Kitchen Focus

I've got such incredibly fond memories of making Christmas cookies with my mom every year when growing up. We'd set aside a weekend and bake cookies and make candy all weekend long. Of course, the first day, sugar cookies would be rolled out, cut and baked. Then, on the second day, they'd get frosted and decorated. Beyond that, there were candies and cookies to coat in chocolate, spritz cookies to press onto cookie sheets and Christmas carols to play all the while.

Traditions like that are what the holidays are all about. In the spirit of that fond tradition, I'm sharing some great Christmas cookie recipes for you and your family to share and enjoy. Enjoy the holidays!

Sugar Cookies

Mix:

  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 c. sugar

Add:

  • 3 beaten eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Sift and mix with sugar mixture:

  • 3 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut it with a simple cookie cutter. Cut these cookies thick, about 1/2 inch. *This is a really soft dough, try not to add too much flour so your cookies will stay soft and moist.

Bake @ 425 for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

Basic Frosting

  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cream or milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat together all of the ingredients until smooth.

*You can also add a little extra milk or cream to the recipe to thin it down into a glaze. This makes frosting really easy! Just turn the cookies upside down and dip in the glaze and let it roll down the sides or set the cookies on a cooking rack and drizzle the glaze over the top. (Make sure you allow plenty of time for the glaze to dry before stacking.)

Christmas Wreaths

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 30 marshmallows
  • 3 1/2 c. corn flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. + green food coloring
  • Red cinnamon candies

Melt the butter and marshmallows in a double boiler. Add the vanilla and food coloring until desired green color. Lastly, add the corn flakes. Blend thoroughly. While warm (cool slightly), drop from tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet and shape into wreaths with greased fingers. Decorate with candies.

  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Yields: 15 to 20 wreaths, depending on size

Snowflake Spritz Cookies

  • 1 ½ c. butter
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 3 ½ c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Thoroughly cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg, milk, vanilla, almond extract and mix well. Stir together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, mixing to a smooth dough. Do NOT chill. Shape the dough into small logs and place in a cookie press. Press the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Remove the cookies from the sheet and cool on a rack.

You can decorate the cookies with colored sugars prior to baking in the oven. You can also color the dough . For example, color it green to make pressed Christmas tree-shaped cookies.

  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes
  • Yields: 7 to 8 dozen cookies

Peanut Blossom Cookies

  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Hershey's chocolate kisses

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, peanut butter, and sugars. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the creamed mixture. Mix thoroughly. Shape by rounded teaspoonful into balls. Roll in sugar. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 8 minutes. Remove them from the oven and place a solid Hershey's chocolate kiss on the top of each cookie pressing down so that the cookie cracks around the edge. Return to the oven and bake for 2 to 5 minutes longer. Remove and cool the cookies on a rack.

  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Cracker Cookies

  • 1 box of Ritz crackers
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • 1 package of chocolate almond bark

Spread the peanut butter on a pair of Ritz crackers to make a sandwich. Do this until you have used up the entire package of crackers. Then melt the chocolate almond bark in a double boiler. Once melted and smooth, dip each sandwich into the chocolate almond bark until fully coated. Place the chocolate covered sandwich cookies on a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.

  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Yields: About 4 dozen

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