Christmas Cookies

Every year my dear friend Georgia and I bake insane amounts of Christmas cookies that we gift to friends and family and serve to guests.  Some of these recipes are old family recipes and some of them are recipes we’ve picked up over the thirty plus years we’ve been baking together.  All of our family members have their favorites.

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Candied Fruit Slices

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup butter at room temperature

1 egg

2 1/4 cups  AP flour

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup candied red and green cherries

Cream together sugar, butter, and egg.  Stir in flour and cream of tartar.  Stir in nuts and fruit.  Shape the dough into logs, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.  Slice.  Put the cookies on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.

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Thumb Prints

1 cup butter at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs separated

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

2 cups AP flour

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Cream together butter, sugar, and egg yolks.  Add vanilla.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Roll dough into balls.  Whisk egg whites and dip cookies into egg whites and then roll into nuts.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets and make an indentation (thumb print) in each cookie.  Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350.  Cool on wire racks.  Fill centers with jam or jelly of your choice.

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Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

3 eggs

5 cups AP flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

Cream together sugar, butter, and eggs.  Combine dry ingredients and alternate beating in with sour cream and vanilla.  Refrigerate dough overnight.  Roll out on lightly floured surface and cut out with desired shapes.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350.   Cool on wire racks.  Ice and decorate as desired.

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Lemon Cream Cheese Spritz

1 cup butter at room temperature

6 oz cream cheese at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 egg yolks

2 tsp lemon extract or lemon oil

2 T zested lemon peel

3 1/2 cups AP flour

1 tsp salt

Cream together butter and cream cheese.  Add sugar.  Add egg yolk, lemon zest, and lemon extract.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Force through a cookie press onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 14-16 minutes at 400.  Cool on wire racks.

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Spritz

1 1/2 cups butter at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

4 cups AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add egg and extracts.  Beat well.  Combine dry ingredients and add gradually to creamed mixture.  Dough will be stiff.  Do not refrigerate.  Force through cookie press onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes at 400.  Cool on wire racks.

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Rugalachs

Cookie Dough:

1 cup butter at room temperature

8 oz package of cream cheese at room temperature

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

Filling:

1 cup sugar

2 T cinnamon

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1/2 cup melted butter

Cream butter and cream cheese together.  Combine flour and salt and gradually add to creamed mixture.  Divide dough into four discs.  Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or until easy to handle.

Roll out each disc into a 12″ circle.   Combine sugar and cinnamon.  Brush each circle with melted butter.  Sprinkle each with 3 T cinnamon sugar and 2 T pecans.  Cut each circle into 12 wedges and roll up wedges from the wide end.  place pointed side down 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Curve ends to form a crescent shape.  Bake for 24-26 minutes at 350.  (Seems like a long baking time but they need to bake that long.)  Remove to wire racks to cool.

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Chocolate and Almond Tipped Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter at room temperature

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups AP flour

6 squares baking chocolate or chocolate chips

1 1/4 cups finely chopped almonds

Cream butter and brown sugar.  Beat in vanilla.  Gradually beat in flour.  Shape into 1/2 inch thick logs and cut into 3 inch pieces.  Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 15-17 minutes at 325.  Cool on wire racks.

In microwave safe bowl melt chocolate.  Dip one end of the cookie into chocolate and sprinkle with the amonds.  Place on wax paper until set.

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Koulourakia or Biscuit Cookies

1/2 cup butter at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

3 T half and half

2 1/4 cups AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Sesame or poppy seeds

1 egg yolk plus 3 T half and half whisked together for brushing

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in egg yolks one at a time.  Stir in half and half.  Combine dry ingredients and mix gradually.  Take one tablespoon of dough at a time, roll into a log and shape into a knot.  Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet and brush with egg/half and half mixture and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350.  Cool on wire racks.

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Ginger Shortbread Cutouts

1 cup butter at room temperature

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 T molasses

1 T vanilla

2 3/4 cups AP flour

2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp salt

Cream together butter, brown sugar, and molasses.  Whisk together dry ingredients and beat until incorporated.  Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.  Spray cookie sheets with PAM and put cookies 1 inch apart on sheets.  Bake 14-16 minutes at 350.  Cool on wire racks.

NOTE:

We triple or quadruple most of these recipes.  The biscuit cookies seem to work better in single batches but all of the other recipes can be increased without any problems.   Butter and cream cheese should always be at room temperature.  Brown sugar should always be packed when measuring.

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