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Best Christmas Cookies

hello everyone,
I have arranged Christmas party at my home. I have invited my friends and relatives in this party. I am thinking of making something different this time.
i thought about cookies. But I am not getting about any new flavors. Can anyone please suggest me a new flavor of cookies for this year Christmas party.??
Thank you..

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  1. In my home and the homes of most my friends Christmas cookies are all about traditions not the newest thing. Why not tell us what kind cookies you usually make and what you do/don't like about them. Maybe one our traditions will be "new" to you?

    Also check out a search of this site for Christmas Cookies. There are literally HUNDREDS of threads on them. Could be fin reading thru them for ideas.
    http://www.chow.com/search?q=christma...

    1. Earl Grey Tea cookies are an easy-to-make shortbread cookie with a nice flavor from the dry tea that's mixed into the batter.

      http://food.realsimple.com/realsimple...

      Chai crescents from the 2007 Minneapolis Star Tribune cookie contest were delicious.
      http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/...

      Chocolate Covered Cherry cookies are labor intensive, but worth it! An online version of recipe that's close to the one I use is here - I use 1/2 tsp soda, this recipe calls for 1/4 tsp. And I get 4-dozen (36) cookies from a batch so must make mine smaller. That requires about another half-jar of cherries.

      http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chocolat...

      1 Reply
      1. re: MidwesternerTT

        hello MidwesternerT,
        thanks for sharing this wonderful links. I'll surely try one them.

      2. How about Savory cookies this year? I've seen recipes for herb and cheese cookies that go great with wine.

        http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/d...

        1. I think you should make 2-3 types of cookies. How many people are you serving? Some recipes are changeable enough to make a few flavors. Maybe one dough for 2 cookies and then a separate cookie.

          It's nice to mix up the styles too - bar, drop, rolled, etc.

          2 Replies
          1. re: youareabunny

            hmm.. this is nice idea... thank you so much for yous response. And i am going to serve approximately 30 to 35 people.

            1. re: prachishah

              Google "cookie dough recipe with variations" and that will give you ideas for a base dough and what you can add to it. Maybe make 2-3 types of cookies with this dough. Try to make then look a little different, looks is a big factor with cookies.

              Then for a 3rd type make them different, bar cookies or something.

          2. I am assuming you mean new, for you? My most popular are Rainbow Cookies, rugalach, World Peace, bourbon balls, NY style bakery cookies (sandwich dipped in chocolate on one end) and Linzer tarts. After 40 years, these are the ones that people request, and tell me I HAVE to make.

            1 Reply
            1. re: coll

              Rugalach is a great suggestion. Works well for a crowd.

              It's simple enough to double or triple the pastry ingredients and then you can fill each round you roll out with a different filling before cutting and forming the crescents.

            2. Don't know if you'd consider it "cookie" enough, but copycat recipes abound for the Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars. My friends have now demand them from me every year, to the point I made at least 6-7 batches last December.

              7 Replies
              1. re: pine time

                Yes, I make those every Christmas too! They're great..

                1. re: pine time

                  Oh yum. Can one of you share the recipe?

                  I'd also suggest some easy fudge. Nigella has a great recipe that is dead simple in her Express book. I usually sub walnuts for the pistachios, but the pistachios add a nice seasonal color.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    There are several versions floating around on the Web. Here's the one I've settled on:

                    Cranberry Bliss Bars/Knock-off

                    For cake base:
                    1 c soft butter
                    1 1/4 c packed brown sugar (I prefer dark)
                    3 large eggs
                    1 tsp ground ginger
                    1 tsp vanilla
                    1/4 tsp salt
                    1 1/2 c flour
                    1/4 c minced dried cranberries
                    1/4 c Lindt or Perugina white chocolate/coarsely chopped
                    1/4 c minced candied ginger

                    For frosting:
                    4 oz soft cream cheese
                    1 1/2 c powdered sugar
                    2 Tbl soft butter
                    1 tsp vanilla

                    For garnish:
                    2 Tbl minced dried cranberries (I double this)
                    1/3 c melted white chocolate chips (Ghiradelli or Guittard)

                    Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13" pan.
                    Beat butter & sugar for cake, add eggs, vanilla till fluffy. Sift flour, ginger, salt--add to butter mixture. Fold in cranberries, chocolate and ginger. Spread batter (will be thick) in pan, bake 20-25", until light gold. Cool.

                    Mix all frosting ingredients & spread thinly over cake. Immediately sprinkle w/ cranberries. Drizzle melted white chocolate (cake decorator w/ small tip or Ziploc with a tiny corner cut off).

                    Cut immediately into diagonal bars (white chocolate will harden quickly, making cutting tough otherwise).
                    Note: make sure your ground ginger and candied ginger are fresh & strongly flavored--otherwise, they're dust.

                    1. re: pine time

                      Thank you so much - I think this will be a nice little treat for us to make together. Lulu just made her first layer cake (pretty much by herself, but not totally) and is raring to go with other cooking projects.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        It's a great recipe LulusMoms.. I've used a few versions, and they are all quite similar to that.. Lulu will love them!

                        1. re: rstuart

                          Thanks for the second rstuart. They seem like they have a strong taste similarity with the Ottolenghi cookies we love so much (which also use white chocolate and cranberries). Closer to Christmas we'll make them.

                      2. re: pine time

                        Wow!!
                        This Cranberry Bliss Bars sounds so yummy. I am going to give a try to this recipe. I'll let you know how it come out. Thank you for sharing.

                  2. What do you usually make? That way we can suggest something different

                    1. Every year there is an extensive thread on Christmas (aka Holiday) cookies. Here is last year's, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/875786. If you don't find sufficient ideas in this thread, search for "Christmas cookies" on this board and you will pull up the thread for 2011 and before.

                      1. This is more a candy but it is easy and always requested. Melt semisweet chocolate chips in microwave. Stir in dried cranberries, toasted almond slivers and tangerine zest. Pour on a silpat and smooth to a quarter in h thick. Chill and break apart as bark.

                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                              They're fantastic !!

                              I buy them here (see pic #106 in their slideshow).
                              Not cheap but very very good --> http://www.yelp.com/biz/artopolis-ast...

                            2. re: Cheese Boy

                              Thank you so much..
                              and this are so yummy. i loved it.

                            3. Whatever cookies you decide to make, you really should include Spritz cookies. They are the quintessential Christmas cookie in my opinion.

                              23 Replies
                              1. re: John E.

                                Can you please tell me what is Spritz cookies? it sounds interesting.

                                1. re: prachishah

                                  It is a soft dough that you load into a cookie gun and make nice shapes.

                                  1. re: prachishah

                                    Spritz cookies are made in a "cookie press." The dough is squeezed through the press (a metal or plastic tube) through a plate that is inserted at the bottom that forms a shape or pattern. Here is one of several threads from prior years on making Spritz cookies. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7513...

                                    If you search for "spritz" on the HC board you will pull up others.

                                    1. re: masha

                                      I have a cookie press, but have yet to use it for Christmas. Spritz cookies seem so boring, any way to jazz them up?

                                      1. re: coll

                                        My neighbor's ultra-high-end stand mixer died last Christmas, just as she was making her spritz cookie dough. She came to house to borrow mine--lo and behold, I still only own a dinky hand mixer. She took it anyway.

                                        Later in the day, she returned my hand mixer (cleaner than when she took it), but along w/ 3 dozen spritz cookies. I think I love her.

                                        I've never had luck with a cookie press, either too flimsy, or my dough is too soft for the shapes to hold. I've been known to push out the disk along w/ the dough when I've tried a stiffer dough. So, not boring to me--love 'em!

                                        1. re: pine time

                                          I invested in a decent one last season, was thinking more crackers or something unusual. Haven't cracked it open yet.

                                        2. re: coll

                                          Coll, I seem to recall that you are a much more accomplished baker than I, so my ideas for "jazzing" up Spritz cookies may seem insufficiently fancy but, in addition to topping them with sprinkles, I typically
                                          (a) dip them in a semi-sweet chocolate glaze (I use a recipe out of the Joy of Cooking); and/or
                                          (b) color the dough.

                                          1. re: masha

                                            Oh thanks, that's nice of you to say; but I've been making Christmas cookies for almost forty years straight so the bar has been raised very high for me, by family and friends. Hope I didn't insult anyone by saying spritz are "boring"! I know it's more about tradition on the holidays than anything else.

                                            I appreciate you reminding me that I bought myself the cookie gun as a Christmas gift to myself last year, now I just have to remember to use it!! If I come up with anything cool, I'll let you know.

                                            Now that I think about it, I make some cookies that are like spritz, it's just that I make ropes and form them, or balls and press flat with a fork. I just never thought to call them spritz! Duh!!

                                            1. re: coll

                                              I can't believe how close we are to Spritz cookie season! Some of my favorite riffs come out of a Spritz gun.

                                              To update some new ideas since the thread Masha included, we know add to the dough rather than after extruding, ground nuts, mini chocolate chips, tiny bits of Reese's candy, dried fruit bits. We've used every color and flavor known to man at this point. We've divided the dough, tinted half red and extruded "peppermint" shapes with peppermint shards and flavoring.

                                              We've also used the gun to make cinnamon ornaments and rosemary infused crackers. And on the cracker front, the skies the limit!

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                All great suggestions, HillJ. Now if I could only find plates for my press that would extrude Chanukka shaped cookies (dreidels, Stars of David) for the Jewish recipients of my holiday cookies. I searched everywhere last year and pretty much decided they don't exist. So they will have to settle for snow-flake patterned Spritz cookies (as well as cut-out sugar cookies for which I do have Chanukka themed cookie cutters).

                                                1. re: masha

                                                  That's quite an oversight on Wilton's part. Did you call their customer service #?
                                                  http://www.wilton.com/store/site/depa...

                                                  Their Cookie Master Plus comes with tips that you could preshape into Jewish stars...tedious but doable..

                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                    Hill J, I don't have a Wilton. I have my mother's Mirro press, from the 60s.

                                                    1. re: masha

                                                      No kidding! Mirro made a decent press. Wilton still hasn't represented all the holidays in die for the gun if you can't find symbolic themes.

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        http://www.oxo.com/p-1243-cookie-pres...

                                                        Over the weekend, my family & I gave this press a try. OXO disks come in a small case which keeps them dust-free while on your shelf and this is the first 'gun' I've had with the extra storage hardware-me likie.

                                                        The cylinder's interior is nice and slick. For those you had trouble getting the dough to slide uniformly, this gun might be your answer. We always chill the dough for a few mins after making it and before loading the cylinder.

                                                        We tried out a chocolate dough, a cheese-walnut dough and a snowflake pattern with stripes of blue. Plenty of experimenting yet to go..

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          So what did you think? Did your hand get sore? Did it seem to work well? Panting at the thought of this ...

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            I liked the gun. It works as promised, we didn't run into a single hiccup using it. $22.00 with coupon @ BB&B. My hands did not get sore.

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              Thanks for the response. I'm thinking I might need (ok, maybe not need but seriously covet) this item.

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                I'm not one to talk! We own quite a few Spritz cookie guns over the years. I was actually happy to try a new one...for a change..and to kick off the season!

                                            2. re: coll

                                              "I have a cookie press, but have yet to use it for Christmas. Spritz cookies seem so boring, any way to jazz them up?"

                                              1. Use good vanilla.
                                              2. Use a recipe with cream cheese in it.
                                              3. Make sure the edges and bottoms of the cookies are well-browned.

                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                Sorry, I appreciate the effort, but all three ideas still seem boring to me. Looking for something really unusual and over the top.

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  Um-mm...OK. Sorry. Just giving my thoughts on how to give more flavor to classic spritz, as opposed to turning them into something else entirely - !

                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                    I have something savory with cheese in mind so far. I'll figure something out.

                                      2. For cookies for 30-35 people I would think about what recipes give you a bang for your buck so think about bar cookies, refrigerator cookies and biscotti. Use the fancy cookies for glitz. Set up a timeline for cookie production and decoration. Have fun.

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                          AGM I was going to include your Lemon Stars too, but thought I had said enough already. They are one of our top three favorites, and would be a great "fancy cookie".

                                          1. re: coll

                                            I've had luck with friends raving about my "fancy cookies," but they were just basic shortbread with that pretty, snow-like shiny sugar bits on top. Oh, and I add a touch of ground cardamom for a different than usual flavor. And sometimes saffron. May need to go preheat the oven...

                                            1. re: pine time

                                              Yum, me too. I experimented with orange zest and cardamom in shortbread a couple of years ago...and I made the dough softer and put it through a cookie press. OK, someone stronger than I am did the actual pressing, with such stiff dough.

                                              They were the best mix of shortbread and spritz cookies ever!

                                            2. re: coll

                                              Glad you like the Lemon Stars. I make the dough early in December and just roll out what I need. You can also mold the dough into a roll and slice them like refrigerator cookies but they won't be as thin and delicate.

                                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                They taste great, and look great. What more can you ask?

                                                1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                  Can you please point me to your Lemon Stars recipe, or am I overlooking a link somewheres? Thanks!

                                                    1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                      Sounds great, thanks. And love the lemon curd idea, too.

                                            3. These are simple, attractive and delicious: http://doriegreenspan.com/2013/05/jam...

                                              You can make them Dorie's way and make them into an event as well as a gustatory treat. Or you can form them into individual cookies. I keep a roll of them in my freezer all the time and just slice off rounds.

                                              You can dress them up with a blanched almond before you glaze them. You can add colorful cherry halves in red and/or green. You can brown the butter for a different flavor. You can whirl the sugar with tea leaves or lavender or cocoa nibs or god-only-knows-what-else for other flavor possibilities.

                                              Try them. They're simple but classic and oh-so-good~

                                              1. Classics in my house (might be a little pedestrian, but hey)...
                                                1.) Classic homemade cut-out cookies with anise flavored frosting/glaze/icing/whatever.

                                                2.) Meatball cookies: ball shaped cookies made with cocoa powder, spices like clove and cinnamon, walnuts, raisins, and dusted with confectioner's sugar. These are my faaaavorite!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Meowzerz

                                                  Meat ball cookies sounds yummy.
                                                  Thank you for sharing.

                                                  1. re: Meowzerz

                                                    Meowzerz,

                                                    Could you share your Meatball cookie recipe please? I'd love to make these this year. :)

                                                    Thanks.

                                                    www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                  2. This may stray from the cookie genre, but my sister makes these "truffle" type things that are deviously fantastic. It's basically cookie dough (eggless) rolled into a ball and dipped in chocolate. Some with nuts, some without. Who doesn't love cookie dough more than the actual cookies!

                                                    1. Thanks a lot to all for sharing your experience..
                                                      In fact one of my friends suggested me to buy delicious cookies from online store.

                                                      1. Beyond the recommendation for Spritz cookies (& Michael's Crafts has a nice selection of cookie guns this time of year).
                                                        I'm going with
                                                        Mandel bread or biscotti
                                                        Banana chocolate chip cookies
                                                        Raspberry almond bars
                                                        Pretzel/choc chip brownie bites
                                                        Lemon curd shortbread

                                                        24 Replies
                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          Would love the recipe for banana choc. chip cookies. I always freeze overripe bananas and am looking for an alternative to banana bread, for some variety.

                                                          1. re: masha

                                                            http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...

                                                            This is the one we've been using of late. Really moist, kinda cake like in the chewiness, keep for over a week (unless you gobble them up). We love the banana in the dough.

                                                            1. re: masha

                                                              Try the banana cake in RLB's The Cake Bible. It is simple, delicate, and elegant, especially with a coating of ganache.

                                                            2. re: HillJ

                                                              So impressed that you already have your list this year. I don't usually think about it until mid-November..

                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                I can't take the credit, my oldest and her younger brother are the organizers and we all bake holiday cookies so the emails start flying btwn us from about mid august until now and then we start sourcing our ingredients and discuss new riffs.

                                                                My other daughter starts planning the bar and nibbles for Christmas eve.

                                                                My youngest handles the tree with his buddies.

                                                                My husband and I handle music and fill in where needed WHEN ASKED :)

                                                                It's a lot of fun for me...just watching my kids discuss cookie baking (and they aren't young children) makes me feel good...and that my maternal grandparents love and livelihood for baking lives on.

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  I too love to make Christmas last a few months, at least! You're so lucky your children like to join you in the festivities too.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    I just wanted to say how much I love your post. I need to see a few of these once in a while to offset all the "doesn't my family suck?" threads on the Not About Food board!

                                                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                      Thanks TorontoJo, coll, rstuart. I appreciate it. I get sentimental sometimes..especially when it involves generations of baking/bakers getting together to dig in the flour, butter and fun. Think I'll ever experience a grand baby to share this with? I keep wondering...

                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                        Sounds like my mother and I (right down to the "when will there be a grandchild? wish :)). We live in different cities but discuss everything that we bake, and share ideas and feedback. Before a big meal like Christmas, we will have been talking about the menu for ages..

                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                          That's wonderful, rstuart. ps-I'm still waiting patiently for a grand baby response..how did your Mom fair? ;)

                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                            Be patient HillJ, good things come to those who wait :) I waited just like you until my girls were well into their 30s and then everything happened - the best every husbands were chosen and my little grandboys came one after another - all three precious ones! They love to cook and bake - last summer Pavlova ruled; we made countless ones with all kinds of berries and fruit; consumed with gusto by all and recipes requested by their young friends - so precious :)

                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                              herby, sometimes my baking daydreams take me to such lovely thoughts like you describe. My grandparents were incredible influences in my life. Even at my age, I miss their gentle way. Never more than at the holiday season.

                                                                            2. re: HillJ

                                                                              She has learned not to ask any more; it's a sore subject for us! Maybe I'll be like Herby's daughters ;)

                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                Oh I don't ask, I wonder (and more often of late). Two of our adult children are well past 30. We raised hard workers, career driven kids...but, I still look to the future with hope. Most of my peers are grandparents.

                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                    Sometimes I'm afraid this is how my mom and dad feel. :-(

                                                                                    1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                      I don't follow you? Did I describe how I feel? I didn't realize I had. Was I inferring a time frame, clock ticking, impatience? Because that's not entirely how I feel. I just wonder if my kids want children and want to share at least some of the rituals and experiences we've shared....passing the torch so to speak.

                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                        I didn't mean to offend you by attributing an emotion to you that you do not feel. The tone of your posts seemed hopeful, in that you wanted grandchildren, a bit wistful, because you did not have them, and perhaps a little fearful that it might not happen. I apologize if I misinterpreted. I did not mean it as a criticism. Those would seem to me to be natural emotions, and they are emotions I sometimes suspect my parents feel. My brother and I are both 30s and unmarried. They have never pressured or said a word to either of us about marriage or children, but I am sure that when they imagined how they would be spending their holidays in their retirement years, they imagined a house bulging with running and laughing grandchildren. Instead, it's still just the 4 of us. We're all very close, and our holidays are great, but I am sure it is not what they had expected, and I wonder if it is hard for them to have those expectations unfulfilled, especially when we go to extended family gatherings and they see all their siblings with numerous grandchildren at their feet.

                                                                                        Anyway, that's all I meant. And I don't mean to be so morose. It's just something I wonder sometimes, not something we all talk about, and like I said, our holidays are wonderful with the 4 of us. Who knows, maybe one day there will be grandkids, which would be cool 'cause they'd be super grandparents.

                                                                                        1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                          Oh gosh no, not offended at all, only offering some clarification or pov. Thank you for your kindness charm.

                                                                                          1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                            Have you heard of a new book called "Far From the Tree" by Andrew Solomon? I've only read the first third so far. Has something to do with expectations and adjusting to unexpected outcomes.

                                                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                                                        As someone who was happily shocked to find herself pregnant well past 30, I promise it isn't too late.

                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                          You've all been so sweet for indulging me. If I do become a G-Ma one day it will be an even fuller life than the one I have.
                                                                                          For now, I keep my great grandmother's favorite cookie cutters and dough bowl tucked in the pantry to pass on.

                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                            Wanting to pass on those rituals is wonderful! My mother's mother was actually a terrible cook (with the exception of several of my grandfather's favourite dishes) but my mother is fantastic, and at least half of my favourite christmas cookies are from her (and she got those recipes from friends and relatives). She let me "help" her with baking from a very young age, which is how I learned to love baking...

                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                  I am stifling my grandmotherly instincts - the kid has important things to do in the world first.

                                                                        2. Rum balls instead of bourbon balls. Try Black Seal.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                            Martha Stewart has a great Chocolate Rum Ball recipe.

                                                                          2. I love Cream Truffles. They are from my childhood. I prepared them together with mum and served them to our families and friends.

                                                                            1. almond roca
                                                                              buckeyes (I like the ones with walnuts and dates inside)
                                                                              peppermint bark or dark chocolate peppermint brownies
                                                                              lemon cookies

                                                                              Those get commented on the most.

                                                                              I also like pretzels drizzled with dark chocolate and sprinkled with broken candy canes (or other peppermints).

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Tam38

                                                                                I haven't heard of walnut and date buckeyes - ? How are they made? I've only had/made the classic peanut butter ones.

                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                  They are very similar to buckeyes. That's why I call them buckeyes (although we don't live in Ohio so at home they were 'peanut butter date candy.')

                                                                                  1c peanut butter
                                                                                  1c powdered sugar
                                                                                  1c ground walnuts
                                                                                  1c shredded or chopped fine dates

                                                                                  I usually mix it with my hands because it seems easier to manipulate that way. Then chill for at least an hour. I usually make it a 3 day enterprise. Mix up this part one night. The next day I form into balls (marble sized for me). Chill again at least an hour (I leave it over night) on trays covered with parchment. Then dip in melted chocolate the next day. Chill again to set.

                                                                                  I was a picky kid but you really can't taste the dates here. They add a subtle chewiness and the peanut butter and walnuts combo really is a power protein kick. This is one of my crave foods so I hide it out in the garage freezer.

                                                                                1. re: BobbieSue

                                                                                  Oh I adore pizzelles...and I truly suck at making them!! Thankfully I know a few talented pizzelle makers around. Anise and lemon are my favorite.

                                                                                  Bobbie Sue, what flavors do you make?

                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                    I know what you mean! A good pizzelle iron is key to successful pizzelles, and even then it's tricky! I only have one family recipe, made with anise. it's so good I've never even thought about trying others. I was going to make them a couple weeks ago, then I did a nutritional evaluation of the recipe (online) and decided not to, as they were so high in calories and cholesterol. :( My problem is I can't eat just one or two or 3 ...

                                                                                    1. re: BobbieSue

                                                                                      They are the potato chip of the cookie world!

                                                                                  1. re: Londonlinda

                                                                                    Those look really good.

                                                                                    Did you survive the great storm?

                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                      Sorry, been off line a few days with work. Yes, thanks for asking, although the garden's a bit of a mess, with the wood for the wood burning stove rather rearranged!

                                                                                  2. Here is the best possible answer to your questions. Enjoy!

                                                                                    http://tinyurl.com/me74ul2

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. We always make Pecan Puffs and Orange Nut Balls. I'll have to dig through some papers to find the recipes, but the puffs are baked and then rolled in powdered sugar. The nut balls are basically melted chocolate, orange juice, and nuts mixed together and rolled into balls.

                                                                                      1. Ginger snaps. Go great with mulled wine, cider, etc.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                          These are by far my all time favorite. Everyone loves them and they're pretty too.

                                                                                          Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies
                                                                                          Makes 36 (large) or 72 (small) cookies

                                                                                          3 cups all purpose flour
                                                                                          1 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                          3/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                                          1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
                                                                                          1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
                                                                                          3/4 cup sugar
                                                                                          2 large eggs
                                                                                          1 tablespoon vanilla extract
                                                                                          1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
                                                                                          1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (about 8 1/2 ounces)
                                                                                          1 cup coarsely chopped roasted salted macadamia nuts (about 4 1/2 ounces)

                                                                                          Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment
                                                                                          paper. Sift first 3 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer,
                                                                                          beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until
                                                                                          blended. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Add dry ingredients and
                                                                                          beat just until blended. Using spatula, stir in cranberries, white
                                                                                          chocolate chips, and nuts.

                                                                                          For large cookies, drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared
                                                                                          sheets, spacing 21/2 inches apart. For small cookies, drop dough by level
                                                                                          tablespoonfuls onto sheets, spacing 11/2 inches apart.

                                                                                          Bake cookies until just golden, about 18 minutes for large cookies and
                                                                                          about 15 minutes for small cookies. Cool on sheets. Do ahead Can be made
                                                                                          ahead. Store airtight at room temperature up to 2 days or freeze up to 2
                                                                                          weeks.

                                                                                          1. re: Scoutmaster

                                                                                            I'm going to try these this season, thanks Scoutmaster!

                                                                                        2. Here are some of the classics that I made with my mom since I was a kid, and still make every year now as an adult. Please feel free to ask for any of the recipes if you'd like.

                                                                                          Rolled sugar cookies
                                                                                          Mexican Wedding Cookies/Pecan Snowballs
                                                                                          Peanutbutter Blossoms (PB cookies with a Hershey kiss pressed in the middle)
                                                                                          Spritz (always with a touch of almond extract)
                                                                                          Spiced Icebox Cookies
                                                                                          Gingersnaps

                                                                                          And some newer things that I've added to my personal recipe box:

                                                                                          Pizzelles (with anise extract)
                                                                                          Peppermint Meltaways
                                                                                          Pretzel Turtles
                                                                                          Chocolate Covered Cherries and/or PB balls

                                                                                          21 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                                            Wonderful list! And in spite of the gazillion ways we've run that gun, a touch of almond extract in a Spritz cookie is still my favorite way to go.

                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                              So right! People go insane for them with the almond extract included.

                                                                                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                I have found that people will devour any baked good made with almond extract in it and praise it to high heavens. I have a brand new Kuhn Rikon cookie press that I bought last season but never used (arrived too late) maybe I'll try spritz with almond. Vanilla is so....vanilla!

                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                  I'm making sour cherry almond bars today and just a whiff of almond extract in the air gets my baking juices going.

                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                    I keep at least a quart on hand at all times! Biggest uses, rainbow cookies, and an almond apricot torte. Both of which also call for almond paste, so a double whammy!

                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                      Oh my, right up my alley coll.

                                                                                                      The bars I'm baking now are a crumb with jam filling. This recipe calls for jam, I'm using a jar of sour cherry jam (not my own), shredded almond paste and almond extract with a finish of toasted slivered almonds on top. I never dust with powdered sugar (too dry for my tastes). I'm loving the smells coming out of my kitchen right now!

                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                        Something about that almond aroma, you can't say NO.

                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                          wow! I am not a big almond fan, but have found that I do like it in baking (in moderation..) and it would be wonderful with sour cherry.. recipe?

                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                            I love SK's recipe here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/1...

                                                                                                            but I make a few subs:
                                                                                                            I sub raspberry for sour cherry.
                                                                                                            I sub one of the sticks of butter for almond paste(in equal measure)
                                                                                                            I use the optional extract recommendation: 1 tsp almond extract
                                                                                                            I don't use powered sugar; too drying

                                                                                                            Otherwise I follow the recipe to a tee :

                                                                                                            )

                                                                                                            eta: forgot to mention I toast slivered almonds and add them to the top of the batter about 15 mins into the baking.

                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                              Oh, I made that one too for Christmas!! Will try your variation.. sounds great!!!

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            Ya what is that E.T.D? Haven't heard it before.

                                                                                                            1. re: prachishah

                                                                                                              Edited? I wish they'd let you completely erase posts that you change your mind about. You have to leave a dot or something, or the rest doesn't disappear.

                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                Unless Buttertart says otherwise, I'll now assume edited was meant. Last night, it was the spaces between each letter that threw me off when I looked at it :)

                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                  Edited to delete, because I had repeatd myself.

                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    Ah, okay. Thanks I didn't know that.

                                                                                                  2. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                                                    Maggie, I would love your recipe for Peanutbutter Blossoms - please!

                                                                                                    1. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                                                      Peppermint meltaways sound great Maggie! Do you have a recipe?

                                                                                                      1. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                                                        Okay, here is the recipe for the peanut butter blossoms. (I will post the recipe for the peppermint meltaways at the bottom of this post.) This is a very old recipe of my mom's:

                                                                                                        1/2 cup butter
                                                                                                        1/2 cup PB (I use smooth)
                                                                                                        1/2 cup white sugar
                                                                                                        1/2 cup packed brown sugar
                                                                                                        1 egg
                                                                                                        1 tsp vanilla extract
                                                                                                        1 tsp baking soda
                                                                                                        1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                        1 3/4 cup flour
                                                                                                        2 tablespoons milk

                                                                                                        Cream together butter, peanut butter, and sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add in dry ingredients until well blended. Add milk and mix until batter is smooth. If batter is too sticky to work with at this point, you can chill it until it's easier to handle (30-60 minutes, or longer if needed.)

                                                                                                        Place about a cup of white sugar in a bowl and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Pre-heat oven to 375. Unwrap a bag of hershey kisses (the original milk chocolate kisses are traditional...but dark chocolate are delicious too.) You can place the unwrapped kisses in the freezer while you bake the cookies if you don't want them to get too melty after you place them on the baked cookies.

                                                                                                        Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls into the bowl of sugar and roll until coated. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just set. After removing from the oven, immediately place a chocolate kiss in the center of each cookie.

                                                                                                        This recipe says it makes 48 cookies but I don't think it would unless you made really tiny cookies. I have compared it to this recipe: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2010/12/p...
                                                                                                        Very very similar, basically all the ingredients are doubled, slightly more PB, slightly less milk, says it makes the same amount (48 cookies) but these are decent-sized cookies, lol. I think I have made this recipe before too. They are both good.

                                                                                                        *** ***

                                                                                                        Here is the recipe for the Peppermint Meltaways: http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/2720...

                                                                                                        I recommend making these cookies small, 1-2 bite-sized as they do crumble easily. They are definitely a melt-in-your-mouth kind of cookie so they are best if eaten in one or two bites anyway. They are also good if you can find the Andes peppermint chips instead of using hard peppermint chips; Andes peppermint chips are soft (the consistency of Andes candies) and just seem to work better for this cookie, I think.

                                                                                                        1. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                                                          Thanks Maggie.. meltaways look really nice.

                                                                                                      2. I make these Coconut Kisses, from my MIL's 50s-era red cookbook. I drizzle them with dark chocolate when the are cool, and everyone (except coconut haters, and even some of them) loves them. Not fancy, but delicious.

                                                                                                        http://allrecipes.com/recipe/coconut-...

                                                                                                        1. probably not suitable for 30-35 unless you're making party favors, but i make gingerbread ornaments every year that i decorate in modern styles and patterns with royal icing (flooding and piping). it started with me just doing it for me and OH and dog, but people started requesting them…

                                                                                                          i echo the suggestion of rugelach.

                                                                                                          a linzer style bar is also effective -- shortbread crust with a thinned raspberry jam layer and either a thin layer of shortbread pieces not fully connected (mosaic style) or crumble/streusel on top. sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving

                                                                                                          my other favorite i make due in part to stepdad is what i've dubbed the Browned Bing Nutella -- a browned butter base cookie that's firm crusty on the outside and soft and chewy inside, with nutella "chips" (which i make from homemade nutella scooped in tiny bits like chips and frozen before incorporating), and dried (bing) cherries. sprinkled with fleur de sel prior to baking :-) … must add dried cherries to the shopping list...

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Emme

                                                                                                            Oh...wow. Frozen nutella chips. Brilliant!

                                                                                                            Could you please share your recipe for the browned butter cookie?

                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                sorry somehow i missed this… will post tomorrow!

                                                                                                          2. I made these Anise Scented Fig and Date swirls for the first time last year and they were a big hit during the holiday season.

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

                                                                                                            1. OK cookie experts, question for you (maybe I should make this its own post, but figured I'd start here first). I have a jar of blackberry ginger jam that we were given. It looks lovely, but I'm doubtful that we'd eat it on its own. I'm thinking maybe a bar cookie? Anyone have any simple bar cookie recipes that sound like they'd be perfect with this particular jam? Thanks very much in advance.

                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/1...

                                                                                                                Does this appeal to you LulusMom? Easily workable with your blackberry ginger jam.

                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                  Actually it was seeing that on an earlier post of yours that had me up and running to see what sorts of jams I had in the pantry! Somehow iffy about the blackberry ginger almond combination, but it might just work. Thanks HillJ.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                    Ah, well if the hesitation is the almond extract or the paste I suggested it's not in the recipe as written on SK. The almond was my tweak.

                                                                                                                    If you have a really great flavor coming from the jam all on its own, you don't need an extract.

                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                      Oh, weeee. So I could make both: the almond flavored bars and the others without the almond but with this jam. Double the fun. Thank you!

                                                                                                                      eta: just relooked at the recipe. I had been so taken with your almond addition that I hadn't thought about making as written, but I DO think it would be great with this jam.

                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                        Well I look forward to hearing how it works out for you. I love blackberries and I love ginger, that combo would make me very happy!

                                                                                                                        Save the almond for the next holiday!

                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                          Being on an almond kick recently, I'll steal the idea for now! (BTW, found that 1/4 c of ground blanched almonds in my cookie press dough made the butter cookies much better flavored. Everything's better with almonds.)

                                                                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                            Oh that's great to hear, pine time. I'm making an almond yeast bread tomorrow for Sunday. The filling is a combo of almond paste and farmer's cheese.

                                                                                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                  Okay, this isn't a bar cookie, but it is pretty simple (way more so than individual thumbprint cookies), and is a good one for highlighting an interesting jam: http://www.chow.com/recipes/30219-spl...

                                                                                                                  I made them with homemade pomegranate jelly, and added orange zest and cardamom to the dough, and they were great (in other words, very easy to tweak the flavorings to suit your taste or the jam). My notes on these: I did not bother with piping the jam per the recipe, just used a baby-size/demitasse spoon to put in; and I found it worked best to make the jam trough deeper than it was wide.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                    Another great idea - deciding on which to use will be something sweet to think on while falling asleep. Thank you so much Caitlin.

                                                                                                                3. Stephanie Schrader's Walnut Cups (I use pecans); an old favorite of mine:

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

                                                                                                                  Double Chocolate-Peppermint Crunch Cookies; a new favorite:

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

                                                                                                                  1. My list usually includes:

                                                                                                                    Ginger cookies (the epicurious ones)
                                                                                                                    Charcoal cookies (soft reverse choc. chip w/black cocoa)
                                                                                                                    Lemon iced (from Carole Walter) or
                                                                                                                    Lemon sables (from Dorie)
                                                                                                                    Almond buttercrunch (candy, not cookie)
                                                                                                                    shortbread (Barefoot Contessa, sometimes with pecans and sometimes half dipped in dark chocolate)

                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                      You know I've never made the Charcoal cookies..hmmm..maybe this is the year I should try.

                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                        They're always a hit here--a little unexpected, yk? The KAF black cocoa is great.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                          Exactly, unexpected can be food for the baker as well as the guests, thanks for the inspiration.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                        Hmm.. the lemon iced sound nice.. lemon is a nice change-up at Christmas..

                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                          They're good! Here's the recipe in case you're interested:

                                                                                                                          Glazed Lemon Cookies
                                                                                                                          (from Carole Walter's Great Cookies)

                                                                                                                          1 3/4 c flour
                                                                                                                          1 c cake flour
                                                                                                                          1 tsp cream of tartar
                                                                                                                          1/2 tsp baking soda
                                                                                                                          1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                                          1 c unsalted butter, slightly firm
                                                                                                                          2 Tbs lemon zest
                                                                                                                          1 1/2 c sugar
                                                                                                                          4 large egg yolks
                                                                                                                          1/4 c lemon juice
                                                                                                                          1 tsp vanilla

                                                                                                                          2 c strained confectioners' sugar
                                                                                                                          2-3 Tbs hot lemon juice, plus extra if needed
                                                                                                                          1 Tbs light corn syrup
                                                                                                                          pinch of salt

                                                                                                                          Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

                                                                                                                          Sift the flour, cake flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt together three times. Set aside.

                                                                                                                          In a large bowl, mix together the butter and lemon zest on medium-low til creamy and lighter in color, about 2 min. Add the sugar and mix for another 1-2 min. Then add the egg yolks, mixing for up to a minute, then add in the lemon juice and vanilla. On low speed, add the dry ingredients in three parts, mixing til just blended. Put dough in a clean bowl, cover, and let chill for 60 min.

                                                                                                                          The original recipe makes just 16 big cookies, but instead I formed the dough into 1 Tbs-sized balls, put them on parchment-lined cookie sheets, evenly spaced, and then flatten them somewhat with the palm of my hand. Bake for 12-15 min., and then start checking for doneness; the edges of the cookies should be lightly brown. When done, remove the cookies from the oven and let stand for about 5 min. and then transfer to wire racks set over wax or parchment paper. Glaze the cookies while still warm.

                                                                                                                          For the glaze: Put the confectioners' sugar in a bowl and add the lemon juice, corn syrup and salt. Whisk together until smooth. Add extra lemon juice to thin, but you want the glaze to pour from a spoon in a steady stream. Using a small spoon, spread the glaze thinly over the surface of the entire cookie and then let air-dry til the surface has set.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                          I forgot to add:

                                                                                                                          Meringue kisses (meringues with coconut and pecans ... SO good -- and easy)

                                                                                                                          Biscotti (I like pistachio and dried cranberry dipped in white chocolate around the holidays, with the base recipe the Lenox biscotti from Dorie)