Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Cookie Plate

Christmas cookies bring back memories of my childhood more than any other holiday food does.  Every year after school got out for the holidays, we'd make a list of the cookies we were going to make for our Christmas cookie plate.  One sister always made peanut blossoms, another always made molasses crinkles.  The rest of us chose among the other perennial favorites:  snickerdoodles, russian tea cakes, sugar cookies, chocolate crackles, and chocolate chip (of course).  Sometimes, someone would feel especially spunky and try a new treat, like mini pretzels with hershey kisses and m&m's melted on top, or chex muddy buddies!

Here are some of our favorites, old and new:

Full of brown sugar and vanilla, these are the best.

Any kind of shortbread is good, but the flavors of dark chocolate and orange make this especially bright and festive.

We've been eating these for as long as I can remember.  They are probably the #1 favorite cookie in my family.

With a consistency between cookies and breakfast pastries, these citrus-spiked lovelies are addicting!

A favorite for all ages

A sweet, nutty treat that is so easy even the littlest cookie bakers can help

These might tie with the peanut blossoms for my family's top Christmas cookie.  With their soft, chewy texture and warm, spicy flavor, they capture the holiday season in every bite.

Another version of shortbread, this time filled with tart cherry preserves that bake to a candy-like consistency

Candy Cane Cookies
This is a new favorite--as in, I just had them for the first time two weeks ago!  They are so delicious.  Buttery, minty, sugary.  A big thank you to Kristan for bringing them to our church Christmas party, where I think I downed a full dozen in about 2 minutes, and for sharing the recipe with me.

for the cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus more for rolling hot cookies
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Beat butter until creamy.  Add powdered sugar, peppermint extract, and salt, and mix well.  Gradually add flour and mix just until dough comes together.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Pinch off a small amount of dough and roll into a 1" ball, then roll out into a long, skinny cylinder.  Bend one end over to make a candy cane shape.  You can also just roll out the dough to 1/4" thick and use small cookie cutters.  Bake on parchment-lined sheets for 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately roll in more powdered sugar.  Place on a rack to cool.

for the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 regular sized candy canes, crushed

In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk, and extract, and whisk until smooth.  Drizzle over warm cookies, then sprinkle with crushed candy canes.


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3 comments:

  1. Ok, for real . . . when on earth do you find time to bake all of those? And within the same few days?!! They all look delicious!

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  2. You are funny Teresa. No, I didn't bake those all in the same week. Just the candy cane cookies. The rest are from previous years! I've been too busy making that cheeseball over and over again to make cookies!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonderful selection.

    Going to have to try those candy cane cookies, they sound way easier to make than they look!

    (as in they look really professional and difficult but the method sounds nice and easy!!!)

    ReplyDelete

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