This year for Christmas I want to give out gift bags of cookies for gifts. I love to bake and its easier with the new baby than trying to buy gifts. I'm not looking for sugar cookies (I know how to make those). What I want are cookies that are special or maybe a little weird. Italian cookies would be awesome but any nationality would be good too! Nothing too expensive though (I'm on a budget here!)
While not traditional; "christmas" cookie I made smitten kitchen potato chips cookies last year and they were a huge hit.
I made these last weekend and they were amazing:
and of course swedish thumb print cookies!
re: blue room
Yours are pretty different than mine but I have strayed from the original recipe that I was taught.
3 Egg Whites
2 tsp Lemon Juice
9oz. Bakers Sugar
Make a soft Meringue, reserve 6 T. for glaze
2 tsp. Gr. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Lemon Zest
10oz. Toasted Hazelnut Flour
Chill for 30min or so
Divide into 2
Roll using Powdered Sugar 5mm thick
Cut , Glaze and Bake on Parchment 325 F 20 - 30min
Cool on Wire Racks
My husband makes Mexican wedding cookies from a recipe that I think is the best I have ever had. They are basically a pecan shortbread ball rolled in powdered sugar. I do homemade candy at Christmas and do not eat many cookies, so I don't have too many ideas. Some of the favorites I have had have been pecan tassies, Mexican wedding, and ranger cookies. I also love brown-eyed Susans.
Not that great at baking cakes/pies, but cookies I CAN do. I don't do anything extravagant, but some are expected at the holidays. I HAVE to make "dog bones"... regular ginger bread cookies with bone cookie cutter. Make usual chocolate chips and peanut butter (with fork marks). Like spritz but too tedious for me... I lose patience when press doesn't cooperate.
Had a happy mistake several years ago. Niece and (then) boyfriend came over and we went out and cut down a tree. Did decorating and lots of cooking eating. Had found a recipe for cholocate butter cookies to come outta press (Land-o-Lakes, I think). So the boyfriend took over the "tool" (press) and was squeezing out things that looked like DOG POOP piles from a small dog!! We HOWLED cuz they look grossly real... tasty "dog turds" became the name.
I'll make pizzelles... discovered that my never used, yard sale waffle iron has pizzelle thing on reverse side. Last year tried to make "cigars"... rolled HOT pizzelles around a fat chop stick and then dipped in melted chocolate. They were not the prettiest thing, but they disappeared!
Like pinwheel date cookies... too much work for me.
When sil first got K-aid stand mixer was RAVING about it!?! I was thinking... NO WAY I was gonna spend $200+ for one when I didn't bake a lot. She MADE me take hers home on Thanksgiving... with instructions that I to return it the following weekend. Once weather turns cold, no such thing as SOFT room temp butter in my kitchen. Made 4-5 different batches (double/triple) of doughs in no time with butter that was NOT terribly soft even after sitting on counter for a few hours.
Even as a kid, liked FRUIT CAKE... me and my grandmother. Made Alton Brown's "free range" fuit cake a few years ago. Not cheap to make... lots of GOOD dried REAL fruit... but really tasty.
You might find some good recipes in a great thread from a couple of years ago, called "Not your average Christmas cookies": http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/740858
And if you're a fan of almonds, you'll probably like this holiday staple of my family's, which I've shared here in the past:
Marzipan Shortbread (Makes 3 dozen)
8 ounces butter
8 ounces almond paste
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 cups flour
Preheat oven to 325F. Cream butter, almond paste, and sugar until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, then gradually add flour until it's completely incorporated. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and press flat (to about 2-inches across) with floured shortbread stamps or the floured bottom of a glass. Bake on ungreased baking sheets for about 10 minutes, until just beginning to color. Cool on a rack, then store cookies in airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Dough keeps well in refrigerator if well wrapped, too.