Cookie Time

For holiday gifts, my husband and I mostly give charitable donations. I say mostly because there are children in the connection who wouldn’t quite appreciate them in the spirit given, and there are a few people in enough need to warrant helpful gifts and a few people with specific gift traditions where ending them would leave a hole in the holidays. Mostly, though, we give donations.

Oh, also cookies.

Very soon, our kitchen is about to go into production mode. Extra butter, extra sugar, extra eggs. Fresh spices and nuts and fruit. A dishwasher running constantly. Cooling racks on every surface and pans rotating in and out of the oven.

People may not get commercial gifts from us. That doesn’t mean they don’t get our time and attention.

There will be the grandma cookies, of course. It isn’t Christmas without my Grandma Lylah’s “cottage cheese cookies” (so much better than that sounds). There may be ginger snaps, because it’s been a few years. Aside from that, however, I’m finding myself wanting to try new cookie recipes.

So, help a blogger out here. What are your favorite holiday cookies, and where can I find the recipes?

Cookie Time

15 thoughts on “Cookie Time

  1. 1

    About 6 years ago, a friend of mine spent a year in Salamanca, Spain. During that time, she was introduced to Polverones (Spanish Almond Cookies), which are extremely popular around Christmas, and she absolutely loved them.

    When she moved back to Japan, she was never able to find them, so now, every year, I send her a small package around this time, and it’s become somewhat of a tradition. I’ve tried many different recipes, but this is the one I use today (some recipes toast the flour as well as the almonds, but I prefer the texture of the cookies with untoasted flour, and I am also slightly paranoid about the flour blowing up in my oven when I move it around to toast evenly):

    1 1/2 cups Flour
    3/4 cup raw almonds
    10 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    2-3 tsp Cinnamon
    Powdered sugar (optional)

    (1)Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (2) Toast raw almonds in a small sauce pan, toasting until they change color just slightly. Remove and place almonds into a food processor. Process almonds until they are finely ground. (3) Cream butter, sugar and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl. (4) Add the flour and finely ground almonds and continue mixing. The dough will be very crumbly. (5) Roll the dough into little balls by hand and bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove sheet from oven and allow to cool before you remove them, taking care not to break them. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

  2. 2

    These are the cookies my mother made every Christmas. Buttery, flaky, not too sweet, they are the cookie that inspired the question: “If God can do anything, can he bake a cookie so good that even he cannot stop eating them?”.

    Thimble Cookies

    1 cup unsalted butter
    1/2 cup light brown sugar
    2 egg yolks
    2 cups flour
    1 tbsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt

    2 egg whites, unbeaten
    1 cup chopped walnuts

    Preheat to 350F.

    Cream butter and sugar. Add yolks and beat until fully incorporated. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together, and add to butter/sugar mixture. Beat or fold just until blended.
    Roll dough into 2 tsp balls. Dip in egg whites and roll in nuts to coat.
    Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Make a thimble-sized indentation in the centre of each cookie, pressing the dough down to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Fill indentation with jelly or jam*. Return to oven for 15 minutes, or until cookies are just golden.

    *Homemade is always going to be best here. I just made a batch with my wife’s beautiful red crabapple-cranberry jelly. Insert Homer Simpson open-mouthed drool sound here.

  3. 4

    I started my cookie baking this week. I stick with my own “classics,” hermits, chocolate chip, oatmeal, and snickerdoodles. If I had more room in my kitchen, I would do my favorite cookie cutter cookie recipe, which uses honey as a sweetner. Love ’em, but just can’t manage with limited counter space. As copied from a decades-old cookbook (which fell apart years ago):
    1/3 cup shortening
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 egg
    2/3 cup honey
    1 tsp lemon flavor
    2 3/4 cups flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt

    Refrigerate over night before rolling out to cut your cookies.
    Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 min.
    You can decorate, but they taste great plain.

  4. 5

    My new go-to cookie is the meringue. There are a couple different ways to make them (with or without cream of tartar). I’ve done them both and it’s worked okay both times. There are two basic ingredients – egg whites and superfine (caster) sugar. You should use 1/4 cup of sugar for each egg white used (so 3 egg whites would mean 3/4 cup). If you use cream of tartar to help stabilize the egg whites, 1/8 to 1/4 tsp is fine.

    There are recipes all over the Interwebs with different flavor combinations to try. My favorite part about meringues is that you can make them in any flavor you can imagine. I made some this summer using rose water for flavor and while it wasn’t over-powering, it was a nice kiss of rose flavor. I also made some pumpkin spice ones this fall. While I could have used pumpkin spices, it worked even better to make some pumpkin spice tea and use a bit of that for flavor. It was like having pumpkin pie melt in your mouth (without chunks of crust, though)!

    I’m getting ready to make some peppermint ones using crushed candy canes for flavoring later this week. Wish me luck!

  5. 6

    Mexican Wedding Cookies (Snowballs) are making a comeback in my family.

    1 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1 tablespoon cold water
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups flour
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Form dough into balls (can be refrigerated for easier handling), roll balls in powdered sugar, Bake at 375 (190 C) for 15 min. I used roasted pecans last time, because that’s just how I’m rolling this year.

  6. 7

    Oh yes, I’m all over this!

    Devils Delight Cookies – super, super chocolately with chipotle and cinnamon. A must make every year:

    Oatmeal with cinnamon glaze – I added this one on last year. So, so good.

    This is a yummy, festive looking bar cookie:

    I’m pretty traditional otherwise. I’ll always try one of the Strib cookie contest winners (doing the lemon/lime cookies this year).

  7. 8

    Nestle Tollhouse butterscotch chip cookies. Recipe can be found on the package…or used to, at any rate, not entirely sure.

    I know, it’s not an old family recipe or traditional holiday fare, but it’s one of three things that I remember, food-wise, from my childhood. The others being my Mom’s ham rolls and my Aunt’s cheesy potatoes.

  8. 9

    Here’s my grandma’s recipe for “Stritzgeb├Ąck”
    They are traditional cookies where I live and everybody has a slightly different recipe.
    I also have my great-grandma’s version, but since she was a very poor woman, you don’t want to eat it.
    This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so I suggest using half of it.
    375g butter
    375g sugar
    3 eggs
    ->beaten creamy and white

    750g all-purpose flour
    bit of slats o hartshorn
    300g finely grounded nuts. I use almonds and walnuts, gran used hazlenuts. I recommend roasting them a bit before.
    Mix und the egg/sugar/butter mass, let cool for some hours. It works fine making the dough the evening before.

    Now, in Germany you can get those: meat mincers with cookie-gadget. Feed the dough into it, little by little and form whatever you want.
    Keep the dough you’re not using in the fridge.
    If you don’t have one, just form little rolls with your hands
    Bake at about 180┬░ for about 10min.

  9. 11

    We do gingerbread, hermits, moon cookies, butter cookies, pinwheels, and fudge. Best fudge in the world will always be the recipe on the back of the marshmallow fluff jar, of course. My sisters and I got a little experimental with the pinwheels last night, and wound up with a good sugar cookie variant that’s pretty simple while looking fancy and being tasty. We used this recipe. Warning: Crushing candy canes is harder than it sounds.

  10. 13

    I don’t have the recipe with me at work, but….

    One cookie that I make every is based on a Swedish(?) cookie that my grandmother used to make. You start with a good butter cookie and roll it out a bit thin onto a baking sheet. Brush the top with an egg wash, top with sliced, toasted almonds, and sprinkle with a mix of very fine (not powdered) sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. Bake until the middle of the sheet is set; I want to say 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, but follow the directions for whatever base recipe you are using. Remove from the oven, then immediately cut: longwise in strips about an inch wide, then diagonally about two inches wide to create diamonds. You have to do this quickly while it is still soft. Remove the cookies to a rack to cool.

    Even well into middle age, the mix of almonds and cardamom still means Grandma’s kitchen at the holidays.

  11. 15

    I make 11-12 types of cookies and 5-6 types of candy every year. Some of the recipes are from my mother, grandmother or great-great-grandmother. This one though, is mine:

    Berry bars:
    You can use any type of berries and either half dried and half fresh/frozen or you can use all dried. I usually make these as either strawberry bars or a mix of strawberries and blueberries

    1.5 c fruit
    1/4 c honey
    1/2 c water
    1 T lemon juice
    Cook together over stove until dried fruit is soft. Run through a food processor until smooth and, if necessary cook again until mixture is thick but still easy to spread.

    1/2 c brown sugar
    1.5 c flour
    3/4 c oats
    1/4 t baking powder
    1/2 t salt
    5/8 c butter

    Mix dry ingredients then cut in butter until very fine. Press 1/2 – 2/3 into an 8X8 baking pan. Spread filling over crust and sprinkle remaining crust over filling. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes.

    As a warning, I bake at over 4500 feet above sea level. I have no idea how a lower elevation would impact the recipe.

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