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Jaymes

Christmas Cookies Redux

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This past weekend I made two batches of Kim Shook's Dream cookie. I used mini-chocolate chips in one batch (made for my niece who loved them the last time I baked them) and used M&M green and red mini candies (candies made for baking) in the other batch which was left with my mom. Both batches turned out quite well, of course. It's a delicious butter cookie and seems to stay crisp for quite some time...great with coffee, too!

 

I also made a batch of the Creamsicle cookies that Andiesenji turned me on to. I used 1/3 bread flour (as she had recommended to me in a PM) and AP for the rest of the flour to make it a less crumbly cookie. It worked like a charm. The cookies didn't crumble at all when I moved them into a cookie container for storage.

It's my mom's new favorite Christmas cookie. She loves their orange fragrance as they bake.

 

My niece and I also baked a large batch of cut-out sugar cookies (using Christmas-themed cookie cutters), then iced and decorated them while listening to Xmas music...our yearly tradition. 

 

Non-cookies:

I also made two ridiculously easy Sandra Lee-ish recipes, one for a fake fudge (I call it "Fudge-ish" :laugh: ) and the other for a white chocolate bark with crushed Oreos and crushed candy canes. They would be ideal recipes for kids to help make.

Not to mention I also made double batches of original recipe Chex Mix and double batches of some oyster crackers with dill (yes, very Sandra Lee-ish but still very popular). 

 

And now I am officially pooped.  :blink:

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<snip delicious details>

 

My niece and I also baked a large batch of cut-out sugar cookies (using Christmas-themed cookie cutters), then iced and decorated them while listening to Xmas music...our yearly tradition. 

 

<snip more details of energy spent>

 

And now I am officially pooped.  :blink:

 

Ah, but what a great way to get officially pooped!  It sounds like a lot of fun.

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The cookie bug is really starting to bite, and this afternoon I was looking through the "Cookies and Crackers" book from the Time Life series. They have a recipe for "Fruited Cornmeal Cookies" (Zaletti), that I'm dying to try. I've tried a few zaletti recipes that I thought were okay, but nothing to write home about. But this recipe looks very different, mostly because it calls for baker's ammonia, one of my favorite things. There is nothing that gives cookies the crunch of baker's ammonia, I just love it. I also love anything with cornmeal. So this is a match made in heaven. I think I'll do a test run this weekend.

 

A while ago I found a great blog, https://londoneats.wordpress.com/tag/bakers-ammonia/ - it seems he starts posting cookie recipes shortly before Christmas every year. Hopefully he's getting ready for this year. And he loves baker's ammonia, so there are quite a few recipes including this ingredient.

 

I've never tried subbing baker's ammonia in cookies that call for baking powder or soda. Has anyone ever done that?

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I am the world's worst (or second worst at best) cookie maker, but I just might gear up to making some.  My all time favorites are shortbread cookies of all kinds, including Fanny Farmer's Viennese Crescents made with pecans and then chocolate drizzled or dipped.  And my friend, Tobe, who refuses to make cookies any more gave me her Mother's famous and delicious shortbread cookies which I might go for again.

 

And why?  A new-to-me stove whose oven does not go wonky and burn stuff... :wub: :wub:  Hooray!

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I've never tried subbing baker's ammonia in cookies that call for baking powder or soda. Has anyone ever done that?

I've only ever used it in recipes that specifically call for it.

 

I just did a quick search for baker's ammonia recipes on King Arthur Flour's website and found a cheese cracker recipe where the leavening is 1/2 teaspoon baking powder or 1/4 teaspoon baker's ammonia. There's another recipe for chocolate cookies that uses "1/2 teaspoon baker's ammonia, for best texture; or 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder". I could see where it would be really nice in the cheese crackers and other stuff that's meant to be crisp, because the reaction that gives baker's ammonia its leavening power does not give off any water (unlike baking soda or baking powder).

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Thanks Melissa. That cheese cracker recipe is interesting, it contains both baker's ammonia and yeast. I wonder if I can make them using finely grated cheese rather than the cheese powder it calls for. (What is cheese powder anyway?) Those chocolate cookies I guess are the "flip side" of KAF's Vanilla Dreams, one of my favorite cookies. Great crunch, because of the baker's ammonia. Chocolate flavored vanilla dreams, what could be bad?

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I've only ever used it in recipes that specifically call for it.

 

I just did a quick search for baker's ammonia recipes on King Arthur Flour's website and found a cheese cracker recipe where the leavening is 1/2 teaspoon baking powder or 1/4 teaspoon baker's ammonia. There's another recipe for chocolate cookies that uses "1/2 teaspoon baker's ammonia, for best texture; or 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder". uld see where it wouI cold be really nice in the cheese crackers and other stuff that's meant to be crisp, because the reaction that gives baker's ammonia its leavening power does not give off any water (unlike baking soda or baking powder).

 

 

Melissa did you catch this article on Serious Eats about baking soda - I enjoyed it with the different experiments & pics  http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/12/cookie-science-how-baking-soda-works.html


Edited by heidih (log)
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Having just recently found my mother's gingerbread recipe, I think I'll make gingerbread men. Women. People. Whatever. Maybe dogs and cats, if I can find the cutters.

 

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I've been thinking about Christmas cookies. And I bought a new cookie cutter a few days ago. Haven't gone beyond that stage yet. 

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On 2015-12-05 at 11:35 AM, Darienne said:

I am the world's worst (or second worst at best) cookie maker, but I just might gear up to making some.  My all time favorites are shortbread cookies of all kinds, including Fanny Farmer's Viennese Crescents made with pecans and then chocolate drizzled or dipped.  And my friend, Tobe, who refuses to make cookies any more gave me her Mother's famous and delicious shortbread cookies which I might go for again.

 

And why?  A new-to-me stove whose oven does not go wonky and burn stuff... :wub::wub: Hooray!

Good heavens, I can just rerun last year's post...:P

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Irvin Lin's Glazed Orange Cookies, or as he calls them, Best Christmas Cookies Ever.

 

They were ok, I didn't think they were the "best". They were a lot of work. If I ever make them again, it'll only be for Christmas.

 

It tasted like a doughnut and a biscotti had a lovechild. 9_9

 

My cookie swap got canceled, so this might be it for me this year. I really dislike making cookies. I'd much rather be making cakes and pies.

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I spotted an "Ugly Christmas Sweater" Cookie kit on Amazon and realized that the shape of the sweaters look a lot like an old Bell-shaped cutter that we use when making our yearly Xmas Sugar cookies.. I've already emailed my niece that we're going to try to make ugly sweaters next year. We've finally started using icing tip couplers though we didn't swap tips this year. File that under "DOH!" :o xD 

I did order some extra thick disposable pastry bags this year (that worked out great) because the disposable bags we used last year split on the seams when we were trying to decorate our cookies. >:( Lesson learned!

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1 hour ago, Toliver said:

I spotted an "Ugly Christmas Sweater" Cookie kit on Amazon and realized that the shape of the sweaters look a lot like an old Bell-shaped cutter that we use when making our yearly Xmas Sugar cookies.. I've already emailed my niece that we're going to try to make ugly sweaters next year. We've finally started using icing tip couplers though we didn't swap tips this year. File that under "DOH!" :o xD 

I did order some extra thick disposable pastry bags this year (that worked out great) because the disposable bags we used last year split on the seams when we were trying to decorate our cookies. >:( Lesson learned!

 

Trader Joe's also has a Ugly Christmas Sweater cookie kit.  Ten already baked cookies (2 each of 5 shapes) for $5.99, plus 3 colors of icing.  Not exactly a deal, but could be a quick fun activity for kids.

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I have some Maltese ring-shaped cookies/pastries made up and in the freezer. I found 'em while researching an assignment, and thought they looked interesting. The dough is...meh...basically just a wrapper for the filling. The middle is cooked semolina, well spiced and with lots of citrus. They're a bit larger than I'd expected (definitely big enough to share) but excellent with my tea. 

 

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This is year #3 working on my gingerbread house project and I think it's just about finished, although I have a few more ideas for adding some candies next year. 

 

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Cool...I hadn't really thought of it as the kind of project that could be carried on from year to year. What do you do by way of storage between Decembers?

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That's a good question.  I loosely wrap around the gingerbread house with some of the "snow" around the bottom.  My assumption is to let it have some air flow around it.  Then I put it in a big plastic bin with a loose fitting lid and store it in a back close so it doesn't get bumped.  I thought that the candy would get somewhat soggy and soft but it has survived now for three seasons so I think it's a fairly decent way of storing it. 

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Checkerboard cookies. I made these once before, but using a different recipe. Both were good, but not great. It often seems that the better a cookie looks, the worse it tastes, as if only one thing can be concentrated on at a time. Why is that? Anyway, these are good and will go well in any gift box, but I do wish the chocolate was more pronounced. (I have four more sticks of these in the freezer!)

checkerboards.jpg

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This year's payload, clockwise from high noon: checkerboard cookies, lemon cream sandwich, tahini cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies with gianduia, ginger sandwich with dark chocolate filling, linzer cookies. Oatmeal cookie in the center. No spritz cookies, alas. To the post office I go.

Christmas Cookies 2016.jpg

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Actually, I'm interested in something.

I remember as a very young child my mom using a cookie gun to make cookies but by about 10 not so much.  We made fruitcakes until I was in my early teens but no cookies really(maybe because we were really pie and not cookie people?).  My grandfather used to say it took a certain attitude to make cookies and your mom has it.....

I have worked in restaurants and bakeries but I have always done savory and/or breads ... never cookies until we had to do them for home ec and later for work when we would freeze and bake off as needed.

My oldest friend(in time not in age) starts to make at least  to  cookies every year  beginning in October that she freezes .  I have helped with gingerbread and sugar cookies.... not the linzer cookies and I have been on the other end of her mom saying about the crispadelle (Italian fried dough in a bow shape that is then molded with honey and powdered sugar)  "SOKO...it isn't thin enough"

 

WHAT is the connection to cookies for Christmas?

 

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I dunno but I remember as a very small child living in Holland that we would decorate our Christmas tree with cookies.  I don't remember much about it, but they were always round.  

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1 hour ago, suzilightning said:

WHAT is the connection to cookies for Christmas?

 

I thought that was an excellent question, so I went a-Googling. I found this link particularly interesting, and Wikipedia has a little info about the subject and more info about and photos of traditional Christmas cookies.

 

ETA:

I made decorated cut out sugar cookies to hang on the Christmas tree a couple of years. My thrifty gene wanted to eat the cookies too, after they had served their decorating duty. Rather than the hole in the cookie for a hanger, I made them as usual and wrapped each one in plastic wrap. Then I threaded a ribbon trough the plastic wrap for hanging on the tree. I got tired of having to closely supervise dogs during the holidays along with everything else, so I quit after those first couple of years, but it sure made for a pretty tree, and gave me the feeling of an old-fashioned country Christmas. I also strung popcorn for ropes of "tinsel" and hung Candy Canes on these trees. All the decorations were edible, but the popcorn got stale. The birds enjoyed it after Christmas, though.


Edited by Thanks for the Crepes (log)
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Well I've jumped the gun a bit. Usually wait until the day after Thanksgiving to get in baking mode. However, since the gifting seems to get all bunched up around Christmas week, I'm calling it Holiday Baking and have started.

 

I've narrowed my offerings down to 4: spiced pumpkin bread, spiced chocolate chip cookies (classic Tollhouse recipe + warm spices),  Linzer rspberry bars, and baklava. I've been using calamansi as the citrus in the baklava for the last couple years and my source reports that her two trees are positively exploding with juciy fruit. I might have to include a jar of calamansi marmalade in her gift basket.

 

Yesterday I made the bread and cookies. I will pick the calamansi next week and do the remaining baking the following week; planning to give to my friends around the 15th.

 

I am baking in stepmother's kitchen - baking powder "best by" date is February 2012 and soda looked tired but I tested them and they were lively.

 

Everything pretty "brown" so far but hiuse smelled wonderful. It was undr 70F so that made it a bit more seasonal. Will post the baklava glmour shot and the fuit tree.

 

 


Edited by heidih (log)
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