Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christmas Cookies

It's a little early to start baking Christmas cookies. However, I was at the salon getting my hair cut and my adorable, young hairdresser was bemoaning the fact that she will miss her Mom's cookies this year as she has decided to stay in Phoenix and her Mom lives in Illinois. As she was talking about the cookies, the golden color, the heavenly smell of butter and vanilla, the sweet, crunchy yummy flavor, perhaps it was power of suggestion, but I knew I was doing some cookie baking soon.
Today was the day.
I have several good Christmas cookie recipes. I have a few favorites, gingerbread, spritz, lingonberry bars, and cut-out sugar cookies. Today was sugar cookie day. Sugar cookies are great as you can mix up a recipe and do so much with them.
Here's the basic recipe:
Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla **Can substitute almond extract or lemon extract
Cream butter and sugar, add egg. Mix in vanilla, then add dry ingredients. Mix well. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.
Now for the fun part...
1. For cut-out sugar cookies, refrigerate and hour, then roll out.

2. For thumb print cookies, roll into 1" balls, indent with your thumb or finger, bake and fill with powdered sugar icing or your favorite colorful jam.

3. Roll into a braid or pretzel shape. Brush with egg white and sprinkle on coarse granulated "sparkle" sugar.

4. Pecan Logs: Roll into "logs", dip in crushed pecans.
5. Candy Canes Cookies: Divide the dough in halves. Mix red food coloring in one 1/2, leave the other half white dough. Roll each color into ropes. Twist and shape like a candy cane. Bake.
If you are like I am and can't wait for that yummy taste, bake a cookie sheet full for now. Freeze the rest of the dough for fresh cookies on your Christmas platter or to have around any time you want a fresh baked treat.

If you're afraid your cookies may be too fragile to put on a wire cooling tray, try this. Put a layer of newspaper down, then top with two layers of paper towels. This will absorb any excess oil. (Do not put directly onto the newspaper.)

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