Tag Archives: Christmas Cookies

{Cookie Week} Vanilla Bean Spritz Cookies

There are few kitchen gadgets that are more fun than a cookie press. These pressed little butter cookies have the simple tastes of Christmas. I added some extra vanilla flavors for a slight twist on an old classic. The cookie press is a lot of fun with the little ones in the kitchen (and big kids too!). You can also add a little food coloring to these if you want to bring a little color to the cookie.

If you are looking for a cookie press, I received mine as a wedding gift. The Crate and Barrel version is almost more of a cookie gun, which makes it very easy to press the correct amount for each cookie.

Vanilla Bean Spritz Cookies via Haute Apple Pie

Vanilla Bean Spritz Cookies
Yields about 4 dozen
1 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 C AP flour
holiday sprinkles

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, salt and vanilla extract. With a sharp knife, slice open vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape inside contents into the bowl and mix until combined.

With a spoon or rubber spatula, slowly fold in flour until completely incorporated.

Place desired disk on cookie press. Pack dough into the press. Once cookies are pressed onto ungreased cookie sheet, add sprinkles of your choice.

Bake for 9-12 minutes. These cookies cook quickly and vary based on your cookie sheet, so keep an eye out for them while they bake. Cool on rack.

Vanilla Bean Spritz via Haute Apple PieHappy baking!

stef

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{Cookie Week} Gingerbread Truffles

With our trees trimmed, some presents purchased and Christmas carols in our heads, it is time to start thinking about baking up a few batches of holiday cheer. It is never officially the Christmas season until you’ve eaten your first bite of buttery goodness. We are whipping up a variety of treats to share with you this year, so stay tuned every day this week!

While I enjoy the process of making everything from scratch, sometimes I like to go all Sandra Lee on my treats. When baking a lot of goodies at once, it is nice to have some fast treats to whip up in a jiffy. These Gingerbread Truffles, a form of cake ball, are fun and easy and make a beautiful addition to any cookie tray. There are a variety of similar recipes floating around the web on this one, but I am bringing you my own take and directions.

gingerbread truffle

These were sold at the #MKEFoodies Cookies for Kid’s Cancer holiday bake sale this past weekend. They are a beautiful bake sale treat and keep well for wrapping and transport.

Gingerbread Truffles
Yields around 4 dozen

2 boxes gingerbread mix (I used Betty Crocker) + ingredients on box
1 can of vanilla frosting
2-3 packages of almond bark or white melting chocolate
vegetable shortening
Sprinkles

Bake both boxes of gingerbread according to directions in two 8-inch square pans or one 9×13 inch pan. Allow to cool. Remove from pans and cool completely, at least a couple of hours.

In a large mixing bowl, break up gingerbread and crumble it into pieces with your hands. One large tablespoon at a time, add vanilla frosting. Work the frosting together with the gingerbread, using your hands, until all of the frosting is incorporated.

Using a heaping tablespoon of dough, roll into tight walnut-sized balls. Place on a wax or foil lined baking sheet. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour.

When gingerbread balls are fully chilled, place on package of almond bark in the microwave with 1/2 tsp shortening. Microwave on 50% power for 45-60 seconds and stir. Continue to microwave at 50% for 20-30 second intervals until mixture is smooth and creamy, with no lumps.

With a teaspoon, drop the gingerbread ball into the melted chocolate. Gently roll around until full coated. Lift off and very gently place ball onto a wax or foil lined tray. You may need to give it a gently nudge with the edge of a fork. Decorate immediately with a dash of sprinkles of your choice. Continue the process (melting more chocolate when needed) until all are covered.

Allow to harden in a cool place. Store in a cool place or freeze for up to 3 months.

Holiday Gingerbread Truffles

These do not have to be perfect. If little spots of gingerbread show through, just drizzle a little extra over the top.

We are looking forward to bringing you more holiday treats this whole week. We would love for you to share your favorite Christmas cookie recipes with us! Also, if you make any of our treats, we’d love if you’d share a picture with us on Facebook.

stef

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{Cookie Week} Zesty Mexican Wedding Cookies

This year for my family Christmas party, I’ve decided to switch it up and take a note from our country to the South and host a Feliz Navidad Mexican Fiesta (Stay tuned for more on that). Naturally, my mind turned to a favorite Christmas cookie of mine to finish off the meal, the Mexican Wedding Cookie. I’ve added my own citrusy twist to these nutty little powdered sugar nuggets, making them a great compliment to a fresh margarita.

Feliz Navidad

Zesty Mexican Wedding Cookies
Yields: approx. 2 dozen

1 1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on baking sheet and toast in oven for 8 minutes, turning once halfway through.

In a food processor, pulse almonds, until finely chopped. In a large mixing bowl, mix almonds, flour, salt, cinnamon and zest until well combined.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and 1 C confectioners’ sugar until fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Add vanilla and lime juice and mix thoroughly. Slowly add almond mixture and mix until combined.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, until light golden brown. Transfer to wire cooling rack. Dust warm cookies in 1/4 C confectioners’ sugar until coated. Allow to cool. Dust final cookies with extra powdered sugar, if necessary.

Feliz Navidad Amigos! Thanks for sharing Christmas carol cookie week with us!

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{Cookie Week} Reindeer Peanut Butter Cookies

On Dasher! On Dancer! On Prancer! On Vixen! On Comet! On Cupid! On Donner! On Blizten! Do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?

Rudolph of course! In peanut butter cookie, chocolate pretzel and M&M form. I was inspired to make these reindeer cookies after viewing the old stop animation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie with my son. The slightest bit creepy (if I dare to say) but festive none the less. Lincoln hasn’t stopped talking about reindeer since.

These adorable cookies are easy and fun to make, especially if you have little elves to help. If you don’t feel like making the peanut butter cookies from scratch, you can always use the slice and bake version, they will look just as cute!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Reindeer Peanut Butter Cookies
Yields 2-3 dozen

2 C Creamy Peanut Butter
2 C sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
Brown and Red M&Ms
Chocolate Covered Pretzels (I used Snyders)

Preheat oven to 350. Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Allow the cookies to sit for one minute after taking cookies out of oven. Then, insert pretzels at a 45 degree angle in the top of each cookie to make ears. (Be careful, the chocolate will melt if it touches the hot baking sheet!) Insert brown M&Ms for eyes and a red M&M for the nose. Once set, move to wire cooling rack to complete cooling.

Merry Christmas!

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{Cookie Week} Marshmallow Holly Wreaths

The Holly and the Ivy…

I have such wonderful memories of making these cornflake marshmallow wreaths with my Mom around the holidays.  They are so easy to make and kid friendly.  Best of all, they are so delicious!

Marshmallow Holly Wreaths
1/3 cup butter
35-40 regular sized marshmallows
1 teaspoon green food coloring
6 cups Corn Flakes cereal
Red cinnamon candies

Measure out 6 cups of the cornflakes cereal into a large bowl.

In a double boiler, melt the marshmallows and butter until smooth.  Add the green food coloring and stir until well combined.

Add the marshmallow mixture into the cornflakes and stir until all of the cornflakes are covered with marshmallow.

Using buttered or damp fingers, scoop out about 1/4 cup of the mixture and shape into wreaths.  Add cinnamon candies quickly before the marshmallow sets.  Store in the refrigerator or an airtight container.

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{Cookie Week} White Christmas Cookies

After a week of virtual shopping, we worked up quite an appetite at HAP and during the holidays there’s just one thing that hits the spot – Christmas cookies! This year we’re putting a twist on things by drawing recipe inspiration from our favorite Christmas carols. So tie on your aprons, pop on that playlist and get ready to get into the spirit of things with us!

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas…

Growing up when everyone else was watcing It’s a Wonderful Life, my family was singing and dancing to White Christmas so I couldn’t resist paying tribute to Bing and his crew with my carol cookies. These White Christmas cookies have a little red, a little green, a little merry and bright and of course…a whole lot of white.
christmas cookie recipes
White Christmas Cookies (Cranberry, Pistachio & White Chocolate Cookies)
1 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
3 1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1/3 C pistachios, shelled and finely chopped
1 C dried cranberries
3/4 C white chocolate chips, plus remainder of bag for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt and beat. Beat in almond and vanilla extracts. Beat in flour, one cup at a time. Use a spatula to stir in cranberries, pistachios and chocolate chips, mixing well to disperse evenly throughout the dough. Use a small cookie scoop to scoop dough in equal sized balls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Transfer cookies to two sheets of parchment paper to cool.

Place remaining white chocolate chips in a ziploc bag. Microwave for 1-1.5 minutes to melt chips. Use a scissors to clip a tiny bit off of one corner of the bag. Drizzle chocolate over cookies.

Makes about 4 dozen.
cranberry, white chocolate christmas cookies

Virtual Cookie Exchange!

We’re participating in a virtual Christmas cookie exchange over at The Avid Appetite! Rachel has gathered some of her favorite blogger friends who are all bringing their favorites holiday treats so be sure to stop by!

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{Fancy}Valencia Delights

These cookies combine two of my favorite flavors, chocolate and orange.  The delicate sugar cookie with a hit of orange is made indulgent by dipping it into a chocolate glaze.

Valencia Delights

Cookies:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp grated orange peel

1/3 cup sugar – to roll dough in

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat until combined. Beat in egg, vanilla, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Mix in the flour and orange peel until well combined.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the sugar. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a round coffee cup or glass, press down on each dough ball to flatten until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick.

Bake at 375 for about 7 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. While the cookies cool, make the chocolate glaze. Combine the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat.

Dip the cooled cookies into the chocolate glaze. Place on wax paper and refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 15 minutes. Store covered, at room temperature between pieces of wax paper.

Recipe adapted from Midwest Living.

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{Spicy} Lemon Ginger Tea Snowballs

When I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, these Lemon Ginger Snowballs are my go-to cookie. The addition of fresh and ground ginger as well as green tea leaves adds an unexpected spice to these pretty treats.

Lemon Ginger Tea Snowballs
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients

1/2 C shortening
1 TBSP grated fresh ginger
1 TBSP vanilla
1 bag of green tea (I used lemongrass green tea)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 C packed brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
granulated sugar

In a large mixing bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat shortening, ginger, vanilla, tea and lemon peel until fluffy. (The tea bag should be cut open and you should pour the tea leaves into the bowl dry). Add brown sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat in eggs. Slowly beat in flour.

Preheat oven to 350. Shape dough into 1/2 to 1 inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 9-10 minutes or until lightly brown. Cook for 2 minutes and transfer to wire cooling rack.

This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Sugar Glaze

To create a sugar glaze, combine 1 1/2 C powdered sugar and 5-6 tablespoons of water until it reaches drizzling consistency. Dip the cookies in glaze. Then coat with chopped coconut, sanding sugar, sprinkles or dust with powdered sugar.

Another yummy thing to try to make these more snowball round would be to spread some cream cheese frosting and stick two cookies together. I didn’t try that this time, but I think I might next time!

Happy Cookie Week!

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Christmas Treats with Mom

Every year as a child, I, like most of you, looked forward to baking christmas cookies and treats with my mom around the holidays. If you ask anyone on the northwest side of Chicago, they will tell you my mom makes some of the best baked treats around. She is never afraid to, what we call in my family, “fuss.” 

So this year, my mom made a trip up to Wisconsin and we spent the day making a few extra Christmas treats that will spice up any holiday cookie platter. These bite sized desserts are easy to make and require very little baking. You can make as many or as little as you want. They are great to fill out a holiday platter or wrap individually to give as a heartfelt Christmas gift, just as Anne suggested in her recent post.

I’ve added them to a cookie platter filled with my Vanilla Spritz Press Cookies, Lemon Ginger Snowballs and Nutmeg Yule Logs. 

Turtle Pretzels


Ingredients:

  • Snyder’s Pretzel Snaps
  • Rolos
  • Whole Pecans

Place pretzel snaps on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place Rolo on top of the pretzel. Bake in oven at 250 degrees for 4 minutes. Immediately press pecans on top of chocolate. Set in refrigerator.

Christmas Mice


Ingredients:

  • Maraschino cherries
  • Hershey’s Kisses
  • Melted milk chocolate
  • Slivered almonds
  • Black and white gel icing

Pat cherries on paper towel. Dip in chocolate and place cherry on its side on a foil-lined baking sheet. Immediately place unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss as the head of the mouse. Set in refrigerator until chocolate hardens. Using black gel icing, attach slivered almonds to top of Hershey’s Kiss to create mouse ears. Use white gel icing for eyes. 

Chocolate Dipped Meringues


Ingredients:

  • Vanilla meringues
  • Milk and/or white chocolate, melted for dipping
  • Christmas sprinkles

Dip store-bough vanilla meringues in chocolate. Immediately dip in shallow bowl of holiday sprinkles of your choice. Set on foil-lined baking sheet in refrigerator until chocolate hardens. 

M&M Chocolate Pretzel Rings


Ingredients:

  • Pretzel rings
  • Milk and/or white chocolate, melted for dipping
  • Holiday M&Ms

Place pretzel rings on foil-lined baking sheet. Using small spoon (my mom using one of my old baby spoons!), drop chocolate into pretzel ring. Immediately place M&M, “M” side down, on chocolate. Set in refrigerator until chocolate sets. 

Mom’s Chocolate Melting Tips:

  • Using chocolate squares or chips, place in microwave safe bowl for one minute. Stir. 
  • Don’t let any water get into the bowl – the chocolate will harden and will not go back!
  • Don’t over heat. After one minute, stir. Use 15 second  increments to get to desired consistency. Stirring is the key!
  • Place a 1/2 teaspoon of shortening in with the chocolate before melting to even out the consistency.

From my mom’s kitchen and my kitchen to yours – Merry Christmas!

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Shortbread Cookies

Is this what your kitchen looked like last weekend?

It is that time of year when I decide to bake cookies and bread for all of my friends and neighbors. On Saturday I made 12 loaves of Amish Friendship Bread and 4 batches of shortbread cookies. I always get about half way through this process and question why in the world I am doing so much baking.

Instead of making many different kinds of cookies this year, I decided to make 4 batches of shortbread and added ingredients to make each batch a little different.  I then packaged these up in basic white candy boxes and tied them with sweet red ribbon.  Simply stated, but still something all of my friends and neighbors will enjoy receiving.

Shortbread Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

My optional additions: mini chocolate chips, chopped and toasted pecans, grated orange zest with chopped dried cranberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter an 8 1/2-inch round cake pan or a 8 inch square pan.  Sift together flour and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl cream butter until whipped, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar, and continue to beat until fluffy, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Beat for about 2 minutes more.

Add flour mixture a little at a time and beat on low until flour is fully incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed.  Pat dough into pan and prick all over with a fork. Bake until firm in the center and just starting to turn light brown, about 50 minutes.

Take out of the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.  Cut into desired size.  Let cool 15 mins more and then remove the shortbread from the pan and place on a cooling rack.

Cookies will keep, in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 weeks.

Happy Baking!

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