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Not your average Christmas Cookie.

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Christmas is coming and friends and I have already been sorting through last year's recipes. Every year I buy the magazines and try out a few new cookies, all in search of a great cookie to add to my "best of" collection. But a lot of recipes out there are just simple spins on classic cookies. I suppose this is fun but if I am going to really do some serious baking, I want something more special than just peanut butter flowers and jam thumbprints.

Any great recipes out these? Unusual ones that surprise people with how delicious they are? Fresh flavor combinations or colorful cookies that stand out on a plate? Cookies that you get requests for? Even simple tried and true ones that perhaps I had a bad recipe for?

This is one of my favorites:

Mazurkas (Poland)

Cookie:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup unsalted butter, soft, but still cool
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Fruit:
4 teaspoons cornstarch
4 teaspoons sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
1/2 cup dried dates, quartered
1/4 cup dried cherries, each halved
1/4 cup dark or golden raisins
3 tablespoons candied orange peel, diced
1/2 cup raw peeled pistachios
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with butter or nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

For the cookie: Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl, with an electric mixer, at medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat well, and then scrape down the sides.

While mixing on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 batches. Scrape down the bowl between each addition, and mix until just blended.

Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake until light golden brown with spots of darker golden brown and darker edges, about 30 minutes. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the fruit: Whisk the cornstarch and sugar together in a small saucepan. Whisk in orange juice until mixture dissolves. Stir in the fruits and candied orange peel. Bring to a simmer over medium, stirring often; continue to cook, stirring until thickened into a compote, about 3 minutes more. You should be able to draw the spoon along the bottom of pan and see the pan with no liquid seeping back. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the nuts and lemon zest.

Spread fruit evenly over the top of the cooled crust.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake mazurkas until golden brown around edges and fruit sets but is still slightly glossy and jewel-like, about 10 minutes. Cool in pan on rack.

Cut, using an oiled knife, into 24 bars. Serve.

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  1. I make a buttered rum sandwich cookie that isn't exactly a Christmas cookie, but I consider it more of a special occasion cookie because it's a bit time consuming to make. They are delicate and have a light rum flavor. I usually double the filling recipe because it's a pain to run out of filling partway through and I like to have a lot of filling in the cookies. I have a set of linzer cookie cutters I use to make them, using using one solid cookie and one cutout cookie for each sandwich.

    http://www.recipegoldmine.com/cookmol...

    5 Replies
    1. re: gmm

      These I will be adding to Christmas cookies this year, thanks for the tip on doubling the icing...I have to drown my linzer tarts in jelly before my husband gives final approval. They seem similar but think I will make both anyway.

      1. re: coll

        I made these and they are officially in the rotation. And you were so right about doubling the filling. They actually taste as much of almonds as rum, someone even asked me if I was mistaken and they were Amaretto cookies.

        1. re: coll

          Glad you liked them. I'm not an alcohol drinker, but I do like rum in baking. I wonder if a gold rum, rather than a light rum, would make for a stronger rum flavor? I had a friend who loved these cookies so much she would give one or two to her husband, and hide the rest for herself.

          1. re: gmm

            I used Jamaican dark rum because that's what I use for everything rum related. I was contemplating Capt Morgan spiced and may experiment next time.

            1. re: gmm

              I'm not a drinker of alcohol either. I used my rum extract one day not long ago in a quick bread where I thought it sounded good. To me the flavor sounded like it should be spot on. Served it for dessert after dinner and our son said "eeeuuu.... Mom did you put alcohol in this ? I just looked at him, he knows I don't drink. It's rum extract! He said next time leave it out, I can't eat this mom, ok I said.

              These cookies sound like warm heaven though.

      2. I usually have 3 or 4 standbys for Christmas cookies, then a few rotating recipes of new things I want to try.

        Italian fudge filled cookies dropped off the rotation a few years ago, but they were one of my favorites. The diamond shape makes them look special and the combination of melted chocolate, chips, and walnuts in the filling is really nice.
        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/fo...

        Mini chocolate chip filled meringues are a non-negotiable -- I would not be forgiven if I dropped these off. (The recipe doesn't call for mini chips, but with a delicate meringue, I think they work better.
        )http://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recip...

        Last year, I made chocolate chip espresso shortbread cookies. I liked them just fine, but my family went nuts for them. They provide a nice alternative to super sweet cookies seen at Christmas. I think they've been all over food blogs, but i used the recipe here:
        http://userealbutter.com/2008/09/25/e...

        1. Those sound absolutely delicious! That is my kind of cookie, and I'll definitely try them this Christmas.

          I usually make these mini mincemeat pies for my cookie tray, even though they are a total pain, because they're delicious:

          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          I also make Mexican wedding cookies, but sometimes add freshly ground cardamom to them so they're a little different.

          The only unusual cookie I make is lemon meltaways because no one expects lemon cookies at Christmas time, but everyone loves them:
          http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/1873...
          Rather than spreading the frosting on top, though, I use a plastic bag and pipe it onto each cookie. It looks prettier and is actually easier and less messy.

          1. My family has been making the 1962 Pillsbury Grand Prize winner "Candy Bar Cookies" for as many years as I can remember. It's a sweet shortbread cookie, topped with a gooey caramel/pecan mixture, topped with chocolate, and finally topped off with a single whole pecan. Very elegant looking. A little time consuming, but well worth it! They only get made at Christmas which is why they have remained so special for all of these years!!!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Phoebe

              This post took me back - my mother made these Candy Bar Cookies for my birthday one year when I was 9 or 10, as a treat for me to take to school. She made just enough for each kid to have one, and stored them in our neighbor's chest freezer for a couple of days before the big day. When my birthday finally arrived, imagine her surprise when she got the cookies to school and was about 10 cookies short! Apparently, our neighbor forgot to inform HER kids that those cookies weren't to be eaten, and her eldest son had been sneaking them for days. LOL. They really are tasty, though, and my classmates loved them even though they each only got a half cookie!

              1. re: biondanonima

                great story! thanks...

                1. re: biondanonima

                  Love your story. Your the first person I've come across that actually knows about these cookies. My Mom made them for years but found them too labor intensive in recent years, so I've taken over to keep the family tradition going on. I'm always asked why I don't "market" them? Simple, it's not my recipe. I still have the original, very browned copy of the recipe that first appeared in the Parade section of the newspaper in Feb. 1962. Will be making them again this year for Christmas.

                2. re: Phoebe

                  I have that cookbook!
                  I collect old cookbooks and I'm working on getting the rest of the Grand Prize series

                  I need the first and the 6th and then I'll stop
                  (maybe)

                3. I have four cookies that I make each year as the base for the cookie and candy boxes I give out. First is an apricot foldover which is an adaptation from an old Ladies' Home Journal recipe. http://eat.at/swap/forum8/46_Apricot_...
                  Then there is Champagnebrød which are pressed butter cookie strips filled with strained apricot jam from the Dec 1975 Gourmet Magazine
                  Third is lemon stars which are an adaptation of Cooks Illustration butter cookies
                  http://eat.at/swap/forum/index.php?ac...
                  The last is a cranberry pistachio biscotti. I don't remember where I got that one.

                  Here is a photo (I hope) of one of my cookie plates.

                   
                  12 Replies
                  1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                    very pretty tray!

                    1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                      Those Champanebrod are amazing - I made them after AGM posted the rec on another board a few years back. I think they are one of the best cookies that I ever ate - and I've eaten a LOT of cookies :-)

                      1. re: gimlis1mum

                        Recipe please!

                        1. re: girlwonder88

                          AGM, hope you don't mind - I found the link to your previous post. Here's the recipe:
                          http://boards.epicurious.com/message....

                          1. re: gimlis1mum

                            Oh no, now I have to buy a cookie press? I have resisted for so many years.....

                            1. re: coll

                              can't tell you how many times I've seen them in charity shops, for a couple of bucks......or I'll just toss you mine, since I can't figure out who to use it :(

                        2. re: gimlis1mum

                          i am so thrilled that you liked them. My hint on making these is to watch the cookies closely so they don't get too brown. I have a cookie sheet with a lip on one side and long frosting spatulas that I use to turn them. The lip helps because you can use them as a stop.

                        3. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                          Are the apricot foldovers the cannoli shaped cookies? When I first looked at your photo, the filling looked like ikura (salmon roe). Now that would certainly be an interesting cookie.

                          1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                            Hi AGM, can the dough for the apricot foldovers be made in advance and frozen?

                            1. re: jencounter

                              Sorry to be late responding as I have been busy baking cookies. Yes, the dough can be frozen. I don't make the dough that far in advance just early in the month then roll and bake them as I need them since they are best fresh. Also I have kept the filling for months so that too can be made in advance.

                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                Well, I made the cookies and I am here to tell you: they will be a permanent part of my Christmas baking from now on out. Delicious! Thanks for sharing.

                                1. re: jencounter

                                  Glad you liked them. I am getting to the point that there are so many in the permanent rotation that I have a hard time finding cookies to add.

                          2. I make these outside of Christmas, but they're one of my favorites and something EVERYONE wants the recipe for - Chocolate Truffle Cookies. They look like your average chocolate cookie, but they just melt in your mouth like a truffle (because they're mostly chocolate!).

                            4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
                            1/3 c. butter
                            12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
                            1 c. sugar
                            3 eggs
                            1.5 t. vanilla
                            1/2 c. flour
                            2 T. cocoa
                            1/4 t. baking powder
                            1/4 t. salt

                            Melt unsweetened chocolate, butter and 1 c. of chocolate chips, cool for 10 minutes. Beat sugar and eggs together, then stir in vanilla and chocolate mixture. Add the dry ingredients, then work in the remaining chocolate chips. Chill dough for at least 3 hours. Roll cold dough into 1 inch balls (coating your hands in cocoa powder or a little oil makes this process less messy, as does keeping the dough very cold). Bake on ungreased baking sheets at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and lightly set. Allow to cool on pan 3-4 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

                            The colder the dough is, the less the cookies will spread, which is what you want - if they don't spread much, they look more like truffles. You can use different types of chips for the mixed in chips - I've used mint flavor, butterscotch and peanut butter chips to good reviews.

                            1. Oh my these answers leave me gasping and grasping.. I want to do them all.
                              I have a cookbook "China Moon" by Barbara Tropp, which includes an all-time favorite of mine. I don't think it's Chinese particularly, but it's simple and very good.

                              Sesame Brown Sugar Shortbread -- paraphrased here

                              1 stick (1/4 pound) cold unsalted butter
                              1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
                              1 cup all purpose flour
                              1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon untoasted blond sesame seeds

                              cut the butter into 8 pieces, cream with sugar until smooth. Add flour, mix well. Make a ball of the dough, roll it out 'til 1/4 inch thick--you want a rectangle about 11 by 9 inches. Then brush a little water over the dough with a pastry brush and sprinkle all the seeds over it. (I press them in a little with the back of a dry tablespoon.) Chill the dough about 1 hour in refrigerator. Cut (sharp knife!) into rectangles 1 inch by 1 1/2 inch, place 1/2 inch apart on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Then bake at 350F, middle rack of oven, for 15 - 17 minutes.

                              1. I really like the Pfeffernusse recipe in the some of the older volumes of "The Joy of Cooking." They are deliciously spicy and nutty, and really different from most cookies. They are not hard and dry like the store-bought ones. I know they changed the recipe in the newer copies -- the one I like is in my volume from the 60s, and is proceeded by a blurb saying most Pfeffernusse recipes use too much flour and yield uninteresting, hard cookies. But these are soft and buttery.

                                Pfeffernusse
                                1/2 C. butter
                                1/2 C. sugar
                                2 beaten eggs
                                1 1/2 T. grated lemon peel
                                1 C. sifted flour
                                1/4 t. each salt & bk. soda
                                1/2 t. each freshly ground pepper, cloves,
                                nutmeg & allspice
                                1 t. cinnamon
                                1/8 t. cardamon
                                2 drops oil of anise
                                1/4 C. ground blanched almonds
                                1/4 C. chopped citron

                                Cream butter; cream in sugar; beat in eggs.
                                Add lemon peel. Sift tog. flour & spices - mix in with almonds & citron.
                                Drop spoonfuls on greased sheet about 2" apart.
                                Bake at 350 for 10-12 min. Makes 3 dozen.

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: visciole

                                  No Italian cookie tray is complete without the following
                                  Sesame Seed cookies
                                  http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/aunt-an...
                                  Pignoli Cookies
                                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                  Pizelle's
                                  http://www.fantes.com/images/fantes-1...

                                  My Friend Richard has a ricotta cookie on www.food.com that tastes just like my grandmom's
                                  go to food.com and look up Ricotta Cookies By Richard-NYC Recipe #78956

                                  1. re: cgarner

                                    just a note: an easy way to coat the aunt anne's cookies is to dip them in milk, then place into a a shallow dish of sesame. Holding the dish by the sides, shake it back and forth and the cookie will roll and coat itself. No messy fingers.

                                    1. re: cgarner

                                      I just finished making Richards' ricotta cookies with glaze. Since I have regular and chocolate confectioners sugar, I did 2 glazes not mixed, separate.Flavor is very food, didn't care for the appearance for Christmas cookies. They're very rustic in appearance so maybe rolling them in your hands first would help, my son ate 6 off the plate, so the flavor, yea.

                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                        they are quite the rustic looking cookie. the only 'pretty' cookies we ever had on the tray were pignoli and pizelles, other than the colorful sprinkles that my grandmom would add on top of the glaze.

                                        I am horribly remiss this year in that I made NO Christmas cookies... time just got away from me this year.

                                    2. re: visciole

                                      ooo, thanks. I've tried several recipes over the years & never been happy with them..will definately try these out this year.

                                      1. re: visciole

                                        Thank you for the Pfeffernusse recipe. I love these cookies, but often find dry, uninteresting versions when I buy them. I've yet to make them well either and I am looking forward to trying out your recipe.

                                        1. re: rabaja

                                          I hope you and the previous poster like them! But I can't take credit for the recipe -- it's Irma's and Marion's. These ones taste totally unlike any store-bought version I've ever had -- and much for the better.

                                        2. re: visciole

                                          Pfeffernüsse are my favorite! I skip the Anise Oil and Double the Black Pepper, use candied chopped Lemon Peel and Orange Peel and roll in Powdered Sugar after they cool.

                                          1. re: chefj

                                            In fact I, too, skip the oil of anise -- instead I macerate a bit of dry anise seed in a few drops of water and use that. This is simply because I have dry anise seed in my spice cupboard, but not the oil, and it has always seemed to work just fine.

                                          2. re: visciole

                                            this recipe looks nice. I'm looking around the internet and some recipes contain molasses and was wondering if that was authentic.

                                            1. re: javaandjazz

                                              Not typically, though you can find German Recipes that do have Molasses.

                                          3. Madeleines, the ultimate in butter cookie bliss!
                                            Traditionally made in scallop-shaped specialty molds, of course. But they come out just fine in dollops on a cookie sheet.

                                            Also, Cognac Cookies, the no-bake ones made with crushed vanilla wafers.

                                            And Cocoa Snowflake Cookies from the recipe at Penzey's.

                                            1. Hi there,

                                              I have a cookie recipe that I have had for about 10 years. I don't know where it came from, but it is a "must have" for my Christmas cookie platter. I call it Coconut/Cranberry Roll Cookies and they are the most requested Christmas cookie I make. Enjoy!
                                              1 1/2 C butter
                                              2 C sugar
                                              1T grated orange peel
                                              2t vanilla
                                              3 1/4 Cflour
                                              1 t baking powder
                                              1/4 t salt
                                              1 1/2 C dried cranberries
                                              1 1/2 C sweetened flaked dried coconut

                                              Beat butter, sugar, orange peel and vanilla ntil smooth. In another bowl mix flour, baking poeder and salt. Add to butter mixture and beat on low until dough comes together (about 5 minutes). Mix in cranberries and coconut. Shape the dough into rolls and refrigerate. (I've even frozen it at this point) Slice off rounds about 1/2 " thick and bake at 350 for 8-11 minutes. Watch closely and take out just when the edges begin to brown. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes.

                                              1. My go-to cookies are:
                                                Rugelach - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                                                Chocolate-dipped florentines (lace cookies) - haven't found a recipe I love yet, so I keep trying new ones
                                                Rainbow cookies (seven-layer cookies): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                                Biscotti - Cooks Illustrated recipe, I like the orange-hazelnut variation

                                                Homemade marshmallows are always a big hit too, and easy to make.

                                                1. I hate typing recipes, but the Hounds have been really good to me lately, so I feel like I owe one to the community. Here it is:

                                                  Basler Brunsli

                                                  I've seen them described as chewy, spicy Swiss brownies, but they're so much better than brownies. One of their most amazing attributes is that they contain no butter. So in addition to being some of the most delicious cookies you've ever had, they really round out one's cookie assortment in a nice way. The recipe is paraphrased (and possibly adapted) from Great Cookies by Carole Walters.

                                                  8 oz. good bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
                                                  6 tbsp. dutch process cocoa
                                                  2 tsp. cinnamon
                                                  1/4 tsp. ground cloves
                                                  2 large egg whites
                                                  3/4 C. superfine sugar
                                                  3 Tbsp. kirsch
                                                  3/4 lb. almond flour (about 3 C.)*
                                                  1/4 c. granulated sugar (for rolling)
                                                  sparkling sugar for decorating

                                                  Combine the chocolate, cocoa and spices in the food processor. Grind very fine, about 60 seconds. Set aside.
                                                  Whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the superfine sugar 1 Tbsp. at a time and beat to a stiff meringue. Fold in the kirsch, then the chocolate mixture and almond flour. Pat the dough into two rectangles. Wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
                                                  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
                                                  Roll the dough out in granulated sugar until just under 1/2 inch thick. Cut with small cookie cutters. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar to decorate.
                                                  Place on the baking sheet and allow the cookies to air dry for 1 hour before baking.
                                                  Bake at 250 9-12 minutes until they just set (or until you can just smell them). Rotate the baking sheets halfway through. Do not overbake. Cookies will firm as they cool.
                                                  Allow cookies to cool for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a rack.
                                                  Cookies will keep up to 3 weeks in an airtight container.

                                                  *almond flour comes in toasted and untoasted varieties. i bake Christmas cookies in quantity, so I bought several bags and used 2 parts untoasted to 1 part toasted.

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: CathleenH

                                                    Cathleen, you just made my day - a traditionally gluten free cookie recipe - I won't have to convert! Neato! And I've been looking for another excuse to buy kirsch. I love the Clear Creek Distillery kirsch.

                                                    1. re: CathleenH

                                                      I had a delicious, soft little chocolate bar cookie flavored with cinnamon at a potluck a couple of years ago, but the person who brought them couldn't share the recipe, because it was rom his wife's family, and in German. And it looks like this is what it was! I'm very excited - I couldn't stop eating those things, which were cut in little diamonds.

                                                      To double check, Cathleen, these are baked at just 250?

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                        Yes -- At least that's what I have written down and I'm pretty sure it's right. Other online recipes list quite a range of temperatures -- from 300 to 430, but I think I baked them at 250 last year. In spite of the warning not to overbake, they are pretty unfussy. I have never ruined a batch, so if they don't get done in a timely manner at 250, raise the temperature a little.

                                                        I bake them until I get a good whiff of baking chocolate and cinnamon, and that's about when they're done. It seems to work better than watching for the tops to be set.

                                                        1. re: CathleenH

                                                          Thanks for the details.

                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                            Basler Brunsli are in one or more of the Nick M cookbooks if you want to check the baking temp further.

                                                          2. re: CathleenH

                                                            Is that 250 in Celcius or Fareinheit? European recipes generally come in Celcius so that might be a cause for the variation on the web as 250 C would be 480 F.

                                                            1. re: ruth_117

                                                              These are basically a chocolate meringe with some almond flour, so the lower 250F baking temp makes sense, as you need to firm the whites without drying them out too much on the exterior. A couple of Tablespoons of flour, and you'd have the Chewy Chocolate Cookies which were all the rage acouple of years ago.

                                                              They sound lovely!

                                                        2. re: CathleenH

                                                          Cathleen, I wanted to thank you for posting this recipe. After, I looked at a few other Basler Brunsli recipes, but none looked as good, and these were perfect, exactly recalling the ones I loved at the potluck. My mother thanks you, too!

                                                        3. Choco-Mallow Drops from KAF are really special. They look good and taste delicious:

                                                          http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                                                          My favorite cookie is William Greenberg's Sand Tarts, from the bakery in Manhattan. They are what Pecan Sandies would like to be when they grow up. I can't find a link to the recipe but it's printed in The New Elegant But Easy Cookbook by Burros and Levine.

                                                          I also love CI's molasses-spice cookies with orange zest.

                                                          This Christmas I might add Caramel-Walnut bars from Mark Bittman's recipe. I made them for the first time the other day, and they're really amazing. The mix of textures is perfect and the fact that there's no chocolate in them really lets the caramel flavor shine.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: csdiego

                                                            Just want to say that the CI molasses cookies are so good! I make them every year also, usually just the regular version. Probably the cookie I look forward to eating the most, and they`re so easy.

                                                          2. I make these coconut pyramids every year for my big New Year's Day Open House party:
                                                            http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/c...
                                                            They have no flour in them and are sort of like a Mounds candy bar but very elegant-looking. They do take a little time to form into the pyramids, but aren't too bad once you get into a rhythm.

                                                            1. Mmm...ginger cookies for sure! This recipe, adapted from The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle, is amazing - the fresh ginger and orange zest really take them to another level. Many people have told me they're the best ginger cookies they've ever had.

                                                              GINGER QUAKES

                                                              2½ cups all-purpose flour
                                                              2 t. baking soda
                                                              1 T. ground ginger
                                                              1 t. ground cinnamon
                                                              ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
                                                              1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
                                                              1 large egg, at room temperature
                                                              1/3 cup dark molasses
                                                              2 T. fresh ginger, finely minced
                                                              1 t. orange zest, finely grated
                                                              turbinado sugar, for coating

                                                              • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°.
                                                              • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Set aside.
                                                              • In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar at medium-high until creamy, about 2 minutes.
                                                              • Add the egg and mix until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
                                                              • Add the molasses, fresh ginger, and orange zest and mix until blended.
                                                              • Reduce the speed to low and blend in the flour mixture. Do not overmix.
                                                              • Place the turbinado sugar in a shallow dish.
                                                              • Roll the dough into 1-inch balls.
                                                              • Roll each ball in the sugar, coating it completely.
                                                              • Arrange the balls on a baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart.
                                                              • Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges are set and the tops are cracked but the centers are still soft.
                                                              • Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

                                                              Makes 60 cookies.

                                                              1. I made curried sugar cookies last year that were a huge hit. The flavor is very subtle, but just enough to pique one's curiosity. I am also very partial to vanilla kipferl and polvorones during Christmas time, though the latter requires a mould that I've found difficult to acquire locally.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: JungMann

                                                                  Would you share the recipes for these? They all sound wonderful! Thanks.

                                                                  1. re: juliatoo

                                                                    Curry coriander shorties: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                    Vanilla kipferl (preferably dusted with powdered sugar or dipped halfway in chocolate): http://www.deliciousdays.com/archives...

                                                                    Traditional, melt-in-your-mouth almond polvorones: http://www.grouprecipes.com/36237/alm... They should be wonderfully nutty with just a hint of cinnamon and not too sweet.

                                                                    My favorite polvoron with toasted immature sweet rice: http://panlasangpinoy.com/2010/03/06/... These should be sandy, but not too dry, with the essential flavor of the toasted rice shining through.

                                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                                      mmmmmm, kipferl!

                                                                2. This cookie has been a family Christmas tradition as long as I can remember. I include them in my annual christmas cookie baskets and everyone loves them. The orange/vanilla flavor, plus the tender texture of the cookie - they're just perfect. Oh, and they still taste good even after sitting for a few days.

                                                                  Orange Cookies

                                                                  Ingredients

                                                                  1 cup butter (2 sticks)
                                                                  1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
                                                                  1 teaspoon vanilla
                                                                  1 Tablespoon grated orange rind
                                                                  1 egg, unbeaten
                                                                  2 cups flour
                                                                  1 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                  1 teaspoon cream of tartar

                                                                  Directions

                                                                  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

                                                                  2. Add vanilla, orange rind and egg. Mix well.

                                                                  3. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix until well blended.

                                                                  4. Drop from teaspoon on un-greased cookie sheet.

                                                                  5. Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes or until light brown. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar immediately after removing from oven.

                                                                  Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

                                                                  1. I always make my Grandmother's Torto recipe. Torto's are Italian chocolate cookies that are spiced with cinnamon and cloves, then glazed - they are delicious. I posted the recipe a couple of years ago in this thread:

                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/577614

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: krisrishere

                                                                      Kris, I just went to look up your recipe - and just as an aside, I love it that your one question generated such a wonderful landscape of Italian cookie recipes. Great to read!

                                                                      1. re: Julia_T

                                                                        Thanks! It was fantastic..I saved them all and I'm still trying to try one every now and again.

                                                                    2. I always put homemade baklava in my cookie tins - I make it Thanksgiving weekend, and let it "age" until Christmas time - it's absolutely fantastic.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Krislady

                                                                        Krislady, how is your baklava stored for so long? It doesn't need refrigeration? Do you think it could be mailed? Is yours a standard recipe? I love it, and would be delighted to be able to make it ahead.

                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                          I just wrap it tightly and stick it on the top shelf of the cupboard - it's always been a million times better after setting that long. There's really nothing in it that's going to spoil - I've never had any problem with it - I'd guess it's the vast quantities of honey that keeps it from spoiling.

                                                                          I have mailed it - along with the rest of the cookies - to my mother-in-law. I usually put pieces in little paper muffin cups, because it is sticky!

                                                                          I'm assuming it's a standard recipe - the chef at a local Greek restaurant kind of verbally gave it to me a number of years ago (something along the lines of "oh, about 6 cups of walnuts, a couple of cups of honey, some sugar. . . ").

                                                                          Here's my blog post from a couple of years ago:

                                                                          http://darksideofthefridge.wordpress....

                                                                          1. re: Krislady

                                                                            Thanks very much, and I enjoyed looking around your blog too!

                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                              You are quite welcome! And thank YOU. :)

                                                                      2. This seems as good a place as any to throw this out there: years ago, a co-worker brought in her holiday cookie contribution; a browned butter cookie with a sandy texture and a combo of dulce de leche and dark choco filling. I've never had them again, nor seen a recipe. Anyone know of anything like this?

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                          Alfajores?

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            Not usually made with Beurre noisette but I suppose you could.
                                                                            You would have to adjust for the lack of water in the butter.

                                                                          2. re: mamachef

                                                                            check out the recipe for spoon cookies on epicurious - the filling is jam, but I'm sure you could substitute a nutella or chocolate type filling -

                                                                          3. I'm a huge fan of the LInzer macaroon sandwich cookies on epicurious. Light and tangy and amazing!

                                                                            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                            1. I've been going here for years....
                                                                              http://www.northpole.com/Kitchen/Cook...
                                                                              lotsa great ideas just click on pix of what you want recipes for ie. A plate of cookies, click, alphabetical order of their recipes

                                                                              1. We don't really celebrate Christmas but we do celebrate Christmas cookies. These Triple-Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies (with fresh cranberries!) are really delicious and beautiful (especially if you take the time to do the white chocolate drizzle).
                                                                                http://www.food.com/342491

                                                                                A few other favouries:

                                                                                Italian Bride's Pecan Cookies (Pastelitos De Boda) http://www.food.com/342105
                                                                                Chocolate Fudge Cookies With Toffee & Dried Cherries http://www.food.com/355369
                                                                                Flourless Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies http://www.food.com/329345
                                                                                Chocolate Crinkle Cookies http://www.food.com/344878

                                                                                1. Well, another Christmas almost in the books, and looking back there's one cookie that really stood out for me this year. It's from the December 2006 Gourmet (how I treasure these issues!):
                                                                                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                                                                  They're icebox cookies, and I adapted the recipe to have 1/4 c. chopped dried cherries, 1/3 c. chopped pistachios, and about an ounce of chopped white chocolate. I made them twice, and honestly this is the best looking cookie, especially compared to how ridiculously easy they are. The second batch I omitted the sugar coating because I wanted something a little plainer, and they were delicious both ways.
                                                                                  I'm awful at forming balls of dough into even logs, but I figured out a little trick this year. I shaped them into rough logs while still at room temp, and squished them to fit into a 9 inch square cakepan. After about a half hour in the fridge, I squared them off again with a couple of books against the edge of the pan, and then once more a half hour later. While still not getting the completely square look I'd like, it was pretty close.
                                                                                  Highly recommended, they're so pretty and festive.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: sgogo

                                                                                    Would they be susceptible to being shaped in a plastic wrap-lined aluminum foil box (one of the smaller ones, like a 50 square foot one)? I find that makes icebox cookies about as square as possible.

                                                                                  2. Almond Butterballs turned out well- maybe good for Easter?

                                                                                    www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,2310,152180-...

                                                                                    1. My mother-in-law made a Swedish Ammonia Cookie every holiday that was both out of the ordinary and quite tasty. There are several recipes you can find by searching on the web, but none of them seemed to have quite the same flavor and texture I remembered.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: DonShirer

                                                                                        That seems to be a very difficult cookie to get right. My mother remembered one fondly too and tried to make it but there was always a whiff of the leavener about them.

                                                                                      2. Here're two from my List of X'mas Regulars. I also make Triple Ginger Cookies, at least one type of sugar cookie, regular and peppermint brownies, and a jam-filled cookie. Will be trying Alfajores and epicurious' Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies this year.

                                                                                        CHOCOLETTES (These are impressive-looking but fast. These are what I make when my 4th grader wakes me up to say that she volunteered me to bring cookies to the class later that day).

                                                                                        1 1/2 packs of saltines, 1/2 c butter, 1 c sugar, 1 t vanilla, 1 c ch. nuts, one 12oz pkg. choc. chips

                                                                                        Preheat oven to 350. Cover a 9x13" cookie pan with foil. Line with saltines. Melt butter with sugar and vanilla (mixture will be grainy). Spread evenly over saltines and bake for 8-12 min or until golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and use spatula to spread evenly. Sprinkly with nuts and refrigerate 10-20 min. Break into pieces.

                                                                                        DIPPED SHORTBREAD
                                                                                        2c flour, 1 c soft butter, 1/2 c sifted xxx sugar, 1 t vanilla, 6 oz semi-sweet choc. chips, 1 T shortening, 1/2c finely chopped blanched almonds (can substitute sprinkles or omit entirely for nut-allergic folk)

                                                                                        Preheat oven to 350. In lg. bowl, combine flour, butter, xxx sugar, & vanilla; mix until thoroughly blended. Roll between palms of hands into 1/2" fingers and place on ungreased b. sheet. Bake 10-12 min. Remove cookies to racks to cool completely. Melt choc. chips & shortening together in microwave or over hot (not boiling) water. Remove from heat; dip one end of each cookie into melted choc., roll in nuts or sprinkles (if using), and place on wax paper-lined tray. Chill one hour.
                                                                                        Makes 6 dozen.

                                                                                        1. I just watched Paula Deen do her Christmas cookie swap.

                                                                                          Taped it actually as I love to watch a person make a cookie that I think I'd try.

                                                                                          Loved the white and red pinwheel cookies some of which she [prebaking] pierced with a cookie stick in the middle of and they look like lollipops. I'll do those for sure but I'll use 3 colors for the doughs, red white and green and roll them up on top of each other and slice, should be great.

                                                                                          Curious if anyone makes their own colored sugars for decorating? I do and like the ease of not having to go track colors down at Michaels.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                            --could you do a photo tutorial? lots of cookie worthy holidays coming up this spring--this would be a great skill for cookie makers to know!

                                                                                            1. re: toodie jane

                                                                                              I'll be making these for this years celebrations toodie jane.
                                                                                              not sure how good pix would come out.
                                                                                              were you asking for pix of the cookie making or the color sugar making?

                                                                                          2. two new ones this year:

                                                                                            deep dark chocolate brownies with junior mints! (I wasn't thrilled with these the first day, but after relaxing in the fridge for a couple of days, they are just fantastic)

                                                                                            tart cranberry bars

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                              You tart cranberry bars sound good! I think there is so much sweet stuff around during the holidays it is nice to have something with a tangy punch, would you share the recipe?

                                                                                            2. Amanda, I'm in here looking for cookie recipes as usual. I love the look of these
                                                                                              Polish cookies, they sound so good to me. Wonder one thing though, do I have
                                                                                              to bake the cookie first before adding the fruit or can I bake it off 1/2 way then do the
                                                                                              fruit and bake rest of the way [or the other half ] after that? TIA

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                Sorry this reply is two years late. We had a baby and well... lol, it takes up a lot of time. Anyway, per the recipe you are supposed to bake off the cookie portion completely. I suppose you could try and bake the cookie with the fruit but since it is dried fruit I would be careful of over drying it. Also, the mixture has cornstarch in it which can only handle so much heat before breaking. But try it, it might come out great!

                                                                                              2. It would have to be kifli. Lots of dreadful similar-tasting cookies but these are sublime.

                                                                                                I have a stained 3x5 card with the ingredients only but here goes the instructions from memory. My family lost the real recipe about twenty years ago.

                                                                                                Kifli (Czech variation)

                                                                                                4 cups of flour
                                                                                                4 egg yolks
                                                                                                1/2 pint sour cream
                                                                                                1 lb. of butter
                                                                                                1 package of yeast

                                                                                                Proof yeast with a little warm water. Mix egg yolks and sour cream.

                                                                                                Cream butter and alternate adding liquids and flour. Add yeast. Knead gently using as little flour as possible. Chill for at least an 1 hour or overnight. Cut into four pieces so can work with the dough more easily; chill the pieces you aren’t working with. The dough will look normal and good-tempered when you take it out of the refrigerator.

                                                                                                You can roll the dough out in powdered sugar (difficult-lovely exterior), a mixture of powdered sugar (tolerable-nice exterior), or flour (easy-sad exterior). I suggest starting with a 50-50 ratio. The dough

                                                                                                Roll out the dough—maybe 1/8 inch thick. Cut cookies 2 inches square. Fill each with about 1 tsp. conserves or fruit filing (Solo being a good choice—we use prune, apricot, poppy as well as raspberry jam).

                                                                                                Chill briefly and bake? My guess is about 350/375 for 6 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool on a rack.

                                                                                                Enjoy.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                  I love you Judi :)
                                                                                                  Thank you so much for finding that for me. Who knew it was even out there anywhere any longer.
                                                                                                  I know that my MIL was a stickler for the way she created her masterful cookies and whatever they were or are called, they were simply the best little bites ever. Sounded like she said "Kee-fo's' but we can call them 'crankshaft' for all I care, just love them, thanks again