!

  16. Thanks Marcia! I just happened to be sitting here making my shopping list for cookie ingredients, Googling “Best Christmas Cookies” when your email popped up. Our favorites are shortbreads, and these chocolate ones are going on my list today. As a writer, I tend to isolate myself. This time of year is a good reason to make some quick visits, be generous with folks who have helped me along the way, and distribute a little something to show that I appreciate them. A rainy day in Memphis makes for a good writing (and baking) day!

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