Christmas cookie recipes

Polish Butter Cookies

Polish Butter Cookies

Don’t let their simple appearance fool you. The flavor and texture of these cookies is really special. They have a secret ingredient that you probably haven’t used in cookies before. The ingredient is eggs.

 

I know, you use eggs in cookies all the time. But you probably haven’t used COOKED eggs in cookies. More specifically, hard cooked egg yolks. Cooked yolks are pressed through a fine sieve and added to the dough. The end result is a cookie with an amazing delicate texture and rich flavor. If you don’t want to have a bunch of cooked egg whites to use up, you can do what I do. I separate the whites and yolks of raw eggs. I always have recipes that call for egg whites, so they don’t go to waste. Then I simmer water in a small saucepan. I gently add the egg yolks, and poach them until they are cooked through. Drain well, pat dry and cool before using them in the cookie dough.

 

Polish Butter Cookies

 

Dough:

1 c. butter

3/4 c. sugar

5 hard-cooked egg yolks, pressed through a fine sieve

1 t. vanilla

2 1/4 c. flour

1 t. salt

Glaze:

1 egg white

1 t. water

1/3 c. sugar

1/2-1 t. cinnamon

 

Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Wrap dough and chill for at least an hour. Roll out 1/4 of the dough at a time into scant 1/4 -inch thickness. Use extra flour sparingly and use a marble rolling pin or one with a cloth sleeve.  I also keep extra dough chilled until ready to roll. Cut out with cookie cutters and place on greased baking sheet. Mix egg white with water and brush on cookies. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on cookies. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 10-12 minutes. Cookies will be golden. Makes around 5 dozen, depending on the size of the cutters.

 

Old Fashioned 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. One Christmas, we had 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 mint extract or a fruit flavor to these cookies.

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