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Elizabeth_11

Christmas Cookies

567 posts in this topic

[Moderator note: This topic is rapidly approaching a size that our servers won't handle it efficiently, so we've locked it. There's a fresh discussion of holiday cookies, here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/146110-christmas-cookies-redux/]

biggrin.gif Happy Holidays everyone! Since I love baking Christmas cookies every year for friends and family, I was just wondering which cookies are a tradition/favorite in your homes. I always do the traditional sour cream cutouts, fudge with candied cherries or walnuts, spritz, chocolate-mint brownies...pretty standard stuff. If anyone would care to share their favorite recipes, I'd love to see what everyone has to offer and possibly try some new ones this year!


Edited by heidih (log)

-Elizabeth

Mmmmmmm chocolate.

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Other than a fairly traditional "cut out" cookie (a very rich one with lots of butter, which also has nutmeg, and is a real pain to roll out), the stuff I make for Christmas is pretty "untraditional" because everyone seems to serve the same stuff.

I make a great coconut cookie (different because it uses fresh grated coconut, not that sweetened grated stuff in plastic bags), an oatmeal raisin cookie (recipe from my great grandmother; you run the oats and raising through a food mill or food processor), an almost brownie-like chocolate cookie that you roll in powdered sugar, a couple of "coin" cookie recipes from Barbara Tropp's second cookbook, and another one from my great grandmother that uses cut-up candy "orange slices." I tend to bake the "traditional" spritz, etc. at other times of the year. I think this year I'll add the Cooks Illustrated thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies (I make them much smaller than recipe suggests) to the list.

I tend to make dough, bake not too many, and freeze dough to bake in a few days so the cookies are fresh.

If you want any of these recipes, please let me know.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Bizcochitos! Love them with their light lemon/aniseed flavour and sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. I usually cut them into star shapes for Christmas.

I also make chocolate hazelnut biscotti, which are great for all those cups of hot tea and coffee which abound in this hemisphere at Christmas.

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I make the cookies my mother has always made...shortbread petticoat tail style, lemon bars, rum balls etc. When I married I scored a couple of great recipes from my husband's grandmother. They have entered the canon. I especially love these:

Nonna’s Nutty Crisps

Oven: 350

1 c. butter

6 T. sugar

2 t. hot water

2 t. vanilla

2 c. flour

½ c. chopped walnuts or pecans

Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Cream butter and sugar

Mix in remaining ingredients.

Drop from a teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets

Bake for approx. 15 minutes until very lightly golden

Let cool 5 minutes, then dredge, very heavily, with powdered sugar.

Nonna made these until her 100th year. The last two Christmases she wimped out. BTW, I got this recipe only by observation. She had nothing written down.

Drifts if powdered sugar, please!


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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What's Christmas without chruschiki (sp?)? Angel wings!

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or SFOGLIATELLE. Or as it is pronounced on The Sopranos, svoo-ya-dell.

Got a recipe for these?

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I love to make Christmas cookies, too. I usually make dark/white chocolate checkerboards, chocolate-mint sandwich cookies, some type of powdered-sugar dusted nut cookie (this year I think I will try maggiethecat's recipe--Thanks!), sables, french-style macaroons (still searching for the perfect recipe), and maybe meringues. I love the recipes where you roll the dough into a log and freeze it, then slice of the cookies. You can make a ton that way with little effort.

Plus I try new things each year depending on what looks good. I am a big sucker for the magazine recipes because they always look so great! The pix are very motivating.

This year we have been experimenting with candy. There is a great recipe on epicurious for pistachio brittle that started it all off. So far we have tried tangerine jellies, candied tangerine peel, hard mints, dark chocolate fudge, and caramels. Candy is very different than anything I have ever cooked before. Kind of like baking, but so far it all seems to depend on precise boiling of sugar syrups! If anyone has a good recipe for English toffee, PLEASE share it!

I have also gotten a load of beautiful pastry books, thanks to lots of advice from the e-Gullet community, so maybe my holiday baking will be a bit more influenced by classic French baking... :smile:


Edited by mixmaster b (log)

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Just remebered one I have been searching for a recipe on--Pignoli cookies!

I made a batch not too long ago from a recipe that was very similar to macaroons, but the texture was not right. I love the ones that they have at Ferrara's in Little Italy. I haven't had them in years. :sad:

Does anyone have a good recipe?

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mixmaster - This month's GOURMET is their cookie issue... well I was somewhat unimpressed, but they do have a recipe for Pignoli cookies. If its not on the website I'd be glad to type it up.


"Things go better with cake." -Marcel Desaulniers

timoblog!

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In the past I have made Rosemary and Olive Oil cookies. Definitely for adults only and not for everyone. Very disconcerting contrast from what the eye sees to what the mouth expects to what they really taste like... Served with after dinner drinks, they work very well.


Kitchen Kutie

"I've had jutht about enough outta you!"--Daffy Duck

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It's great to read all these replies! Maggie--yours sound really good, I just might have to give those a whirl. I must admit I've never heard of or tried sfogliatelle or pignolis, and not even hermits! I'm actually looking for a tasty molasses-y spice drop cookie--if anyone has one, I'd really appreciate it! Mixmaster, I came up with this recipe for English toffee, it's not the one I've used (it's been a while and I have no idea where I got my recipe from) but this one is provided by a pastry chef so I'm assuming it's pretty good. It also got several rave reviews on the site I found it on. I've seen several recipes and they're all similar--some with corn syrup, some without. I'm assuming the syrup prohibits crystallization??? Anyways here it is:

English Toffee

Printable version of this recipe

Rating:

100% would make this again

1 cup unsalted butter

1 1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup, light

3 tablespoons water

1 lb bittersweet chocolate

1 lb pecans -- ground (optional)

Melt butter and sugar, add corn syrup and water. Boil over high heat till candy thermometer reads 300 F. Pour on to greased cookie sheet. Break in to pieces and dip in melted chocolate. Cover with ground pecans.

Fannie Farmer cookbook simply calls for cooking 1 lb butter with 2 cups sugar to 290, then pouring on a greased pan. Come to think of it, I believe that's the one I used and it was REALLY buttery and tasty. Hope that helps!


-Elizabeth

Mmmmmmm chocolate.

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I make cookies that vary each year. However, there are two that are mainstays. One is Cuccidat which is a traditional Sicilian fig cookie (almost a cake) that takes a couple of days effort but the recipe makes alot of them. I make them with my 93 year old great aunt whose mother brought the recipe from Sicily. I also make molded cookies called springerle.

I'm looking for some more unusual or pretty cookies to make in addition to these.

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One of the best cookbooks I've found for Xmas cookies is Rose's Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I think it is out of print, but probably can be found through hard-to-find books on the net. Three of her best are mini-cheescakes, Rugelah, and Buttercrunch Toffee.

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One of the best cookbooks I've found for Xmas cookies is Rose's Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I think it is out of print, but probably can be found through hard-to-find books on the net. Three of her best are mini-cheescakes, Rugelah, and Buttercrunch Toffee.

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or SFOGLIATELLE. Or as it is pronounced on The Sopranos, svoo-ya-dell.

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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BTW, I guess this counts as my "Hi, I'm new here" post.

Welcome! :smile:

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One of the best cookbooks I've found for Xmas cookies is Rose's Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I think it is out of print, but probably can be found through hard-to-find books on the net.

I just bought this book about a month ago. It's available from amazon.com (follow the e-gullet link) for under $20 plus shipping.

My favourite Christmas sweets to eat are zimsterne, lebkuchen, panforte and torrones. My most requested cookies are fudgy double chocolate cookies with dried cherries and toffee bits and plain sugar cookies. I haven't decided on this year's cookie selection.

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Our Christmas standbys are Fruitcake Cookies, Rum Balls, Pralines, Turtles, Peppermint Bark, Date Loaf Candy, Fudge.

Fruitcake Cookies are what I take to cookie exchanges, so I come home with 10-20 dozen different varieties of cookies.

Fruitcake Cookies

2 1/2 C sifted all-purpose flour

1 t baking soda

1 t salt

1/2 t mace

1 t cinnamon

1 C butter, room temp

1 1/2 C sugar

2 eggs

1 T each rum & brandy

1 C pecans, chopped

8-oz pitted dates, coarsely chopped

8-oz cubed candied pineapple, chopped

8-oz candied cherries, quartered

3 1/2-oz toasted slivered almonds, chopped

Resift flour with dry ingredients and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in flour mixture and combine well. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine well. (You may do the mixing with a beater, but fold in fruits and nuts by hand.)

Drop by tablespoons, 2" apart, onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 400º for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let stand one minute. Place on wire racks to cool.

These are really, really good, and very festive - in keeping with the Christmas nuts & fruits & spices sweet treats traditions.

Turtles

1 can Eagle brand milk

1 C white corn syrup

pecan halves

plain milk chocolate candy bars - Hershey's or other favorite - broken into bite-sized squares

On greased cookie sheets, arrange pecan halves, 3 or 4 each, into pinwheels.

Boil milk and syrup to 'firm ball' stage (248º), stirring constantly. Top each pecan pinwheel with 1 t hot syrup, then immediately with 1 square chocolate candy. When chocolate melts, spread to cover 'Turtle.'

Cool and serve. Makes about 40.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Fannie Farmer cookbook simply calls for cooking 1 lb butter with 2 cups sugar to 290, then pouring on a greased pan.  Come to think of it, I believe that's the one I used and it was REALLY buttery and tasty.  Hope that helps!

Elizabeth_11-

Thanks for the toffee recipes! I will try them this weekend. And thanks for starting this great thread! :smile:

mixmaster - This month's GOURMET is their cookie issue... well I was somewhat unimpressed, but they do have a recipe for Pignoli cookies. If its not on the website I'd be glad to type it up.

Timo-

Thanks! I have the Gourmet at home but I haven't had a chance to look through it yet. Too bad it's not so great this year. I will have a look at the pignoli recipe.

In the past I have made Rosemary and Olive Oil cookies.  Definitely for adults only and not for everyone.  Very disconcerting contrast from what the eye sees to what the mouth expects to what they really taste like...  Served with after dinner drinks, they work very well.

Shermar-

These sound great! Will you post your recipe? Would they be nice before dinner, like a more sophisticated version of Cheese Straws? (BTW, foodandwine.com has an outstanding recipe for cheese straws here. They are perfect to put out before a big dinner, so your guests don't fill up on them.)

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Fruitcake Cookies are what I take to cookie exchanges, so I come home with 10-20 dozen different varieties of cookies.  

Jaymes: Thanks so much for this great sounding recipe....reminiscent on the about-mentioned Hermits, but richer.

You go! Second recipe of your I've printed in the last 24 hours!


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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