Christmas Cookies! I love baking them, eating them and giving them away!
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 Crinkles – fudgy and yummy, this recipe yields 80 cookies.
- 5 oz. unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces
- 1/2 C. unsalted butter
- 2 C. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 C. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Confectioner’s sugar
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 – 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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