christmas cookie recipe

Spritz Cookies

Spritz Cookies

Some cookies are really about the memories for me. I remember making pressed cookies when I was a kid. I loved using the machine to press out dough in all sorts of magical shapes. My mother was so kind- she let me make whatever I wanted. We had one Christmas with a whole plateful of camels. The machine we had required turning a handle- watching carefully, and turning the handle backwards to stop the flow of the dough. There are much easier versions of cookie presses today. Mine has a ratchet which pushes out the right amount of dough with one click. I decided to make some little green trees and red flowers this year. These cookies are light and very crisp. Great for having with coffee. They are also fast to make, once you get used to the cookie press. The fun thing about using a cookie press is that you can crank out a high volume of pretty cookies in no time flat. They taste good, too. I used vanilla extract in the little trees. In the flowers, I added some sweet cherry flavor, which paired well with the vanilla.

 

Spritz Cookies

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 T. vanilla*
½ t. salt
2½ c. flour
In mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in vanilla and salt. Tint dough, is desired. Add flour and stir until smooth. Using a cookie press with desired shape press cookies on to ungreased baking sheet. Leave about 1-inch between cookies. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 10 minutes- cookies should be a light golden color around the edges. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

 * You can play around with other flavors. I often add mintextract or a fruit flavor to these cookies.

Date Pinwheel Cookies

Date Pinwheel Cookies

I love the  sweetness of dates, and really enjoy using that natural sweetness in baking. I always seem to make several dishes with dates around the holidays.  These date filled cookies are one of my favorites. Moist and cake-like, with the wonderful flavor of the dates, nuts and citrus zest, these cookies taste even better than they look. The cookie dough, made with brown sugar, has an almost caramel-like flavor. The combination is a winner for sure.

 

Date Pinwheel Cookies

Date Filling

12 oz. pitted dates, chopped
1/3 c. brown sugar
¼ c. water
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
½ c. finely chopped nuts
Combine dates with all ingredients (except the nuts) in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in nuts.  Cool.

Dough
½ c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1¾ c. flour
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
In bowl combine butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients and stir into butter mixture. Divide dough in half. Roll or pat one half of the dough into a rectangle about 7×11- inches in size. Spread with half of the cooled date filling. Starting at long end, roll dough up . Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Wrap rolls in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill in fridge several hours. This dough/roll is pretty soft. I sometimes put the rolls in the freezer for an hour or two before baking to make them easier to slice.
To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the rolls into ¼ -inch slices and place an inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake about 12 minutes- or until cookies are a light golden color. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 5 dozen.

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

I never met a shortbread cookie I didn’t like. These are no exception.  With the addition of cocoa, you end up with a cookie that has the traditional delicate texture of shortbread, with the added bonus of a rich chocolate flavor. They are great just plain, dusted with powdered sugar or, my favorite way, brushed with a little melted bittersweet chocolate. Simple, tasty and a nice treat for the chocolate lovers you love.

Chocolate Shortbread

1 c. butter, room temperature

3/4 c. sugar

2 c. flour

1/3 c. cocoa

1/4 t. salt

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

Beat together butter and sugar until well blended. Mix together dry ingredients and slowly beat into butter mixture, stirring it in at the end. Roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut out with cookie cutters. Re-roll scraps and cut out the remaining dough. Place on an un-greased baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees until cookies are firm around the edges, about 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.  Melt chocolate and dip cookies in it or use chocolate to hold 2 cookies together. Makes 2-3 dozen, depending on the size.

Chocolate Butter Cookie

Chocolate Butter Cookies

Chocolate Butter Cookies

These delicate little cookies are crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. They have a nice chocolate flavor and are not overly sweet. As an added bonus, they are also easy to make.  This recipe was an experiment. I was so happy with how the cookies turned out, I wanted to share the recipe with you. I rolled the cookies in demerara sugar when they were raw and then baked them. Demerara is a less refined sugar and looks like coarse brown sugar. It gave the cookies a nice sparkly appearance. You can roll the dough in granulated sugar, if you like. You could also bake them plain and decorate with a drizzle of chocolate when cooled.

 

 

Chocolate Butter Cookies

1 c. sugar
1½ c. butter, room temp.
1 egg
2 t. vanilla
3 c. flour
¾ c. cocoa

Combine all ingredients, except flour and cocoa, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cocoa and blend well. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Place 1-inch apart on ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 7-9 minutes or until set. Cool. Makes about 5 dozen.

Decorate with drizzles of melted chocolate or frosting, powdered sugar, sprinkles (apply before baking) or whatever you have on hand. You can also bake the cookies in rounds with an indent in the middle and add a cherry later. I rolled the raw cookies in demerara sugar. It’s a less refined sugar at looks little coarse brown sugar. Gave the cookies a pretty sparkle.

Soft Butter Cookies

Soft Butter Cookies

Soft Butter Cookies

If you are looking for a truly tender cookie, this is it. These cookies are so delicate, they just melt in your mouth!! The secret ingredient might surprise you. It is oil. Yes, I know I said butter cookies – they also contain butter. But the combination of oil and butter makes them soft and delicate, even days after baking. They also contain both granulated and powdered sugar. Not your typical cookie recipe, for sure.   This just may be my “go to” butter cookie recipe from now on.

I found a sheet of paper with the ingredients written on it. No directions, just ingredients listed and a notation about cooking time and oven temperature. I wish I knew where I got the recipe. I would certainly give the source credit. I did increase the amount of vanilla a little. You don’t have to chill the dough and they roll very easily, without sticking to your fingers. You could chill the dough, but let it warm up a little before rolling. The dough can also be made ahead and frozen- I tested it.

I dipped the tops of the raw cookies in sprinkles, but you could leave them plain and then roll in powder sugar, once baked and cooled, or drizzle with melted chocolate.

 

Soft Butter Cookies

1 c. butter

1 c. oil

1 c. sugar

1 c. powdered sugar

2 eggs

1 T. vanilla

1 t. baking soda

1 t. cream of tartar

½ t. salt

4 ½ c. flour

 

In mixing bowl, beat together butter, oil, sugars and vanilla. Once well blended, beat in eggs. Stir in the baking soda, cream of tartar and salt, then add the flour, mixing until well combined. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into one inch balls and press tops of cookies in sprinkles or colored sugar, if desired. Place one inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes, or until light golden on bottom. Leave cookies on baking sheets 3 minutes before placing on cooling rack. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Date Pinwheel Cookies

Date Pinwheel Cookies

Date Pinwheel Cookies

I love the  sweetness of dates and really enjoy using that natural sweetness in baking. I always seem to make at least one dish with dates around the holidays.  This year I decided to make date filled cookies. Moist and cake-like with the wonderful flavor of the dates, nut and citrus zest these cookies taste even better than they look. The cookie dough, made with brown sugar has an almost caramel like flavor. The combination is a winner for sure.

 

Date Pinwheel Cookies

Date Filling

12 oz. pitted dates, chopped
1/3 c. brown sugar
¼ c. water
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
½ c. finely chopped nuts
Combine dates with all ingredients (except the nuts) in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in nuts.  Cool.

Dough
½ c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1¾ c. flour
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
In bowl combine butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients and stir into butter mixture. Divide dough in half. Roll or pat one half of the dough into a rectangle about 7×11- inches in size. Spread with half of the cooled date filling. Starting at long end, roll dough up . Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Wrap rolls in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill in fridge several hours. This dough/roll is pretty soft. I sometimes put the rolls in the freezer for an hour or two before baking to make them easier to slice.
To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the rolls into ¼ -inch slices and place an inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake about 12 minutes- or until cookies are a light golden color. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 5 dozen.

Cinnamon Nut Shortbread Cookies

Cinnamon Nut Shortbread Cookies

Cinnamon Nut Shortbread Cookies

These cookies are a lovely little shortbread cookie topped with cinnamon laced nuts. They are really tasty and because they are a bar cookie they are also a great time saver. You just make a batch of dough and press it into a small jelly roll pan. Top with egg white and a cinnamon nut mixture and bake. As soon as they come out of the oven cut them into little strips. I got nearly 100 out of one batch. It depends on the size you cut them. If you are looking for a simple, yet wonderful cookie, you might want to try these.

 

  Cinnamon Nut Shortbread Cookies

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg, separated
2 c. flour
1 T. water
½ c. finely chopped nuts                                                                                                                        2 t. cinnamon
Lightly grease jellyroll pan (10×15). Mix butter, sugar and egg yolk then stir in flour. Pat into pan. Beat egg white with water until frothy and spread over dough. Combine nuts and cinnamon. Sprinkle on nut mixture and bake in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut immediately into tiny strips, makes 50- 100 .

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

These cookies have a great lemon flavor and delicate texture. They are also easy to make. These are a slice and bake cookie. That means you make the dough, form into a roll, and chill. Now you can just slice and bake when you have the time. I sometimes make a batch and freeze them- so I can make fresh cookies whenever I like.

Lemon Meltaways

Dough:
1 ¼ c. flour
¾ c. butter, softened
½ c. cornstarch
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon peel
Frosting:
¾ c. powdered sugar
¼ c. butter, softened
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon peel

In large bowl combine all dough ingredients and mix well. Divide dough in half and roll each half into an 8- inch roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, 1-2 hours. Slice chilled dough into ¼ inch slices and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes, or until cookies are set, but not brown. Cool completely on a rack. Combine frosting ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Frost cooled cookies. Makes 4 dozen.

 

Vanilla Spritz Cookies

Vanilla Spritz Cookies

Vanilla Spritz Cookies

I remember making pressed cookies when I was a kid. I loved using the machine to press out dough in all sorts of magical shapes. My mother was so kind- she let me make whatever I wanted. We had one Christmas with a whole plateful of camels. The machine we had required turning a handle- watching carefully, and turning the handle backwards to stop the flow of the dough. There are much easier versions of cookie presses today. Mine has a ratchet which pushes out the right amount of dough with one click. I decided to make some little green trees and red flowers this year. These cookies are light and very crisp. Great for having with coffee. They are also fast to make, once you get used to the cookie press. The fun thing about using a cookie press is that you can crank out a high volume of pretty cookies in no time flat. They taste good, too.

 

Vanilla Spritz Cookies

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 T. vanilla
½ t. salt
2½ c. flour
In mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in vanilla and salt. Tint dough, is desired. Add flour and stir until smooth. Using a cookie press with desired shape press cookies on to ungreased baking sheet. Leave about 1-inch between cookies. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 10 minutes- cookies should be a light golden color around the edges. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

Russian Teacakes

Russian Teacakes

Russian Teacakes

I had a conversation with a childhood friend recently about these cookies. She remembered that my Mom used to make them and she wondered if I still did. I still do make them. Wouldn’t seem like Christmas without them. Russian Teacakes, also known as Mexican Wedding Cakes are a delicate nut filled shortbread cookie coated in powdered sugar. The magic is created when the cookies, hot from the oven, are rolled in powdered sugar. Once cooled they are dusted with more powdered sugar. Whether you call them Russian Teacakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, or as another friend always refers to them, butter balls, these cookies are a must for your holiday cookie baking.

 

 

Russian Teacakes

1 c. butter
½ c. powdered sugar, plus extra for coating
1 t. vanilla
2 ¼ c. flour
¼ t. salt
¾ c. finely chopped nuts, nearly ground

Mix butter, ½ cup sugar and vanilla well. Stir flour and salt together and then add to butter mixture. Mix well and stir in nuts. Wrap dough and chill. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cookies should be lightly browned on the bottom. While still warm, roll cookies in powdered sugar. Dust again with sugar once cooled. Makes about 4 dozen.

New Release: