Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Cookies!



Here is the spread of Christmas Cookies I made this year...it was quite an undertaking, to say the least. My feet and back hurt like a mofo, but my heart is warm and full - so it is all worth it!

Kelsey and Shakeer did indeed come over to "help." They were very excited to be assisting in this task. They took turns being in charge of the wet and dry ingredients, and turning the knob on the KitchenAid. They washed their hands about 40 times each, and got to sample each of their creations. Both now know what a silpat is, and both can now crack an egg with ease. (We did sacrifice a couple of eggs as testers. RIP)



I guess the best place to start is from the first tier.

From clockwise, starting at 12:00 - Delux Sugar Cookies, Gingerbread People (let's be politically correct here!), Thumprints, Cream Cheese Cookies, Chocolate-Mint Snow-Top Cookies and finally Peanut Butter Cookies with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

DELUX SUGAR COOKIES

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
Icing (recipe to follow)

In a large bowl, mix together butter, confectioner's sugar, egg, vanilla and almond extracts. Blend in flour, soda and cream of tartar. Form dough into a ball, cover and chill for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide dough into half. Roll each portion of dough 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes. (We used trees, stars and bells) Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 7-8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

SUGAR ICING

1 cup confectioner's sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
2-3 drops of edible food coloring

In a small bowl, combine sugar with 1 tbsp of milk. Grandually increase milk by the tbsp until you achieved the desired consistancy. Add food coloring of choice.

TIP: We grew up "painting" these cookies with brand new dollar store paint brushes, so this is how we decorated these as well. I made the icing a little thicker (didn't use as much milk), so that it was easier to transfer from the bowl to the cookie - without the mess in-between. I let the kids decide which colors they wanted to use, and also let them further their decorating power by offering sprinkles and colored sugar.

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GINGERBREAD

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice

Cream shortening and sugar. Blend in molasses, water, flour, salt, soda, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Form dough into a ball, cover and chill for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut shapes with desire cookie cutters, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Decorate for baking (unless you are decorating with icing - then wait!). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet, and cool on a wire rack. Decorate with icing, if desired.

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THUMBPRINTS - one of my family's favorites (I always double the recipe)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
your choice of jam, jelly or preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix butter, shortening, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla in a large bowl. Work in flour and salt until dough holds together. In a small bowl, please egg white, and beat slightly. In a slightly larger bowl, place walnuts. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Dip each ball into egg white, then roll in nuts. Place balls 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press your thumb deeply into the center of each ball. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Fill thumb holes with your jam/jelly/preserve of choice.


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CREAM CHEESE COOKIES (my personal favorite of all time!!!!!!)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 pakage (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 package yellow cake mix
1 jar cherries (without stems)

Cream butter and cheese in a bowl. Blend in egg and vanilla. Add the dry cake mix, 1/3 at a time, mixing well in between. Gather dough into a ball, cover and chill for 30 minutes. (If you are a fan of raw cookie dough - you must take a taste of this...it is incredible!) Meanwhile, slice each cherry in half, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Form dough into 1/2 inch balls. Drop on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, until dough become tan. Immediately, place cherry in the center. Cool on a wire rack.


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CHOCOLATE-MINT SNOW-TOP COOKIES

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
Powdered sugar

Combine flour, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Set aside. In a saucepan heat 1 cup of chocolate chips over low heat until melted, stirring constantly. Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Beat in granulated sugar until combined. Beat in melted chocolate, eggs, vanilla and mint flavoring. Stir in flour mixture and remaining chocolate pieces. Wrap dough in plastic, freeze for 30 minutes or until firm enough to shape.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar. Place balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until tops are crackled. Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool completely.

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PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES with REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUP CENTERS

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (plus, 1 tbsp)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Mini Reese's Peanut Butter cups, unwrapped

Mix shortening, peanut butter, sugars and egg. Blend in flour, soda, powder and salt. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a mini muffin tray, by spraying cups with non-stick butter spray. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place each ball into the cup of the muffin tray. Bake 10-12 minutes. Immediately press one unwrapped Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in the center of each cookie. Let cool, then carefully remove each cookie to a wire rack to cool completely.

In between each batch, the kids got to shake all their wiggles out to some rockin' Christmas music (there*is* such a thing!).







6 comments:

Wendy said...

Holy cookies, Batman! That's a LOT of different kinds! I wanna eeeeeat them!!!

Beautyfall said...

Wow - those look beautiful!!!

Anonymous said...

i was looking for the other list of cookies you made but never seen them i would like to have them for this year.

Anonymous said...

I plan on making the cream cheese cookies

Domestic Goddess said...

What a lovely assortment of cookies. I especially like the cream cheese cookies with the cherries. I bet those are good!

Anonymous said...

what is yellow cake mix please?Im not english and Im not sure about replacement..thanks..