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Are you thinking about Christmas cookies yet? (Seriously!)

Yes, I'm already excited about Christmas cookies and have started a list.

Are there any other anticipatory bakers out there? What will you be baking this December?

Here's my cookie list at the moment... Most years we give cookies to the girls' teachers and after-school activity coaches, school front desk staff, relatives, friends, neighbors, etc. This year I'm trying to focus on things that can be made somewhat quickly... I always say that but the best laid plans...!

1st cookie: molded classic shortbread - recipe thanks to Chuck (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/338411); I add a few T water into the dough, and prick with a fork after pressing into my snowflakes pan; dust w/confectioners sugar when cool.

Also: one or two of the following:
• Tartine soft glazed gingerbread recipe (molded with a cookie press or pan).. or a new recipe that was designed for pressed cookies.. possibly then dipped in chocolate
• Tartine biscotti recipe (delicious, but they did not spread as much during baking as I would have liked... ideas?)
• hazelnut shortbreads from the Bakesale Cookbook; or
• Chocolate "nut" molded cookie with a ganache filling
• “Florentiners a la Mama” - King Arthur Flour
• Speculaas or springerle from this site https://houseonthehill.net/recipes-an...

• Chocolate fudge (need a fabulous recipe - dark and not too sweet or peanut butter/chocolate), or
• Gourmet’s classic lemon thins (I wonder if it's possible to make these uniformly round - have not yet tried this recipe), or
• Mexican wedding cookies

Has anyone ever given ganache as a gift? I mean how easy is that?! I was thinking of putting it up in little jars, maybe to gift in trios of three, with pretty labels (Grand Marnier ganache; peppermint; Kahlua; etc), with instructions to keep in the fridge, plus I suppose instructions on how to use or turn it into a buttercream frosting.

Is that just way too much chocolate sauce for people to receive, do you think? If not, has anyone ever tried making white chocolate ganache, and is there a way to do that inexpensively? (I am a total cheater and just use Nestle's chips from Costco with hot cream - but does Costco sell white chocolate?) Where would I get trios of very small jars? (Target had some mid-sized Bell jars... did not see small; maybe at hardware stores? online source?


Nuts are another matter. These days, a lot of kids have life-threatening nut allergies. Most adults do not have this allergy, and most of our gifts are going to adults (teachers; school staff; our own friends, etc). Any opinions what to do about this? Should I label each cookie tin "DANGER - NUTS," or put the gingerbreads and classic shortbreads in a separate container - another step and expense, but considerate? Or should I give the recipients more credit and not assume they're dingbats? - Almost everyone who works with or has young children is at this point used to not giving them unknown baked goods - but who knows; it's a busy time of year.... Maybe the easiest is simply to put a pretty "Contains Nuts" label on the tins...

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  1. Yes and no. This year, instead of giving cookies, I'm switching to condiments and spice mixes. They are easier to make and less fattening (in case recipients are on diet).

    But, I'm making Mexican wedding cakes, chocolate chips and perhaps, ginger molasses for our own consumption!

    1 Reply
    1. re: nattythecook

      As I, and my acquaintances, grow older, I notice the enthusiasm lessening for cookies. Glad I worked it for all those years!

    2. I wasn't thinking about Christmas cookies until I read your post (seriously!)

      1. Absolutely! I look forward to getting started, each year I have to make myself wait so that I don't have a bunch of stale cookies on my hands by the time we get to the holidays.

        I'll be making shortbread, classic (for me) and espresso (for my mom), sugar cookies for the kids to decorate. I want to make one of those sugar cookie trees this year, the kind made by stacking up star shaped cookies of descending size. My dad and the kids love something I call bake sale squares, they are a mixture of chocolate and butterscotch chips melted with peanut butter and mini marshmallows mixed in, so I always end up making a couple goes of those.

        I want to try making crackers this year. I started making cheese (chevre and fresh moz) this summer. I would like to make gifts of chevre, homemade crackers and some kind of condiment to serve with it.

        I know I'll wind up baking more than that. Once I start looking through recipes I will find more recipes that I love just have to make.
        As for nuts in the cookies, I would either label the cookies with little tags making it clear which ones have nuts. Allergies are serious and just think how you would feel if someone dove into your cookies without thinking. I agree that it is their responsibility, but why take chances.

        10 Replies
        1. re: cheesymama

          Mmmm, the chevre / crackers / condiment combo sounds great!! I think pear or fig jam would go wonderfully - would love to hear what you end up giving.

          1. re: cheesymama

            I made those sugar cookie trees one year but can't remember what is used to stack the cookies. It was a long time ago. I remember they looked neat, How do you do it again?

            1. re: karykat

              I've seen some with dowels running down the middle, I assume you use a small round cookie cutter to make a hole in the centre of each cookie. I'm thinking you could use icing to attach them , but I guess that would make it hard to take them apart when you want to eat it.
              One of the grocery stores near me (Toronto) has a stacking tree cookie cutter kit this year, so I am going to start with that.

              1. re: cheesymama

                They will give you what you need to attach them I'm sure.

            2. re: cheesymama

              How far in advance do you make your sugar cookies? I tried Peggy Porschen's recipe which says they keep for a month but they were a bit soft after only a week in a tupperware. I want to get the cookies out of the way before I have to ice 3 massive fruit cakes!

              1. re: gembellina

                My mother-in law freezes her sugar cookies in an airtight container. They keep very well.

                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  Huh, freezing never even occurred to me. Un-iced, I'm guessing?

                  1. re: gembellina

                    Yes uniced because she doesn't ice hers. She goes the Christmas shapes and colored sugar route. They really don't have any after taste. You'd never know.

                2. re: gembellina

                  Freezing is good. Whenever I freeze anything, I first freeze it on a baking sheet with no wrapping. After it is frozen solid, then it goes into freezer bags. This eliminates frost build-up, which has a negative effect on whatever you are freezing.

                  To store cookies at room temperature, the very best way I have found is to use old-fashioned cookie tins. They work much better than plastic for cookies. Once in a while you will get one that has a looser-fitting lid - just throw a piece of foil over the top before putting on the lid; this will tighten it. Cookie tins are available at this time of the year at baking stores, craft stores, and discount stores.

                  1. re: sandylc

                    Since I never have enough room in the freezer for cookies I do all my doughs in the beginning of the month and bake what I need for each tranche of cookie deliveries. Then all the cookies are fresh baked and just forming the cookies are something I can do on a weeknight. There is one exception to that rule which is a pressed filled butter cookie which keeps really well.

              2. My best friend and I started planning our Christmas cookies during our October vacation! We have already set our weekend after Thanksgiving date to start baking the "freezable" ones. We will each do three types of dough ahead, and will bake them together. I haven't finalized exactly what kinds I will do, but probably gingersnaps, almond crescents, and one other kind, probably some kind of slice and bake (homemade) kind, like pinwheels or some type of shortbread. We are also trying out Emeril's fruitcake recipe for the first time this year. Closer to Christmas, I will probably do a couple of other kinds of cookies.

                1. Ha! Visions dancing in head are springerlie, lebkuchen, and pfeffernuss -- but probably only one of those will get done.

                  I want to try Smitten Kitchen's apple pie cookies,


                  and will do these “Trios”,


                  Pic of last years Trios:

                  Aaagh! I want to do ALL of the old ones and ALL of the new ones!

                  Here's an inspiring thread--


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: blue room

                    Your trios are very dramatic looking. Very pretty.

                  2. I feel so much better and able to handle the holiday cooking this year that I can say yes, I am looking at and forward to making Christmas cookies.I've committed to the first three, and not sure I'll be able to locate my recipe for the 4th. I hope to add another 4 types.
                    1. Rugelach
                    2. Triple chocolate cookies
                    3. Merry Cherry Cheesecake bars - this is an old recipe from the 80s that my kids love
                    4. Peppermint bark bars - If I can find the recipe! It's from a magazine clipping - one I'd wanted to try "one of the Christmas's"

                    1. Regarding your problem of packing nut and nut-free cookies together:

                      What I would do is put two different cookies in a ziploc bag, each bag labelled with the list of ingredients (and the name of the cookie, of course), line your box/tin/container with some tissue paper, and place a bag of each cookie in one container.

                      Also read all your ingredients carefully; while you are not actually putting nuts in a chocolate cookie recipe, some baker's chocolate and some chocolate chips are processed on machines that also process nuts...ditto some other ingredients that you wouldn't suspect had nuts.

                      What I do is call my recipients ahead of time to chat and ask them either directly or surreptitiiously if they have any dietary restrictions. ("My sister is a diabetic and people always give her candy. Do you think she should return those gifts or just accept them and give them to someone else? What would YOU do?" Anyone with any dietary restriction will glady tell you their experience and/or opinion). You can also contact other people who know them and ask. Either way, you then have the info you need to pack a Goody Bag that they can enjoy.
                      Don't forget to find out if the recipient is vegan; that removes eggs, dairy products including butter, from your list of ingredients. I have a vegan friend...I'm knitting her a hat and a scarf LOL.

                      1. Springerles-I need to get carving on the rolling pin soon, or I will end up using the stamps, Pfeffernusse, and pepper nuts will more than likely be the only ones I get done this year.

                        1. How do your springerle turn out. The one time I made them they were absolutely beautiful but hard as rocks. I mean really hard as rocks. I felt like I needed to have people sign a waiver saying I was not responsible for broken teeth. I guess they were meant to be dunked in coffee?

                          17 Replies
                          1. re: karykat

                            Springerle are a tradition in my family, and the recipe we use makes ones that a bit chewy, but not hard-hard. I can find the recipe for you if you are interested.

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              I'd love to see yours. This would be my first year making them; I was planning to experiment with the recipe here http://houseonthehill.net/recipes-and...

                              1. re: Julia_T

                                Julia, my family uses the springerle recipe from the 1961 New York Times Cookbook. The cookies are by their nature on the dry side, as they contain no butter or oil, and they will, of course, get drier with storage, but they don't get rock-hard over a couple of weeks in a tin. This is the kind of thing that is way easier with a stand mixer, but we always managed with a hand mixer.


                                4 cups sifted AP flour
                                1 t. baking soda
                                1/2 t. salt
                                4 eggs
                                2 cups sugar
                                1 t. grated lemon zest
                                2-3 T. anise seeds

                                Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the eggs, sugar, and zest until very, very thick and light, 20-30 minutes at medium speed. Beat in the dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time. Cover the dough and chill overnight. Roll the dough 5/8-inch thick, then press firmly and evenly with floured springerle molds or pin. Use a floured knife to cut apart the cookies. Grease cookie sheets and sprinkle with anise seeds, then lay the cookies on the sheets and let stand uncovered overnight. Preheat oven to 325F and bake the cookies for 15 minutes, until thoroughly dry.

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  Thank you for sharing the recipe, Caitlin. I'll let you know how they come out if I try it!

                                  1. re: Julia_T

                                    I wish I had seen your post earlier; I have used the House on the Hill recipe for about ten years, after receiving it with the springerle mold I ordered from them. I have always had success with their recipe, and many times I have cut it in half as it does make quite a lot of dough. The cookies do not turn out hard at all (probably because XXX sugar is used rather than granulated), and they keep for a long time, either frozen or at room temperature. As the recipe states, I do dry out the cookies overnight on a tea towel. Any extra flour that remains on the "raw" cookies from rolling out can then be brushed off easily (as they harden as they dry) with a dry pastry brush.

                                    1. re: lesliej

                                      Thank you, Leslie - that's helpful! If I make the cookies this week, do you think they could last two weeks, or should I wait until it is closer to the time when I will need them? Thanks.

                                      1. re: Julia_T

                                        If you have room to freeze them they freeze beautifully; otherwise you might want to wait - although I'm sure they will keep at room temperature for at least a week (I always make so many cookies I need to freeze them or I would never get them all done!). I do want to mention that the recipe make a pretty stiff dough, so you will need to press down quite firmly with your mold to get a good imprint. I actually spread a little flour or more XXX sugar over the dough before I pressed the mold into it. After some gathering of dough scraps & re-rolling you may not need to keep doing that.

                                        1. re: lesliej

                                          I always wonder how everyone on here does it. Do you have an extra freezer? I have been so tempted to buy one, but don't know where in the house we could fit it.

                                          1. re: Julia_T

                                            Yes, as a matter of fact! We bought a refrigerator/freezer for our basement when we finished it. Before that, I had to completely clean out out kitchen freezer after Thanksgiving and designate it "holiday baking only" !!

                                            1. re: lesliej

                                              Julia - I compared your recipe from House on the Hill to mine one last time and noticed these differences: my recipe calls for ONE teaspoon baking powder dissolved in 2 Tbs. WHOLE milk, 6 cups SIFTED powdered sugar, and 1/2 tsp. OIL of anise. But I don't know... maybe less baking powder lessens the chance they will "puff" too much and spoil the design? I never had any problem with that, though; I also found that keeping a low over temp (225-250) and baking the cookies longer solves that problem.

                                              1. re: lesliej

                                                How kind of you to compare - thank you!

                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Mine were hard as rocks. Hard rocks. The only way to eat them would be to dunk them. They were truly gorgeous though.

                                I sold my molds at a yard sale last year. The person who bought them was very happy to get them. Springerle were a tradition in his family too and the family mold had just been passed down to another family member. So I was happy to sell it to someone who was really going to appreciate it and use it.

                                1. re: karykat

                                  That's part of the fun of springerles. They would start out soft, but get pretty hard if left out long. One thing I would do is leave a couple in the old tins Mom used to store them in, and eat them the following year when she got ready to make more. They were rock solid, but not spoiled at all. Mom would just laugh as I gnawed on those white bricks, and the flavors held up well.

                                  We had a couple of commercial rolling pins, but my Dad made some for my brothers after they got married. The pins had 12, or 16, pictures that depicted various things that pertained to each of their families. I never married, and never thought to ask Dad to make one for me before he passed away. Luckily he taught me how to carve wood, along with a lot of other skills, so I can make my own personalized pin.

                                  I don't think the recipe Mom used was anything special. Lots of powdered sugar, some lemon, and anise seeds on the bottom, pretty basic.

                                  1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                    Very cool -- pins your Dad made for each family. Very special.

                                    My molds were made with resin from ancient wooden molds. And I thought that was cool!

                                    1. re: karykat

                                      It is amazing how much detail these cookies will hold, and the pins Dad made were works of art. My Dad was an amazing woodcarver. He even made the pin from scratch. I have some of the maple he used, but what I will be doing is using old birch, and maple rolling pins that I have picked up at various thrift stores. Figured it will speed the process up, and I find them for $3 or less at the thrift stores. I cannot make one for that price. I have enough pins now to make carved pins for all of my friends, and then some HA HA. I didn't realize how many I had picked up so far, if it was priced right I just picked it up, and tossed it on the pile. I have pins now that are unmarked, Foley, Canada, Denmark, and of various dimensions. I leave the Chinese ones on the shelf, and the ones that are made of some common Asian mystery wood - light, and open grain.

                                      1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                        I love the kitchen section of thrift shops, I really should look for an extra rolling pin or two next time. Just starting making pie crust, wonder how different pins might work differently from each other? If I find one with carvings, I will let you know!

                                        1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                          Very clever!!! That is so smart! And will really be treasures.

                              3. This year's Christmas Cookie List:

                                Chocolate Ones:
                                Chocolate Almond Lace Cookies (my signature cookie)
                                Chocolate Crunch Cookies (cornflakes, no bake, delicious)
                                Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
                                Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

                                White Chocolate Cranberry Bars
                                Word of Mouth Lemon Coconut Bars
                                Mini Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

                                My mother-in law makes excellent rolled sugar cookies, so I don't have to make them.

                                31 Replies
                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                  Chocolate Almond Lace Cookies? I might try those! They sound delicious.

                                  1. re: Julia_T

                                    I have shared this recipe on Chowhound for six years! Enjoy! If you have any questions or problems let me know.

                                    Chocolate Almond Lace Cookies

                                    1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
                                    1/2 cup sugar
                                    1 tablespoon flour
                                    1/4 teaspoon salt
                                    3/4 cup ground blanched almonds (you can buy blanched almonds whole or in slivers. Process them in a food processor till resembles coarse meal)
                                    2 tablespoons whole milk
                                    1 teaspoon almond extract
                                    4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

                                    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking pans/cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper, spraying lightly with non-stick spray, then dusting lightly with flour.

                                    2. In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add sugar, flour and salt and stir until sugar dissolves (about 3 minutes). Mix in almonds and milk and stir lightly. Remove from heat and blend in extract. Let cool slightly.

                                    3. This is the tricky part-- a tiny drop of the cookie batter spreads a great deal, so drop by small, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoonful dots on your baking sheet, separated several inches apart. You won't make more than six at a time on a large cookie sheet.

                                    4. Bake for about 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden brown. When done remove from oven, take the parchment sheet of cookies off the baking sheet and gently rest on cool counter so the cookies stop baking. When cooled a minute, cookies will peel off the paper. If they resist, put your fingers under the parchment and gently pop them off from behind.

                                    5. Cool cookies on a cooling rack. Melt the chocolate.

                                    6. Match one cookie to another most resembling it. Using a flat spreader (a knife does not work as well it tends to break the cookie) put some melted chocolate on the smooth side of one cookie, sandwich it with the flat side of another cookie. Place back on cooling rack until chocolate cools.

                                    Makes 20 - 30 cookies depending on size. I make them really small so I get more form a batch. Another tip...While one batch is baking do not put cookie batter on another warm pan, it will spread out and you will get irregular shaped cookies.

                                      1. re: RUK

                                        How you make them! If you do, let me know... maybe post a pic...

                                      2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                        These look amazing, thanks for sharing. :)

                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                          A BIG CORRECTION TO CHOCOLATE ALMOND LACE COOKIE RECIPE:

                                          There is NO need to grease and flour the parchment paper. It seems like baking parchment nowadays is more slippery. I didn't need to grease and flour it at all. Cookies popped off easily.

                                          Here's a picture of the batch I made yesterday. By 1 p.m. today they were all gone. Looks like I will be making more!

                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                            Those look delicious!!! (Correction duly noted.)

                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                              Beautiful, bet they disappeared in a flash!

                                            2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                              Trish, my Hazelnuts are from Trader Joe's and the ingredient listed is just Hazelnuts. And the package doesn't say "blanched". What is the difference? Is it the skin? And do I need to blanch them? . BTW, your pictures are great. I'm not sure I have the patience to spread the chocolate between, but I may dip one side in the chocolate. Any feedback for me? Thanks

                                              1. re: mcel215

                                                Mcel, thanks for your questions. I use almonds, I have never made these with hazelnuts. That said why not try them with hazelnuts? The difference is blanched are boiled and have no skins on them, they are white. Will it make a difference if the nuts aren't blanched? Tastewise probably. But I don't know for sure.

                                                Here are several photos. Although I used slivered almonds, I usually use whole blanched ones, but my store was out of them so I went with slivered. It doesn't really matter whether they are whole or slivers because they are processed in a food processor anyway.

                                                Look at these photos, please feel free to ask more questions. The cookies are very delicate. Even if some break, I use the melted chocolate as glue and piece them together. There are stronger, more durable lace cookie recipes out there. They may be even better for your purposes. Anyway here are some photos and good luck!

                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                  Thanks Trish,

                                                  I went to check on my ingredients and pulled out a bag of hazelnuts, but I do have almonds too, lol!
                                                  I know my almonds aren't blanched tho, they have the skins. I read one time about removing the skins and I think I should be able to google "blanching". It can't be too much of a pain, I hope. ;)

                                                  Love your pictures and great idea using the chocolate to "glue" them together....

                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                      Thank you so much Trish, that was sweet of you ~

                                                      I'll let you know how it works out and how I do this cookie. The problem I have, but not this year is finding the time to do the baking. Some cookies I can bake ahead and freeze, but yours doesn't look like one o them. Luckily Christmas falls on the weekend and I think I'll do them Saturday morning, the 24th.


                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                        Actually, I have frozen these for a short period of time before. Not bad. I even ate them frozen (Can't believe I admitted that!).

                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                          If only there was a "like" button...

                                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                            I've often eaten cakes and cookies in their frozen state. I always think if I leave them in the freezer I won't be tempted, but it doesn't always work when I get a sudden craving and remember they're in there!

                                                            1. re: coll

                                                              It's amazing what is edible while frozen..brownies are particularly good!

                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                Cheesecake is really good too.

                                                    2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                      I'm putting together my first week's tins - these are for our brothers and their families - need to ship them across the country. Is this cookie too delicate for three days with the postal service, and would the chocolate melt? Or is it room temperature-stable?

                                                      1. re: Julia_T

                                                        You know, I always assume when I ship baked goods this time of year that the box will spend most of its time in a cold warehouse, an unheated truck or the hold of an airplane. I send everything Priority and everyone always calls to rave. I don't think there are any liars in my family......

                                                        1. re: Julia_T

                                                          One problem is the cookie itself is very very delicate. The other concern would be yes, chocolate melting. Hmmm... If packed just right though, very very carefully... and if not jostled.... might be ok. Very risky though. I admire your good intentions though very very much. You're thoughtful.

                                                          Coll and Julia, glad to know I might not be the only one out there who may have indulged in frozen cookies. I understand the freezing process negates the calories....

                                                        2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                          Trish - thanks so much for this recipe and your very detailed instructions! I made them a few days ago and they were a huge success - me, my husband and my father in law all loved them. The only downside is I'll have to make another batch now as there's no way they'll last until Christmas. These will definitely be added to our must-bake holiday cookie list - thank you!

                                                          1. re: jlnick

                                                            Jlnick, so glad you enjoyed them! I was at a gourmet shop yesterday and they were selling similar cookies for $20 a pound. Since they had some broken samples on the counter in a bowl I tried a piece. Bland to the max. The homemade are so much better. I've already made two batches of Chocolate Almond Lace Cookies because I give them as presents, and this week I'll be making a third, for the family. Bon Appetit!

                                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                    Think that I printed off your word of mouth lemon coconut bars last year.. must try this year.
                                                    Love how you separate this list into "chocolate and non chocolate"... this is largely how I classify food!

                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                      I am thinking of making those Chocolate Crunch Cookies. How many boxes of cornflakes do I need for 12 cups of cornflakes? Just an estimate would be great. Thanks.

                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                        Good question Mcel. I just checked a 24 ounce box of cornflakes, and it said a serving was a cup and there were 24 servings in the box. So that would mean approximately one cup per ounce. My recipe uses 10 cups so that would be approximately 10 ounces more or less.

                                                        You probably have the recipe, but re-posting in case others want it. Enjoy!!! Post photos!!

                                                        Chocolate Crunch Cookies
                                                        (A no bake recipe, easy to make with kids)

                                                        16 ounces milk chocolate (I tend to use Ghiradelli bars, some folks use Hershey, whatever you like)
                                                        4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
                                                        12 ounces semisweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
                                                        10 cups cornflakes

                                                        1. In a large metal pot (don't use non-stick it effects the chocolate and the chocolate can seize) melt the chocolates over very low heat stirring gently just until melted and glossy. Don't overheat. Can also melt in a double boiler.

                                                        2. Remove from heat and add the cornflakes, gently stirring until they are all coated (will take a few minutes), careful not to crush them.

                                                        3. Drop by spoonfuls (I make mine small) on waxed/parchment paper. Cool at room temperature to set for two to three hours. Yield 9 - 11 dozen depending on size. Store at room temperature. Don't refrigerate.

                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                          Thanks, I was on the other thread and from memory, said 12 cups instead of 10, lol!

                                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                            Thanks Trish,

                                                            I made these last night and brought them into work, they are a hit.

                                                            Only a couple of questions. When you say "drop by spoonfuls", what size spoon?A tablespoon or teaspoon.
                                                            And when you say that "I make mine small", what is your definition of small?
                                                            I had a hard time making my mind up and didn't want them too clunky.

                                                            1. re: mcel215

                                                              Great Mcel!

                                                              I drop them by the teaspoon rather than by the tablespoon. And by teaspoon, I mean one you use to eat cereal, not a measuring teaspoon. My goal is a solid two-bite size cookies. I agree about not making them too clunky. When my daughter makes them she makes them really big then regrets it...

                                                      2. Semi focused on the holiday baking at present. Too many pumpkin recipes yet to wrangle through before my brain completely heads to butter, sugar and nuts..but so far the bucklet list looks like this:

                                                        Roasted chestnut cookies
                                                        Chocolate-pecan cookies
                                                        Spritz 10 ways
                                                        Rugelach trumpets 4 ways
                                                        Sesame seed bars
                                                        Date bars
                                                        Apricot shortbread
                                                        Raspberry Almond roll ups
                                                        Dark chocolate wafers

                                                        Happy holiday baking CH's!

                                                        8 Replies
                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          Would you mind sharing the Roasted Chestnut Cookie recipe? Thanks in advance.

                                                          1. re: angelsmom

                                                            Sure. I follow the recipe recommended by most bloggers, including Smitten Kitchen. It's here: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/12/roa...

                                                            Now I've roasted my own when chestnuts when sources are reliable and I've used pre-peeled and canned chestnut puree. All work; it's really a time management thing. My personal tweak is to put cinnamon in the dough as written and a touch in the powdered sugar when the warm cookies are tossed to coat (because I love cinnamon). I do add a light hand of grated nutmeg to the dough as well. The best tip I can offer is to watch them (at least the first batch) closely so you're precise on the bake time. These go from lovely and moist to dry and disappointing if over baked...especially if you holiday bake in advantage of enjoyment.


                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              Thanks immensely, I never saw them at her site....going there now, and I will save your yips.

                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                I am very excited about your roasted chestnut cookies. They do taste chestnutty, right?

                                                                I have never understood putting chocolate with chestnuts, because then how can you taste the chestnut.

                                                                Any tips in replacing the whole chestnuts with the puree? I have a can of puree on the shelf and have been waiting for the right recipe. I think this is it.

                                                                1. re: karykat

                                                                  hi karykat, SK's recipe calls for one cup of chestnut puree (even if you go through the steps of making your own). If your can of puree contains no other ingred. (like sugar, fat solids) just the chestnut then 1 cup from the can is all you need and skip the prep steps in the recipe and head right to the dough making. If the puree you have contains more you'll need to adjust the recipe. What does the can say?

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    It's the clement faugier brand with just chestnut puree and water.

                                                                    Think that can go in as specified?

                                                                    Not sure if the water would make it more watery or not.

                                                                    1. re: karykat

                                                                      Perfect. Stir well and dispense one cup and continue with the dough recipe as written. Enjoy, karykat!

                                                          2. re the ganache: this year i'm doing (for some people) homemade Nutella (dairy free) and for my dairy free friends, also some dairy free white chocolate. also some fruit butters, lemon curd, and to a few people homemade salad dressings and extracts...

                                                            i bake cookies year round, so christmas tends to just be whatever's in development at the moment. will likely include some mini whoopie pies in various flavors. things i'm tossing around:
                                                            browned butter melting moments
                                                            financiers - not cookies but
                                                            cheesecake cookies - actual cookies that taste like cheesecake not bars
                                                            sticky toffee pudding cookies

                                                            ...got plenty of time...

                                                            1. My local supermarket had a sale on butter last week, so I started stocking up for holiday baking. That's about as much thought that I have given it so far.

                                                              1. In her Christmas baking heyday (1962 - 1990), mom would turn out at least 100 dozen cookies annually for family consumption and gift distribution. Those days are long gone but I still honor the tradition by making a copious offering of oatmeal lace thins, almond crescents, golden butter cookies, Moravian spice wafers, sand tarts and bourbon balls. I have a minus-20 degree chest freezer and several lovely old tins for storage so there's no reason to not be starting tomorrow. Thanks for the reminder.

                                                                1. Actually I have been thinking of this recently: my "time to start" button pushed when I noticed butter was on sale at the grocer's! I have two kids who get cookies mailed to them plus neighbors and friends to gift plus fam at home, so starting soon is key. The list so far includes:

                                                                  1. Cinnamon Chocolate Chip (daughter's fave)

                                                                  2. Crispy salted oatmeal

                                                                  3. "Boston Red Sox" sugar cookies (lotsa fans in the family)

                                                                  4. Brown butter cookies

                                                                  5. Mexican wedding cakes

                                                                  6. Cherry almond biscotti

                                                                  7. Chocolate dipped sand tarts

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: SharaMcG

                                                                    Are the Boston Red Sox ones just sugar cookies decorated like the Bosox or something else?

                                                                  2. Does anyone bake a version of corn flakes cookies they would recommend?

                                                                    And to the OP regarding nut allergies in gifted cookies. I would write the name of the cookie on a label affixed to the gift box and if the cookie contains nuts add the words (baked with walnuts, pecans, almonds..etc.)

                                                                    1. I have been doing my holiday shopping- found a sale on sugar for $1.99/5# which is great. Many of my items are repeats:
                                                                      apricot foldovers
                                                                      lemon stars
                                                                      champagnebrod (from Dec 75 Gourmet)
                                                                      macademia lime cookies
                                                                      pistachio craisin biscotti
                                                                      I will pick two more kinds of cookies for this year.

                                                                      Also candies-
                                                                      candied lemon, orange and grapefruit rinds
                                                                      white chocolate pistachio craisin bark
                                                                      almond buttercrunch
                                                                      and tons of caramel corn!

                                                                      Here is what a cookie plate looked like last year.

                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                      1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                        That is truly beautiful AGMCC. How do you make your apricot foldovers?

                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                          Thanks. It is a cream cheese dough filled with an apricot mixture which is flavored with orange. I use California apricots since they are tarter. Do you want a full recipe?

                                                                          1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                            Actually if you have time to provide the full recipe, yes. I have 3 lbs of dried apricots in my fridge from Apricot King and I'm always looking for new ways to use them. Does this recipe work with dried?

                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                              I noticed the thread about Apricot King and was tempted to order some. Dried apricots are exactly what you need.

                                                                              Apricot Foldovers
                                                                              Makes 50 cookies

                                                                              ¼ cup orange juice
                                                                              6 Tablespoons sugar
                                                                              4 ounces chopped dried apricots

                                                                              1¼ cup unsifted flour
                                                                              6 Tablespoons sugar
                                                                              Pinch salt
                                                                              4 ounces cream cheese
                                                                              ¼ cup butter
                                                                              3 Tablespoons sour cream

                                                                              1. For Filling: In a small saucepan, mix the orange juice, sugar and apricots.
                                                                              2. Heat to boiling and reduce heat. Let simmer until the apricots are tender adding orange juice as needed to keep from burning.
                                                                              3. Let cool. This will keep refrigerated for months.

                                                                              1. For Dough: In a large bowl or bowl of food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
                                                                              2. With pastry blender or off-and-on pulse cut in the cream cheese and butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
                                                                              3. With a fork or pulses mix in the sour cream just until the dough holds together in a ball.
                                                                              4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
                                                                              5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
                                                                              6. Grease 2 large cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.
                                                                              7. Divide the dough into pieces. Working with one piece at a time, refrigerate the others.
                                                                              8. On a floured surface roll the dough into a rectangle. Cut into 2-inch squares with a fluted pastry cutter.
                                                                              9. Place a small amount of apricot filling in the center of the square and fold the opposite ends together and pinch closed. You may want to moisten the dough to seal it.
                                                                              10. Place on cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.
                                                                              11. Let cool on a wire rack.

                                                                              Note- Instead of a fluted pastry cutter I finally found a square cookie cutter with fluted sides. This works perfectly and uses up the dough most efficiently.

                                                                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                Many thanks AGM. This sounds right up my alley and I may sub it for the apricot cookies I had planned on. As for Apricot King, keep checking back on them because they do run sales. I have never been disappointed by any of their products but their apricots truly are the KING.

                                                                              2. re: HillJ

                                                                                Hi HillJ, here's the link for the recipe http://eat.at/swap/forum8/46_Apricot_...

                                                                                I made them last year, they're fantastic. I'd completely forgotten about them (I know, crazy right?) until I read this thread again.

                                                                                1. re: jencounter

                                                                                  Hi jencounter! Good to see you and thanks. What else are you preparing for the holidays this year?

                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                    I originally came into the holiday season saying, "this year, I am not going to bake as many cookies" but as I'm compiling my mental list I'm realizing that I'm totally ignoring myself. So far I'm thinking:

                                                                                    - Sugar cookies to decorate with the kids (I'm partial to Alton Brown's recipe)
                                                                                    - Orange cookes. These are a family tradition http://www.wchstv.com/gmarecipes/oran...
                                                                                    - Holiday biscotti http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...
                                                                                    - Apricot Foldovers linked above
                                                                                    - Chewy Ginger cookies http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/gian...

                                                                                    I'm thinking about possibly adding another biscotti or two to the mix but am still looking for a recipe that wows me. I may also do what we like to call "christmas crack" which is just David Lebovitz matzo bark recipe http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/01/...) and am strongly considering peppermint bark again this year.

                                                                                    Now that I have it listed, it doesn't seem like too much. Right?!

                                                                                    1. re: jencounter

                                                                                      Too much? It's never too much in my opinion. The Christmas crack is always on my Thanksgiving plate actually, I make it for my daughters. Happy baking, jencounter!

                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                        This year I'm including Indian sweets on my cookie tray for Christmas. I'm still learning techniques and the right level of spice but my first go includes:
                                                                                        ladoo, carrot halwa, pistachio fudge, gulab jamun. I have a real fondness for Indian sweet shops and I hope my guests appreciate my first real attempt at these very special recipes.

                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                          That is such a great idea HillJ... I love gulab jamun. I remember my father trying to make it for a themed cooking club he was in ( a different country/host every two months). This was in Western Canada about 20 years ago; no food blogs, no-one used the internet.. the "mock gulab jamun" recipe he managed to find used Bisquick as the base! He said that it wasn't at all authentic.. but it still tasted good. I am sure that you are doing the real thing. My Indian friends have all told me that their mothers/aunties/grannies all buy sweets because it's so time-consuming to make them..

                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                            Time consuming and the rolling techniques (like most things!) takes a good deal of practice. My pistachio rosewater delight came out so beautifully but the ladoo are breaking me! I'm determined to get them right. The carrot halwa is about as easy a fudge to make so the instant grat. is carrying me thru. But I still might go to the Indian sweet shop for others and some savory items (like the spicy nuts and samosa).

                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                              I'm impressed.. hope that you will be post some pictures...

                                                                          2. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                            Your plates look beautiful. I do something like that and I am always looking for plates and different containers to put them in. I like to find plates and stuff that are useful but not seasonal.
                                                                            I noticed that you are going to make lime macadamia nut cookies. Those are two of my husband's favorite flavors. Would you be willing to share your recipe? Would appreciate it very much. Looking for something different to bake for his birthday the day after Thanksgiving. TIA

                                                                            1. re: paprkutr

                                                                              Macademia Lime Cookies From: Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri

                                                                              2 cups all-purpose flour
                                                                              1 teaspoon baking powder
                                                                              pinch salt
                                                                              12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
                                                                              1 cup sugar
                                                                              4 tablespoons strained lime juice
                                                                              3 ounces (about ¾ cup) macadamia nuts, chopped, but ground, in the food processor (see Note)
                                                                              sugar for rolling the cookies before baking
                                                                              2 cookies sheets or jelly roll pans covered with parchment or foil

                                                                              Preheat over to 350 degrees
                                                                              Mix dry ingredients together
                                                                              Cream butter and sugar until light. On a lower speed add 1/2 lime juice and then half of flour mixture.
                                                                              After scrapping down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining lime juice. then the nuts and finally the flour. Finish combining with a spatua.
                                                                              Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the dough into a shallow bowl with the sugar. Roll the dough until fully covered with the sugar and place on the covered baking sheets.
                                                                              Bake until golden brown around the edges about 15-18 mins. Cool on racks.

                                                                              HIS Note: Most shelled macadamia nuts commonly available are salted. To remove the salt, place the nuts in a strainer and shake them under running hot water. Place them on a pan like with paper towels and roll them around to dry. This treatment will remove as much of the salt as necessary to use the nuts in a recipe.

                                                                              My note- I add grated lime rind and don't bother straining the lime juice. When cool I frost with a confectioners sugar and lime juice glaze and sprinkle with seasonal decorations.

                                                                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                Thank you so much. I looked last night for recipes and they all just called for lime zest and not rolled in the sugar. You can find unsalted macadamia nuts at Trader Joes.

                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                              The least expensive I've seen is at Aldi's; selling a lb. of butter (unsalted or salted sweet cream butter) for 1.99. Although, they may raise it if the competition does....but they will still be cheaper than anyone else.

                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                You are lucky. The lowest price I have seen here is $2.50 per lb.

                                                                                1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                  Oh I agree. Having an Aldi's nearby has saved me on numerous occasions. I've seen them sell butter at 1.69 and 2.29 but it usually is 1.99.

                                                                                  1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                    I just picked up 4lbs of butter at Costco for less than $8. I'm sure the pricing is regional, but it might be worth a second look - I'm almost certain it's dropped a dollar or two in the last month or so.

                                                                                    1. re: jencounter

                                                                                      Man, I have to figure out where to buy butter cheaply in Toronto.. that price is fantastic!

                                                                                      1. re: rstuart

                                                                                        Cheapest I've found in NJ is Aldi's - maybe they have a similar policy in T.O. or environs? I think there's some dairy commission or something that regulates dairy prices in Ontario, though.

                                                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                                                    Foodtown has been selling butter for $1.88 lb.

                                                                                  3. re: sandylc

                                                                                    I just bought a four-pack of butter at Costco for eight dollars and some change. A single pack of butter at Market Basket (their brand - the cheapest) is $2.69. Costco's deal is slightly better.

                                                                                    1. re: BeachBum143

                                                                                      ditto, 4 pack 8.49 and I was thrilled. I should go get more.

                                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                        I over bought when it was 7.99 in august (it was an accident) and wrapped in foil to stash in the freezer. I've still got 6# so I should be good for the season :)
                                                                                        I work at a bakery and do the ordering (also the baking) and our wholesale butter prices have been really high the last couple of months, over $2.20/lb. Eggs and heavy cream have gone really high this year as well, up about 30% since January.

                                                                                        1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                          So smart! I too have purchased butter when its been on sale the last few months. I have enough for Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Dinner and baking, flour and sugar too, pumpkin puree. Butter has ran over $4 for a 4 pack, so I wait for sales.Then saw the price at Costco, and jumped on it. Cream there is cheaper by the way, milk about the same. I didn't price eggs because I try to get them as fresh as I can. I'm going to a farmer in town that sells fresh this week. I heard they were $2 doz, and so that's no so bad if fresh. The best news, my lemon and lime trees are almost ready, and my neighbor who gives me full rein on her pomegranate tree -well they are ready.
                                                                                          I also have pecans to crack yet. Tomorrow I think I'll jump the nuts and poms.

                                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                            Do you all have second fridge/freezers? We don't really have a good space for one, and we have a lot of family foods in the freezer, frozen vegetables, frozen waffles (yes, yes, the shame - well, nope, I'm over it - busy mom), chicken etc., so I can't buy or store a ton of butter or cookies. Cookie dough, yes. Cookies themselves - not so easily.

                                                                                            1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                              Just one fridge and one freezer - but we're recent empty-nesters who only have one kid anyway! But we are waiting for our second freezer to kick into effect - our garage! Unseasonably pretty warm this year in Minnehootah.

                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                I do have a second freezer in the garage. I grew up with one and can't imagine not having one! I sometimes cater weddings for friends out of my house and that and the double oven are necessities in my home.

                                                                                              2. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                We bought an ugly old fridge and a freezer from a second-hand appliance store, and we keep them in the garage. They are SO handy for everything from storing my holiday baking, to brining a turkey, to never having to run out of cold sodas and beer. Wish we'd done it years ago!

                                                                                                1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                  yes two fridges with freezers. I don't freeze butter usually, just the flour and nuts. I have a drawer designated for nuts (they last quite awhile) and I have all kinds of cornmeal, polenta, flour that goes in their own area. The meat, fish and poultry in another area. I don't buy that many frozen veggies. Corn for sure, some other things from TJ's. I don't know what I'd do, because I do save my leftovers, hambones, and make my own broths. - Oh and bread and dough, I freeze that. Just date and label it, wrap or use a food saver. We save so much $$ by doing this.

                                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                    Me too, it also helps running out to the store at the last minute for ingredients.

                                                                                                    When my kids were growing up, I used to freeze potato chicps, etc., for their lunches. I still don't keep bread on my counter, everything stays nice and fresh in the freezer.

                                                                                            2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                              I just got back from costco - it's less than $8 in So. Ca. I bought 8lbs.

                                                                                        2. I know I'll end up helping my mom make chocolate chip cookies off the Crisco box, even though I can't eat flour, because I really do enjoy her.

                                                                                          For me, not cookies per se, but I've been thinking about homemade sponge toffee dipped in a good espresso/chocolate/spicy syrup. I keep meaning to ask my sister if she can save a date to candy pecans and honey-curry glaze peanuts as hostess gifts. I found a couple of Weck jars that I can use for pretty preserved citrus fruits, and I want to try these 'coconut lime clouds' I found in a magazine. (Shredded coconut, lime zest, cornstarch, egg whites, cream of tartar, caster sugar, vanilla in a meringuey dealie, baked super-low so as presumably to resemble white clouds.) I'm going to try mulling wine for the first time, as it doesn't seem too difficult and I have a great bottle of red here.

                                                                                          Looks like I don't really emphasize cookies either, hey? :)

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: megjp

                                                                                            Candied pecans... preserved citrus... mmmm!

                                                                                            1. re: megjp

                                                                                              Yum, homemade sponge toffee.. would this also be known as angel food? An airy, crunchy caramel molasses flavored sugar confection? Would you mind sharing that recipe if you have one? My grandma used to make that every year- it is great in the winter when there is zero humidity, but it will get stale and chewy if left to a humid room.

                                                                                              1. re: daniellempls

                                                                                                I'm sure I've seen a recipe in a Nigella cook-book.. although it's called "Hokey-pokey" there..!

                                                                                            2. we made a TON of sugar cookie favors for a wedding at the bakery last week and the smell of butter and almond extract was just like christmas! Last year I did candy plates, and the year before bread and cranberry jam, but this year I'm thinking it's back to cookies, sugar with royal icing (I took up RI cookie decorating to help me rebuild fine motor skills after a hand injury) molasses cookies (KA recipe) and maybe a piped spritz. I've got plans to try out a cranberry orange bar cookie with fresh cranberries, but haven't had time yet. Now that my bridesmaid duties are over I'll have time to get stuff done! (I made the favors and the dresses)

                                                                                              1. I made Elisen Lebkuchen yesterday! I use my mother's recipe.

                                                                                                I bake two batches, each time I three fold this basic recipe:
                                                                                                2 Eggs
                                                                                                200 g Sugar
                                                                                                add small amount of Vanilla. I soak Vanilla bean in Rum with Sugar added
                                                                                                tip of spatula of ground Cloves
                                                                                                1 flat level teaspoon Cinnamon
                                                                                                1 teaspoon Rum ( see Vanilla)
                                                                                                small amount of Baking powder ( 1 teaspoon /triple batch)
                                                                                                a squeeze of Lemon
                                                                                                75 g candied Lemon peel
                                                                                                ca. 150 g peeled and ground Almonds
                                                                                                ca. 400 g ground Hazelnuts ( I always seem to need a bit more than that, so have more prepared at hand)
                                                                                                round wafers ( Obladen)
                                                                                                Beat eggs foamy, add ingredients one by one, add ground nuts until a non-flowing consistency is achieved. Dip knife in water and spread thickly onto the wafers.
                                                                                                Bake about 18 - 20 minutes at 330 degrees Fahrenheit.
                                                                                                Cool on rack, then apply glaze:
                                                                                                1. batch - apply dark chocolate thickly to cookies at the non-wafered side.
                                                                                                2. batch – newly opened reconstituted lemon juice to Confectioners sugar and mix until thick paste is obtained. Apply as thick frosting.
                                                                                                The Lebkuchen glaze will take a day to dry up sufficiently. Then stack in tightly closed tins and store cool.

                                                                                                1. Yes I am. I'm taking a complete day, very close to Christmas, to devote to making my macaron. Caramel, Vaniilla, Almond, Pistachio, Raspberry and Coffee. It will be an all-day endeavor, but worth every minute. I'm also thinking of the biscotti that my kids are always begging for. Gotta dig out my go-to biscotti recipe. These days I don't do the sugar cookies anymore because the kids are all grown. However, I am giddy over baking my buche d'noel. A big hit in our home and croquembuche. All fun desserts and so festive.

                                                                                                  1. And - following the theme of very seriously thinking about Christmas cookies - this is what I made today:
                                                                                                    Nürnberger Lebkuchen
                                                                                                    I threefold this recipe

                                                                                                    175 g honey
                                                                                                    50g sugar
                                                                                                    a tiny bit salt
                                                                                                    2 tablespoons butter
                                                                                                    1 tablespoon water
                                                                                                    1 tablespoon rum
                                                                                                    heat gently above ingredients to mix better, than cool down. (That is how the recipe reads. Not heating works just as well)

                                                                                                    1 egg yolk
                                                                                                    1 generous teaspoon cocoa
                                                                                                    a squeeze of lemon or a bit of grated lemon peel
                                                                                                    1 tip of spatula ground cloves
                                                                                                    1 flat teaspoon ground cinnamon
                                                                                                    250 g flour
                                                                                                    3 flat level teaspoons baking powder
                                                                                                    75 g peeled ground Almonds
                                                                                                    75 g ground Hazelnuts
                                                                                                    50 g finely diced candied Lemon
                                                                                                    75g finely diced dried Apricots. (Apricots in this recipe are very important)

                                                                                                    Mix the dough very well, then knead it. Then place the smooth dough into the refrigerator over night, tightly covered. Next day bring dough to room temperature.
                                                                                                    Roll out to about 1/2 cm thickness and stamp out cookies
                                                                                                    Bake at ca. 330 degrees Fahrenheit for about 18 minutes.
                                                                                                    Apply chocolate frosting, let dry overnight.
                                                                                                    Store in tight tin in cool place.
                                                                                                    These cookies taste best after resting for ca. 3 weeks, if possible….

                                                                                                    1. This year I think I am only making 1 kind of cookie since my friends aren't too into sweets. Going to make baby shortbread bites with toffee and chocolate chips. Also thinking about making homemade cocoa mix.

                                                                                                      But other things I thought about making is peanut butter butterscotch chippers, peanut butter pretzel & toffee bonbons and oreo truffles.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: vttp926

                                                                                                        Peanut butter pretzel and toffee bonbons? Sounds great.. do you have a recipe?

                                                                                                      2. Yes. Whatever it is about fall that makes me want to bake always brings me to thinking about Christmas cookies before the Halloween candy is even finished :)
                                                                                                        My list this year looks a lot like my list from last year, except for the fact that I agreed to take over the cookie cutter butter recipe, as no one else wants to attempt the patience that the butter dough requires for thin crispy cookies. I'm thinking about relinquishing the Mexican wedding cookies (pecan balls) to someone else, or risk not having them at all (!) because I just won't have the time to add another cookie without giving one up. 6 cookies is really the right amount for me- if I attempt to do any more, I start to get stressed and end up rushing at the last minute.
                                                                                                        Here it is:
                                                                                                        1. Seven layer cookies/Rainbow cookies/Venetian delights
                                                                                                        2. World Peace cookies
                                                                                                        3. Jam thumbprints (hazelnut dough)
                                                                                                        4. Buccellati (liquor-soaked, fig-stuffed, glazed)
                                                                                                        5. Coconut macaroons
                                                                                                        6. Butter cookies

                                                                                                        Cookies other family members will be making:
                                                                                                        1. Apricot foldovers
                                                                                                        2. Chocolate-dipped raspberry-filled almond cookie sandwiches
                                                                                                        3. Assorted Rugelach
                                                                                                        4. Pizzelles
                                                                                                        5. Hopefully, the pecan balls

                                                                                                        Cookies I've never made but would like to try if I magically end up with extra time:

                                                                                                        1. Jacques Torres' chocolate chip cookie (with dark chocolate pastilles and sea salt)
                                                                                                        2. Shortbread

                                                                                                        Happy Baking, everybody!

                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                          Seven layer cookies are so delicious but the recipes always sound like they take forever to make...

                                                                                                          1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                            But they don't! It's just like making a layer cake: I bake two layers at once and then the other color(because I can only fit 2 13x9 pans in the oven) and they only take 10-15 minutes each. Cool for 10 minutes, sandwich with microwaved jam, press down overnight, and in the morning spread some microwaved chocolate chips over the top. I always tell people, the hardest part is cutting it into all those little pieces!

                                                                                                            1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                              Well, as coll implied, they are not difficult cookies to make. But I will say that they definitely require the most steps of all cookies I make, and take the most time of all the recipes I listed. I'm not sure which recipe coll uses, but mine does call for mixing, baking and assembly all to be done in one day, weighing it down for several hours in a refrigerator, and chilling the layers thoroughly before assembly.
                                                                                                              However, it's true that cutting them is the most tedious part and the only part you can really mess up :)

                                                                                                              1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                                I make mine from a recipe I got at least 30 years ago from a women's magazine,don't have the original but I'm pretty sure the overnight thing was specified. I leave it out in the garage. It probably seems simple to me because I've been making them for so long. I also do other cookies that I bake ( I usually do at least 10 for Christmas), and then put together the next day, when you assemble them in two steps like that it's not so bad.

                                                                                                                The one thing that is strange, I always used melted Nestle choc chips for the top, but the last 5 years or so, after I let it dry it cracks terribly when I cut it. Now I cut it while the chocolate is still wet, but keep wondering if they changed the way they make the chocolate now. I've tried microwaving and doing a double boiler but still the same. This year I have Ghiardelli chips, curious to see if it's me or the chips!

                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                  Chips have emulsifiers in them that change how they melt, pour, set up, and cut. I use Ghirardelli 60% chocolate BARS (4 oz. each) instead. They coat better, taste better, and cut better.

                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                    I know Nestles alway had some kind of waxy stuff in it, but recently I think they upped the ante.

                                                                                                            2. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                              Those almond sandwich cookies sound good. I have some jars of chocolate raspberry jam that would be good in them. Would you provide a recipe or a link please?

                                                                                                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                Yes, I will get the recipe and post it for you. I will have to ask a family member for it, as it is not one the cookies I usually make.

                                                                                                                1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                  OK, here goes:

                                                                                                                  Almond Raspberry Sandwich Cookies dipped in Chocolate

                                                                                                                  2 Cups all-purpose flour
                                                                                                                  2 Sticks butter + 3 Tbsp
                                                                                                                  1/4 Cup sugar
                                                                                                                  1/2 Tbsp almond extract
                                                                                                                  1 Cup crushed almonds, divided in half
                                                                                                                  Red Raspberry Preserves or Jelly for filling
                                                                                                                  6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate for dipping

                                                                                                                  For the Dough:
                                                                                                                  Cream the butter and sugar, add the almond extract. Then mix in flour and add 1/2 cup crushed almonds until combined.
                                                                                                                  Roll the mixture into logs of equal size, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter consistently throughout the length. Wrap the logs in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours.

                                                                                                                  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

                                                                                                                  Remove the logs and slice into cookies about 1/4 inch thick. Bake on cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes until firm but not brown.

                                                                                                                  Melt together the chocolate, 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon of hot water.

                                                                                                                  Pair up cookie slices according to size and shape (they should match for nicer looking sandwiches).
                                                                                                                  Make sandwiches with red raspberry and dip one end of sandwich into warm melted chocolate mixture, then into the remaining crushed almonds.

                                                                                                                  1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the recipe. One question though- how do you crush the almonds? Blanched or not?

                                                                                                                    1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                      If I were making these cookies, I would probably prefer an uneven type of crush- perhaps just pulse them a few times in a grinder or food processor, then remove half of the almonds and pulse the second half a few more times until I get a rough powder. Then I would mix it all back together. You don't want the almonds for the exterior of the cookie to look too powdery, in my opinion. But this is really a personal preference in terms of getting the texture and look that you want. The cookie itself should have a crumbly but smooth texture- no big chunks of almond, but small pieces here and there work well.
                                                                                                                      The almonds are not blanched, but whether or not my aunt buys them roasted is anyone's guess. I would guess no- her almonds always look very white.

                                                                                                                      1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                                        I like your two stage almond crushing approach. That sounds like a great idea. I'm going to try it when I make nuts for the coating on my caramel acorns.

                                                                                                              2. Yes the butter is the cheapest at Aldi's at $1.99 and also at Save-a-lot it is $1.99. I got 4 pounds but that's for thanksgiving mostly and will need more for cookies. I am not doing many cookies this year as I will be busy with doctors appts and getting a drivers permit, and packing as me and my mom are going to stay with my brother for 3 months starting Jan 5 to March 30 in Myrtle Beach. So I plan to make Mexican Wedding cookies, Shortbread cubes with red white and green non parells, chocolate chunk cookies, and probally lime meltaways. I also plan to try making red hot cinnamon popcorn, and peppermint bark.

                                                                                                                1. as always, I have more recipes to try than I could possibly ever make. These are confirmed:
                                                                                                                  -Chocolate peppermint bark
                                                                                                                  -chocolate toffee pretzel bark
                                                                                                                  -Whipped shortbread
                                                                                                                  -Austrian Raspberry shortbread
                                                                                                                  -7-layer cookies (aka Hello Dollies)
                                                                                                                  -English toffee bars
                                                                                                                  -Sugar and spice pecans
                                                                                                                  I also tried Oreo truffles for the first time this year.. may try them again with peppermint oreos.
                                                                                                                  I like to try a few new recipes every year.. I'm trying to decide between the following..
                                                                                                                  -Nick Malgieri's lemon ginger bars
                                                                                                                  -Chocolate ginger cookies.. possibly Martha Stewart?
                                                                                                                  -Chocolate Mint Thumbprints from Baked Explorations
                                                                                                                  -Ginger crunch bars (donna hay) or Sticky Ginger squares from KAF.
                                                                                                                  -Cinnamon roll shortbread cookies (from the LCBO magazine last year)
                                                                                                                  That's ignoring all of the tempting truffle, caramels, and candy recipes I've clipped. Sigh..

                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                    I know bushwickgirl loves the Malgieri lemon ginger bars.
                                                                                                                    Cinnamon roll shortbread cookies? From the LCBO (letters that are music to my ears, my dad used to call it the in and out store) magazine? Recipe available?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                        Emme.. couldn't follow that link.. although it could just be me?
                                                                                                                        From the holiday 2009 issue:
                                                                                                                        It's an Anna Olson recipe.. which is always a good sign. The peppermint bark that I make every year is also from the LCBO holiday magazine... a lucy wavermen recipe.
                                                                                                                        This time of year, bars are better than cookies (although cookie scoops did go on my christmas list this year).
                                                                                                                        The chocolate thumbprints do look like a bit of a fuss..

                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                          The links don't work, but you can search cinnamon or shortbread and get the recipe.

                                                                                                                          Look very nice. As do a lot of their recipes. I'll take a Canadiano coffee with a shot of Wiser's, please.

                                                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                      Wow what is Whipped Shortbread that is new to me and sounds interesting.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LEsherick2007

                                                                                                                          It's an old family recipe.. basically, it's the kind of shortbread that melts in your mouth.. if you're interested, I can type out the recipe. A stand mixer is required!!

                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                            Yes please a recipe would be great if you can.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LEsherick2007

                                                                                                                              Whipped Shortbread
                                                                                                                              1 pound butter
                                                                                                                              1 cup icing sugar
                                                                                                                              1/2 C cornstarch
                                                                                                                              3 C flour
                                                                                                                              1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
                                                                                                                              -Mix butter and sugar well in electric mixer, add vanilla, cornstarch and flour and whip until very light (usually at least 5 or 6 minutes..)
                                                                                                                              Drop spoonfuls on to baking sheet and shape with fork.
                                                                                                                              Bake at 300 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
                                                                                                                              Cookies are quite delicate.. very light.
                                                                                                                              Should make 80-100 cookies.

                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                rstuart, what does "shape with fork" mean. I usually drop by teaspoonfuls and just bake. Thanks. :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                                  Yes, it's an old recipe with cryptic directions! You just mark the top with a fork, like you would peanut butter cookies. It's optional... just to make it "prettier". My mother and grandmother always topped them with a small piece of cut up maraschino cherry (I suspect for colour).. which I skip.

                                                                                                                      1. Upgrading Pecan Slice and Bake cookies? I am thinking of adding these (http://bakingbites.com/2009/07/butter...) to the Christmas cookie boxes because I have some fabulous pecans. I was thinking of lightly roasting and salting some pecans. Then chopping them and using them to coat the dough logs. What do you think?

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                          I think that sounds like a plan! My favorite recipe in terms of taste is a slice and bake hazelnut shortbread; this sounds similar. Rolling the logs in the pecans seems good to please the eye. Let me know if they turn out!

                                                                                                                        2. I've been wanting to try these Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies for years (scroll down):

                                                                                                                          I also just bought an electric krumkake baker, so I should probably make some.

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: emily

                                                                                                                            Emily. that is a great story.. with some great recipes!

                                                                                                                            1. re: emily

                                                                                                                              If you grew up with krumkake, the electric iron won't be the same. I have one because the classic irons I have really don't work on electric stoves like mine. It's still good, it's still tasty, but it's not as incredibly delicate and light a cookie when made with the electric iron. It's really more of a pizzelle with cardamom.

                                                                                                                              1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                Nice cookie, that Yugoslavian one.

                                                                                                                                1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                  I made the Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies and didn't like them as much as I thought I would. The meringue turned out to be a very thin layer and the jam dominated, when I would have preferred a heavier balance in favor of the walnuts.

                                                                                                                                2. We usually do
                                                                                                                                  Pecan Crunchies (shortbread rounds cut from a log)
                                                                                                                                  Hazelnut Tassies (mini pies)
                                                                                                                                  Thumbprint Raspberry Jam Cookies
                                                                                                                                  Walnut Grahams (you make caramel and add walnuts to it and pour it all over graham crackers and it's awesome)
                                                                                                                                  Peanut Kisses (peanut butter cookies with hersheys kisses)

                                                                                                                                  My sister has been perfecting peanut butter and jelly cookies (like thumbprint cookies but the peanut butter dough). I can't stand peanut butter it sweet things, but people LOVE THEM. She will bring them to bakes sales and sell out nearly instantly. She is known at her school for them. so i'm sure we'll have some of those around.

                                                                                                                                  1. I will make gingerbread cookies but that's it this year. Its the recipe that the cookies at Disneyland are made from and I really like the really pronounced ginger taste and soft/ chewy texture.

                                                                                                                                    My SIL is going to flip when she finds out I'm not making the little melt in your mouth buttercream filled sandwich cookies I usually do. It's a secret family recipe and they're really drop dead delicious but I'm not liking the attitude of them being expected these days. They're super time consuming and a lot of work since they're tiny and you have to make a lot of them to be able to gift them to a lot of people. No, not this year. I'm going to enjoy myself this year. :)

                                                                                                                                    Other than that the things I'm making will mostly be savory but there are some items like the ginger jelly on one of the "home made gifts" threads that I can't wait to try!

                                                                                                                                    1. So far I've made:

                                                                                                                                      chocolate crinkles
                                                                                                                                      lemon ice box cookies (Martha Stewart)
                                                                                                                                      sugar cut-outs
                                                                                                                                      chocolate-vanilla swirls

                                                                                                                                      peanut butter date candy (looks like a buckeye but with dates and walnuts inside)
                                                                                                                                      apple cider caramels
                                                                                                                                      mint chip bark

                                                                                                                                      I've got some pecan logs in the fridge, and want to get some krumkake, something gingerbreadish (pfeffernuesse? ginger-choc?), something German, some kind of fingerprint, maybe some cookie sticks done.

                                                                                                                                      I've got a lot of extra time this year so I figure I'll make the best of it.

                                                                                                                                      My brother's bringing almond roca and my sister will also make the peanut butter date candy.

                                                                                                                                      1. I started baking today with
                                                                                                                                        Gingerbread biscotti
                                                                                                                                        Coffee thins
                                                                                                                                        Red and green stripped shortbread stacks

                                                                                                                                        and will continue until completed with

                                                                                                                                        Nutty bar with pretzel crust
                                                                                                                                        Chocolate crinkles
                                                                                                                                        Peanut butter kisses with a 1/4 peanut butter cup inside
                                                                                                                                        Mexican wedding cookies
                                                                                                                                        Sugar cookie cutouts
                                                                                                                                        Carmel corn

                                                                                                                                        For gifts, I put assorted cookies into medium mason jars with a big red ribbon around the lid and freeze until time to give them away. They stay fresh and still taste great.

                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: charlotteowens

                                                                                                                                          I have to ask, do you have a spare freezer too? (As you may have noticed above, I have freezer envy!)

                                                                                                                                          Last night I started baking with Mexican wedding cakes, but I dusted with a bit of ground cloves and sprinkled each with a drop of rose water, so hopefully they will taste a little like Greek Christmas cookies, kourambiedes. They're in the freezer; we'll see how they taste in a week or two when they emerge!

                                                                                                                                          I use rubbermaid containers and wax paper for freezer storage, then repack the cookies for gifting - using tins, plates, or holiday-decorated "Chinese takeout boxes."

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                            So do I Julia.. I live in a 600-square foot condo, and don't really have much room for cookies in the freezer (which is currently full of butter and frozen berries!). I dream of a chest freezer, although I don't know where I'd put it. I tend to make things I know will keep, or barks/nuts that are fine in the fridge.. it means that I can't start too early though, so December tends to be really busy!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                              Ahh, you all too? I absolutely adored the chest-style deep freezer my ex-boyfriend showed me in his basement when I visited him the one time. I've wanted one so badly ever since, and I can scrape the money together even, but since I don't pay for the utilities and it uses way too much power, so all I have is a mini-fridge... /sigh

                                                                                                                                              Oh well. Maybe when I move.

                                                                                                                                              Anywho, since I'm addicted to those Contessa Lebkuchen cakes, I might give making it a shot this year since I have pretty much no money left to buy the prepackaged ones with. Thinking Swedish Waffle Cookies, maybe Autumn Leaves if I can find cookie cutters, Almond Poppy Tea Cookies, those Double Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies that are such a hit when I make them. And some of the recipes lifted off this thread, www.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: charlotteowens

                                                                                                                                            Could we possibly have the nutty bar with pretzel crust recipe? Ooh momma!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                              Pretzel crust! Egads, I should have thought of that when I was developing my white chocolate peppermint bar recipe on Sunday. My crust was good, but wow, a pretzel crust would have been SO MUCH BETTER. Must make again!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                Would you share your white chocolate peppermint bar recipe? I've been looking for something minty to add to my old standbys.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: marisold

                                                                                                                                                  And here's the recipe on which I riffed to create them. As much as I liked my new variation, nothing will ever replace this classic chocolate/mint confection on my cookie tray.

                                                                                                                                                  Creme de Menthe Bars

                                                                                                                                                  First layer:
                                                                                                                                                  --1/2 cup butter, melted
                                                                                                                                                  --4 T cocoa powder
                                                                                                                                                  --1/2 c powdered sugar
                                                                                                                                                  --1 egg, slightly beaten
                                                                                                                                                  --2 cups graham cracker crumbs
                                                                                                                                                  --1 cup finely chopped nuts

                                                                                                                                                  Press into a 9x13 pan, refrigerate for an hour or so.

                                                                                                                                                  Second Layer
                                                                                                                                                  Beat together in a mixer:
                                                                                                                                                  --3/4 cups butter, melted
                                                                                                                                                  --4 T creme de menthe (the green stuff this time! )
                                                                                                                                                  --3 c powdered sugar
                                                                                                                                                  -4 T instant vanilla pudding powder
                                                                                                                                                  Beat and spread over the first layer. Refrigerate until set.

                                                                                                                                                  Third layer:
                                                                                                                                                  --Melt 1/2 cup butter and 2 cups chocolate chips. Spread on top and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                  Cut in small bars. Care should be used not to touch the chocolate top when cutting to avoid fingerprints.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                    This looks like a real crowd-pleaser and something a little different. Thanks so much for sharing.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: marisold

                                                                                                                                                      Here's the white chocolate version (original post with link was removed):

                                                                                                                                                      WHITE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT BARS

                                                                                                                                                      First Layer:

                                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup butter, melted
                                                                                                                                                      2 T white chocolate instant pudding mix
                                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup powdered sugar
                                                                                                                                                      1 egg, slightly beaten (can use ultra-pasteurized egg beaters or egg whites)
                                                                                                                                                      2 cups Nilla Wafer crumbs
                                                                                                                                                      1 cup finely ground nuts (I used almond meal, but walnuts or pecans also work nicely.)

                                                                                                                                                      Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Refrigerate for one hour.

                                                                                                                                                      Second Layer:
                                                                                                                                                      Beat together:
                                                                                                                                                      3/4 cups butter, melted
                                                                                                                                                      4 T peppermint schnapps (The clear variety. If you use Creme de Menthe, your filling will be green. Which is also pretty, but not what I was going for here).
                                                                                                                                                      3 cups powdered sugar
                                                                                                                                                      4 T instant white chocolate pudding mix
                                                                                                                                                      red food coloring (I used a small squirt of Americolor Super Red gel food coloring)

                                                                                                                                                      Beat together and spread over the first layer. Refrigerate until set (at least 30 minutes).

                                                                                                                                                      Third Layer:
                                                                                                                                                      Melt 1/2 cup butter and 2 cups chocolate chips together. Mix, and spread over the second layer. If desired, melt some red candy melts and dollop the red chocolate on top of the white. While both the red and the white chocolates are still warm, use a toothpick to swirl the red and white chocolate together to create a marbleized effect.

                                                                                                                                                      Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                      Cut into small bars, and take care not to touch the top of the bars when cutting to avoid fingerprints. Store in the refrigerator.

                                                                                                                                                      I think they'd be great with crushed candy canes on top instead of the swirls, too. That would add an interesting bit of crunchy texture to the bars. Next batch!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                        Oh man.. those are so pretty! Thanks for sharing..

                                                                                                                                                2. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                  Your bar looks very tasty - still dying for the nutty pretzel one!

                                                                                                                                            2. I've been working on my list for our annual open house for cookies and spiced cider. My usual ones are: peanut butter w/ Hershey kisses, fruitcake cookies w/ icing, haystacks, raspberry-lemon thumbprints, chocolate w/ candy bar filling, and white chocolate w/ orange. I'll add a couple of others, probably something with mint, and maybe some microwave peanut brittle as well. I also serve a couple of savory things to offset all that sweetness, but the cookies and cider are the main event. I've done this for over 20 years, and it's always one of the best things about the holidays for us.

                                                                                                                                              1. I have made the springerle cutouts. They are drying now, and will go in the oven later or tomorrow. Some look pretty good; others are blurry. What I learned: I had to add a good deal more flour than the recipe called for. Perhaps because I was using the orange oil, which is more than the anise oil. I think I added at least two more cups of cake flour. Also, it seems to me that because I left half the dough on the counter (wrapped up) while having dinner, it relaxed too much and the cookies I made after that weren't printed as well. Next time I'll refrigerate it.

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                  I normally use approx. two additional cups of flour as well, which includes the flour needed to sprinkle on my pastry cloth, on top of the dough, etc. But I find I need to use extraordinary strengh to press my mold into the dough to get a good imprint (honestly, I'm usually sore the next day). Do make sure you test bake one cookie to see how it behaves - again, if it puffs too much you can always lower your oven temp. and bake them a little longer. It's hard to explain their texture - they're not crunchy, or crumbly; they seem to have an interior of firm/flakey layers (at least mine do!).

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                    I definitely used more extra flour than that. A ton. Not sure why - maybe I got unusually large "large" eggs?

                                                                                                                                                    Okay, I will test bake one.

                                                                                                                                                    I cheated on the molding. Mine is a six-cookie mold. I rolled out the dough, pressed the mold onto the dough, then cut around the mold, flipped it over with the dough on top of it, and used my fingers to push the dough into it. Then I turned it over onto the cookie sheet and cut out each cookie. Since it's a pretty deep mold, there's probably an indentation at the back of each cookie where my fingers were pushing into the dough! Next time perhaps I should roll the dough out thicker.

                                                                                                                                                2. Momofuku compost cookies
                                                                                                                                                  Black and whites
                                                                                                                                                  Ginger crinkles
                                                                                                                                                  Salty chocolate Nutella thumbprints

                                                                                                                                                  1. I stopped baking cookies years ago and enjoy the holidays so much more :)

                                                                                                                                                    I've been invited to a Cookie Exchange (my second ever). Now I know you need to package the cookies in small bundles so it's easy for people to take them home.

                                                                                                                                                    I'm not a baker. What cookie to make?

                                                                                                                                                    Last year I made a Paul Dean cookie and IMHO I thought it was one of the 2 worst cookies at the Exchange.


                                                                                                                                                    Feeling trapped in suburgatory!

                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: financialdistrictresident


                                                                                                                                                      Look at this thread from January. Some great cookies on there. In my first post, there is a picture of Chocolate Crunch Cookies and Peanut Butter Fudge. I highly recommend the Chocolate Crunch Cookies to you for several reasons:

                                                                                                                                                      1. They are delicious!!! You would never know the only ingredients are a mix of chocolates and cornflakes. Seriously, people love them, ask me for the recipe, and then do not believe it.

                                                                                                                                                      2. They are easy!!! No bake! Just get a large pot, melt chocolates, gently fold in the cornflakes then spoon onto pans and let them cool.

                                                                                                                                                      3. This recipe makes tons!!! I make them small, and they go a long way.

                                                                                                                                                      4. They're delicious!!! O.K., I already said that but it was worth repeating.


                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks so much, TrishUntrapped :)

                                                                                                                                                        I will check the thread out.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                                                                                                                          I make chocolate pretzel toffee bark is that is really really easy.. and totally addictive. You don't need to turn on the oven or use the stovetop!
                                                                                                                                                          HEre is the recipe (scroll down to the bottom)

                                                                                                                                                    2. Could you please post the shortbread recipe that comes with the snowflake pan. I have a similar pan and I would like the recipe and baking temp and time....thanks

                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: angelsmom

                                                                                                                                                        I've been told that the recipe that comes with the pan is not ideal. But chowhound member "chuck" posted a traditional shortbread recipe which I've used in the pan with good success. Here it is (with my modifications/notes):

                                                                                                                                                        Ingredients: 3 C flour; 5/8 C sugar; 1/2 tsp salt, 2 sticks butter (at room temperature)

                                                                                                                                                        Thoroughly mix dry ingredients. Using two forks, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. This will take some time, so be patient.

                                                                                                                                                        GENTLY, with as little handling as possible, form dough into round ball. [I had to add a few tablespoons of water to get the dough to clump – do this a few T at a time; mix the dough around with your hand (truly); add more water if needed.] Refrigerate this for about 30 minutes, to re-chill the butter.

                                                                                                                                                        Pat or roll gently onto a baking sheet until you have a flat round or rectangular "cookie," about 1/4 inch thick. I had prepared my mold/pan with a little oil and flour, but I don't know if that's necessary as I was using the nonstick snowflake pan.

                                                                                                                                                        If not using a mold/pan, score the dough into pieces about 1x2 inches, but do not cut all the way through.

                                                                                                                                                        If pressing into a prepared pan, prick the back of the shortbread all over with a fork.

                                                                                                                                                        Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until edges of shortbread are browning, but not too dark. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on baking sheet. Cut along scored lines into individual cookies. ENJOY!

                                                                                                                                                        NOTE: Store the shortbread at room temperature, in a well-sealed tin or bowl. Homemade shortbread will last quite a while, if properly stored (stacked with wax paper in containers). I'm told it also freezes well.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks, I had seen this on your original post, but my pan will not hold this much .....with 3 cups of flour. This was the reason I had asked for the original.....many thanks though.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: angelsmom

                                                                                                                                                            cut the recipe in half... or thirds...

                                                                                                                                                      2. I just picked up the December Bon Appétit and saw this: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/201...
                                                                                                                                                        OH. MY. GOODNESS. Want a whole lot.

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                          Oh my god.. I have to make it
                                                                                                                                                          Peanuts are the one nut I will tolerate in baked goods.. caramel +blondies+ pretezels=awesome.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                            Got peanuts today to make it. Too sexy not to fall for!

                                                                                                                                                        2. Okay, have had a number of failures over the past 24 hours with recipes I'm trying for the first time.

                                                                                                                                                          - Springerle mostly didn't cook through the first time - 10-12 minutes not enough; 15-20 cooks it through but the designs disappear a lot. Next time - maybe less hartshorn than the recipe calls for.

                                                                                                                                                          - Yesterday - shortbread didn't cook through; had to keep putting it back in the oven - too thick; I should have rolled it out before pressing into the pan.

                                                                                                                                                          - Chocolate "nut" dough recipe from King Arthur Flour was too sticky to mold so I baked it in shortbread pan instead - but can't see designs on top and too rich-tasting.

                                                                                                                                                          - Golden "nut" dough recipe from House on the Hill - also too sticky; next time I will add a ton more flour and to heck with the tenderness - and it tastes "artificial" - I flavored it with HotH's hazelnut oil - bummer; I'd thought it would taste awesome but it did not.

                                                                                                                                                          I may cheer myself up by making a tried-and-true gingerbread cookie recipe with my girls tonight.

                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                            Julia, so frustrating when new recipes fail.. especially when you waste expensive ingredients on them!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for the sympathy! Fortunately there are some cookie recipients on my list who will eat almost anything sweet. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                              I was able to revive the remaining golden "nut" dough in my fridge; I added a ton of flour and some more sugar and flavorings (cinnamon and allspice, not more of that hazelnut oil) and the remaining ones molded and baked properly.

                                                                                                                                                          2. I am looking for a recipe for Michigan Rock Cookies. They are my husband's favorite Christmas cookie. His mom used to make them for him, but she is no longer around and I would love to surprise him this year. They had candied cherries and pineapple.....no nuts.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. Just took the butter out to soften for my first round of Christmas baking. I'm doing butterballs today, from the Silver Palate Cookbook. My boyfriend and I are decorating our tree tonight and I've always eaten butterballs while tree-decorating ever since I was little (they were my dad's annual Christmas cookie).

                                                                                                                                                              When I looked at the recipe, I found to my great pleasure that it doesn't include any eggs (I'd forgotten this fact). This makes it perfect for giving to my neighbour, who has a serious egg allergy. So I'm only going to bake up a few cookies to eat tonight and will freeze the rest for later baking and gifting.

                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                                Isn't that great! Is butterballs another name for Mexican Wedding Cake / Russian Teacake cookies?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                                    As far as I can tell, butterballs is another name for the Mexican wedding cake/Russian teacake cookies made with pecans. I've seen recipes for Mwc/Rtc with various types of nuts, but only seen them called butterballs when made with pecans. Although I haven't spent a great deal of time looking so I could be completely wrong about this.

                                                                                                                                                                    The Silver Palate recipe calls for honey instead of sugar in the dough, which adds a nice flavour and we've always rolled half the batch in powdered sugar and half the batch in a cocoa-sugar mix. Tastes just like Christmas!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                                    I made a half batch of these myself yesterday (with walnuts instead of pecans) - the half batch made 12 perfect cookies, which my husband and I promptly demolished. So simple but SO delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                  3. Am finalizing today and tomorrow the cookies/treats that will go in a care package to troops in Afghanistan. 15 individual care packages each containing:
                                                                                                                                                                    Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
                                                                                                                                                                    my signature Oatmeal and a couple of other originals
                                                                                                                                                                    Cranberry Biscotti with a Cream Cheese Drizzle - it's only a drizzle, but i'm concerned about the potential for rancidity depending upon time of travel
                                                                                                                                                                    Lemon Maple Pistachio Granola Bars
                                                                                                                                                                    Rice Krispy Treats in several flavors - Cinnamon Roll, German Chocolate, and Strawberries & Cream
                                                                                                                                                                    Undecided on a Bar Cookies
                                                                                                                                                                    Contemplating some savory "Sundried Tomato Soup Crackers"

                                                                                                                                                                    definitely the Christmas cookies i'm most looking forward to making!

                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm making the Date Nut Refrigerator Cookies someone posted this year, and was thinking of making cream cheese frosting to jazz them up. But I also am wondering how long that would hold up for the ones I ship, or if there is a way to stabilize it? I was thinking very thin, like a glaze (as yours sounds) might be best. Mine are only going around the US though.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                        i do mine with softened butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon juice... i don't like mine too sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                          Ah the lemon juice is a nice idea, makes it thinner and possibly preserves it a bit. I'll play with the proportions, thanks for the idea.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                            1/2 a teaspoon or so doesn't thin it all that much ;), but i find the acid balance necessary :)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                              I love lemon juice in everything, already added to my tentative recipe!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                it's my secret ingredient (even in small dosages) in many preparations! now if you really want to take the drizzle over the top, brown the butter first, then let it re-solidify and soften slightly again before you make the drizzle...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh thanks for the tip, I make a browned butter icing for my applesauce cake and it is so much better than plain. I'm starting to think these cookies might be a big hit.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. So far I've made:

                                                                                                                                                                      Thumbprint Cookies (an oldie from my mom--butter cookies rolled in walnuts with jam in the centers)
                                                                                                                                                                      Rice Krispie Date Nut Coconut Cookies (a.k.a. Santa’s Hairy Balls)
                                                                                                                                                                      Santa’s Whiskers (meringue cookies with chocolate chips and walnuts)
                                                                                                                                                                      Bittersweet Chocolate Decadence (kind of a letdown--very chocolate-y but otherwise kind of hard and uninteresting)

                                                                                                                                                                      This weekend I have dough for Chocolate Crinkles (another classic of my mom's) and Jammie Dodgers (for the Dr. Who fans at my husband's office) in the fridge, to be baked tomorrow. I have a couple of pans of salt caramels cooling on the counter. I'm also going to try some new Hazelnut Meringues. I also have a 13-pound bag of walnuts to shell--already did ten pounds of pecans. The walnuts will probably go into some date-nut bread before Christmas, among other things. I've already done a couple of pecan pies and I have at least one more to make for a fundraising auction at work.

                                                                                                                                                                      I've started calling it my Annual Holiday Baking Frenzy™. But I only started after Thanksgiving, which makes me feel like a slacker. My mother and aunts would start their holiday baking in October, and have their freezers full by the end of November!

                                                                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                                                                                                                                        Could you share your Thumbprint Cookie recipe? I'd like to make some this year but I don't really like the recipe that I've used in the past.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                          Sure! A lot of recipes go in and out of my rotation, but I make these just about every year. They have a nice buttery taste and a texture that's just crumbly enough, without ending up with too many broken ones. They freeze well (without the jelly), which is another plus. I've found that the large end of the pestle from my mortar and pestle is perfect for pressing them down in the centers, and saves my thumb from getting burned on the second round.

                                                                                                                                                                          Thumbprint Cookies
                                                                                                                                                                          (from the kitchen of Evelyn McGhee)

                                                                                                                                                                          1 cup butter
                                                                                                                                                                          1/2 cup light brown sugar
                                                                                                                                                                          2 eggs, separated
                                                                                                                                                                          1/2 tsp. vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                          2 cups flour
                                                                                                                                                                          1 t. baking soda
                                                                                                                                                                          3/4 tsp. salt
                                                                                                                                                                          2 cups chopped walnuts

                                                                                                                                                                          Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Sift together flour, soda and salt and add to sugar mixture. Form into balls the size of a walnut, dip in slightly-beaten egg whites, and roll in chopped nuts. Place on a greased cookie sheet and press down slightly in the center with your thumb. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and press down in center again. Bake another 10 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                          Just before serving, put a dab of jelly in the center of each cookie.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                                                                                                                                              MMM - I was going to make the thumbprint cookies last night but in reading the recipe I noted that it said to place the cookies on a Greased cookie sheet. Is that right? Do you need to grease the sheets if you use parchment paper? What if I omit the nuts; is grease still needed? thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                I never grease for cookies using parchment.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                  Surfing recipes on the Internet, I recently found a couple that called for lining the cookie sheets with parchment paper and then greasing the parchment. I can't see any reason to do that.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't know--I grease the sheet but don't use parchment with these. I imagine you could do either. And you *could* leave off the nuts...but unless somebody is allergic and you just have to, I wouldn't--they add a lot!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                                                                                                                                                    Trish & MMM - Thank you both. I will include the nuts but try on ungreased parchment.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                    I never grease the parchment and cookies come off just fine. And then you can reused the parchment for subsequent batches.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The newer parchment has silicone on it too I believe, which is there to make things come off even easier.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                      Aha Karykat, I think you've got it! I noticed parchment has changed from years ago when I first used it. I used to grease and flour it. But no more. I use it with nothing and cookies pop off just fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                        Made the thumprints 2 nights ago, placing on ungreased parchment paper. Lifted off just fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                        (I was not that happy with how the cookies turned out, however, but that is more a comment on my skills. They were too "blob-like." This is the second year that I've made them, using different recipes both years, and I've concluded that I probably am not going to do them again, as they just don't seem to work for me. Next year, I am making more spritz cookies instead, as they turned out great -- both in taste and appearance.)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Has anyone ever mailed linzer cookies WITH THE JAM in them? I will of course be layering things between wax paper, but still - I think the linzers might get soggy... do you think three or four days is probably pushing it? Maybe I'll skip the linzers in the assortments I'm mailing, and just keep them all for next week.

                                                                                                                                                                              I now have made and in the freezer:

                                                                                                                                                                              linzers - Dorie Greenspan recipe with modification
                                                                                                                                                                              gingerbread - simple cookies I make every year
                                                                                                                                                                              russian tea cookies - how can you go wrong
                                                                                                                                                                              springerle - some came out okay

                                                                                                                                                                              Failures (tried a new recipe I didn't like):
                                                                                                                                                                              chocolate nut molded cookies
                                                                                                                                                                              golden nut molded cookies

                                                                                                                                                                              Today I bought oranges (for zest) so tomorrow I can bake a batch of biscotti to add to the first tins, and call it final for this week - at this point the remaining recipes I'd like to try are all the sort of thing that I believe don't freeze well. Do meringues and barks freeze well? (Off I go to google.)

                                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                                                I've made sandwich cookies with jam in them and shipped to folks across the country and they didn't get soggy. I still get comment even though it was two years ago! Simple recipe but not linzer. I don't think you'll have a problem but I'd recommend packing them in their own zip top sandwich bag. That's what I did; each cookie type was in it's own bag and then put inside the tin.

                                                                                                                                                                                Good luck and good baking!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                                                  I always ship linzers fully made, and several other jam filled cookies. Often make pignolia cookies which are meringue. I just put them on the platter with the rest, don't pack them specially. I want that pretty presentation when they open the package. I never freeze anything, I make the cookies throughout the week before and stash in the garage; if you live in a place where it's getting cool out this is a great way to store them. They really last for weeks to tell the truth (I always make WAY too many), I've been doing this since I was married 35 years ago so I've tested it out under all conditions!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                    Jam-filled linzer cookies are included in my assortment, and I agree with you about "that pretty presentation" when the package is opened by the recipient (in fact, I often receive comments about the presentation!). My linzer recipe does have you simmer the jam (I use seedless raspberry) for a few minutes, then cool it, which makes it "tackier". It develops a more intense flavor & "stays in one place" for lack of a better description.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                      I microwave mine to make it easier to spread, so maybe you're right about the heating before spreading factor.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you all!!! This is very helpful - it means that with today's biscotti, my assortment for the Californian siblings is complete.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm very happy with the biscotti, by the way - Tartine's hazelnut recipe with orange zest and Cointreau; I used a mix of hazelnuts and pistachios (for color), and added craisins and chopped apricots. They're cooling now. Need to get them out of the house before I eat them! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Julia_T

                                                                                                                                                                                          Reading that over today, it sounds fatuous - sorry. I was just excited despite my advanced age, heh. Those went to our brothers and close friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. The only cookies I know for sure that I'm doing are Italian Meatball Cookies. They were a huge hit last year and I was asked to make them again. Still trying to figure out what other cookies I will be doing with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChristyM1223

                                                                                                                                                                                    Could you share the recipe for the Italian Meatball Cookies please?