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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Family Christmas Cookie Recipes

Dear friends!  It is my favorite time of year!  To make it even better, for the first time in my adult life, I live near my parents, which makes the holidays even better!
One of the family traditions of ours that I've always loved, is that my mom would bake cookies like crazy leading up to Christmas, then she would make plates of them to take to our neighbors.  Now, as a young kid, delivering cookies on Christmas Eve, when all you want to do is open presents, is pretty much torture.  But as an adult, I realize all the things my mom was doing through this practice - as missionaries, she was reaching out to those around her, she was spreading true holiday cheer, and she was keeping us out of the house so she could wrap up the last bit of our gifts.

So this year, I invited her to come stay with us for a few days, so that I could learn from the great master, and glean all that I could.
And friends... I now have all the recipes, as well as permission to share them.

You're welcome.



So, here are the "secret" family cookie recipes.

1. Peanut Butter Blossoms

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening (or margarine)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg at room temperature
2 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla
48 Hershey's kisses, or in our case, 48 squares of Milk chocolate
Extra sugar in bowl

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 375 F (191 C) or for a convection oven 350 F (176 C).  

2. Combine all ingredients except chocolate, and extra sugar in large mixing bowl.  Mix on lowest speed until dough forms.  (Or if you don't have a mixer, you can use your hands, like I did.)

3. Shape dough into balls, using a rounded teaspoon for each.  Roll tops of balls in sugar.

4. Place on un-greased cookie sheets.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes (5:40-6 minutes for a convection oven).

6. Top each cookie with a Hershey's kiss or Milk square immediately out of the oven.  Press down firmly, so the cookie cracks around the edge.






2. Snickerdoodle

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening (or shortening)
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cream of tartar

Separately - make a cinnamon sugar mixture for rolling.

1. Mix in order given.



2. Form into balls and roll in sugar and cinnamon mixture.  



3. Place on un-greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes at 400 F (204 C), or if you have a convection oven, bake for 5-6 minutes at 375 F (191 C).



3. Mexican Wedding Cookies

(These are my favorite.)

Ingredients:

1 cup butter or margarine at room temp.
6 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups cake flour (or regular flour with a tbs taken out of each cup.)
1 cup walnuts or pecans chopped as finely as possible

Extra bowl of powdered sugar for rolling.

1. Combine all ingredients to make dough.



2. Roll into balls, place on un-greased cookie sheet, and bake at 350 F (177 F) for 10-15 minutes, or at 325 (165 F) for 7-8 minutes for a convection oven.

3. Once out of the oven, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, roll them in the powdered sugar.  



4. Sugar Cookie

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cover and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).  If chilling over night, take it out of the fridge about 2-8 hours before using.

2. Preheat oven to 400 F (204 C) or 375 F (190 C) for a convection oven.  Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  (This is actually harder than it sounds - but stick with it, it'll work.  I cut the dough into about 4 chunks, because it made a lot.  I put the chunk of dough on the flour, flattened it out some, then flipped it over.)  Use cookie cutters (dipped in flour first) to get the desired shape.  Place on un-greased cookie sheet.

3. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or 4-5 minutes in a convection oven.  Partly, it depends on the size of the cookies. 


After this we made a quick drying glaze that worked PERFECTLY. Here's the recipe:

1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

We used this to dip the cookies in, as well as in piping bags. It really worked like a charm, and dried beautifully!





5. Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs ground ginger
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
6 tbs unsalted butter
3/4 dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla

In Europe I couldn't find liquid molasses, only powdered. If you find yourself in the same boat, add an extra egg, the powdered molasses and add about 1/2 cup of agave syrup.



Directions:

1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves until well blended.

2. In a large bowl beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended.

3. Add molasses, vanilla, and continue to mix until blended.

4. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.

5. Divide dough in half, put each half in a zip top bag, and refrigerate. (Overnight is best.) Let sit at room temperature for at least 2-8 hours.

6. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) or 350 F (177 C) for convection oven. Line baking sheet with baking paper.

7. Place the first half of the dough on a floured surface. Sprinkle flour on top of dough, and rub on rolling pin.



8. Roll dough to 1-4 inch thick. Use extra flour as needed.

9. Use cookie cutters (dipped in flour) to cut out desired shape, and place on baking sheet, about 1 1/2 inch apart.





These are my gran's antique cookie cutters.
It was so fun to share them in a new tradition.


10. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes (5-6 for a convection oven). Remove cookies from oven, and allow them to sit and cool until firm enough to move.



11. After they're cool, it's time to decorate! I used the same icing as the sugar cookies. They turned out fabulous, if I do say so myself!




And then, you package them in whatever way seems best and prettiest!



And I think that's all of it!
I hope you enjoy the recipes, that you make them your own, and make many memories with your own families!

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