Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WDW - Harasick family favorite Christmas cookie recipes

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I used to bake like a mad-woman at Christmas! There were so many events I used to need to bring cookies to, and lots of little gifts I needed to give as well. I used to make about a dozen different kinds (always the same list) beginning early December and kept them frozen, ready to package up and give as a little assortment of goodies whenever the occasion arrived. In the past years, I have transitioned to making candles and canning jam from my fruit trees, so those have become my little gifts instead of baked goods. This is nice because having a freezer-full of cookies is not exactly a figure-friendly thing!

I hardly baked at all last year - except I thought my kids might freak out if I didn't make my sugar cookies - so I made those, and of course, a batch of Russian teacakes for Rich (his fave). However, mid-February, I found that big Tupperware full of un-eaten sugar cookies at the bottom of the freezer and tossed them in the trash. So, this year, maybe I'll make a half-batch of sugar cookies and a batch of Russian teacakes...

All that said, I still treasure all my Christmas cookie recipes. Only these few have made my elite list of favorites. Today I bring you a few of those treasured recipes. Happy holiday baking!

This is a great recipe for sugar cookies. Comes out perfect everytime.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Cookies:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, soft
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract
1 egg
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar

Powdered sugar Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
Milk to desired consistency
Food coloring, optional

For cookies, in bowl of electric mixer combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, and egg. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir flour slowly into butter mixture. Divide dough into 2 parts and wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Roll dough out to 1/2” thick and cut using choice of cutters. Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes. Cool.

To make frosting, in bowl of electric mixer bowl combine powdered sugar and vanilla. Add a few tablespoons of milk and beat, adding more milk to obtain desired consistency. Tint with food coloring if desired.

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This recipe is a prize winner from Sunset Magazine. These cookies look humble but taste amazing.

Coconut-Cranberry Chews

¾ cup butter, soft
1 cup sugar
½ Tbsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cup + 1/8 cup flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter, sugar, peel, and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture and beat until dough comes together. Mix in cranberries and coconut. Shape dough into 1” balls and place 2” apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake until cookie edges just begin to brown, about 8-11 minutes.

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This is so pretty and so easy to make.

Marbelized Mint Bark

1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 lb. vanilla flavored candy coating, cut up
¾ c. finely crushed candy canes or starlight mints

Line a baking sheet with foil. In a small microwave safe dish, melt chocolate chips in microwave. Set aside.

In a 2 quart saucepan on low heat, melt candy coating. When melted and smooth, stir in crushed candy. Pour the melted candy onto prepared baking sheet. Spread to about 3/8” thickness. Drizzle with the melted chocolate. Gently zigzag a knife through the peppermint and chocolate layers to create a swirled effect. Chill candy 30 minutes or until firm. Break into pieces. Makes 1 ¼ lbs. candy.

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These cookies were originally called "nut roll ups" but someone heard wrong and thought they were called "nup-yoo-lups." The name stuck. These are probably my favorites on this list. They are like rugelach.

Nupulups

Dough:
2 cups flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1 container (8 oz) sour cream, minus 3 tablespoons

Filling:
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup sugar

Cinnamon sugar

For dough, cream flour and butter together in a large bowl. Add egg yolk and sour cream and mix well. Divide dough into three parts and wrap each part in waxed paper. Chill several hours or overnight.

For filling, combine walnuts, cinnamon, and sugar and stir well.

Roll each part of dough out into a 8” circle on a floured board. Top with filling. Cut into 10 wedges. Roll each triangle up from the flat side to the point, tucking in filling as you go. Place cookies on cookie sheet, and sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 325 for 35 minutes.

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This is a new one to the list. If you like peanut butter balls, you'll love these - and they are so much less time-consuming to make.

Peanut Butter Squares

2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 box (1 lb) powdered sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients (except chocolate chips) and mix well. Press mixture into 9x13 pan. Melt chocolate chips in double boiler over hot water (or microwave them for 20 seconds at a time and stir in-between until it's melted completely). Spread over peanut butter mixture. Cool & cut into small squares.

Note: don't try to cut them after putting it in the fridge... the chocolate will chip into thousands of pieces!

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I got this recipe at a cookie exchange many years ago. A basic shortbread cookie with a festive topping.

Peppermint Candy Cookies

1 c. butter, softened
¾ c. powdered sugar
1 T. vanilla
2 c. flour
½ c. oats
½ t. salt

½ c.semisweet chocolate chips
2 T. milk
½ c. crushed peppermint candy

Combine butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in flour, oats and salt.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees 18-20 minutes. Cool completely.

***


Rich's fave. Also known as Mexican wedding cookies. These truly melt in your mouth.

Russian Tea Cakes

1 cup butter, soft
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups flour
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Powdered sugar

Combine butter, ½ cup powdered sugar, vanilla, flour, and walnuts in a large bowl. Cover dough and chill dough at least two hours.

Roll dough into 1” balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 400degrees. While still warm, roll cookies in a bowl of powdered sugar. When done rolling all cookies, re-roll them in the powdered sugar.

Yield: 3 dozen


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Everyone loves this recipe of my sister's. Moist brownies, a peppermint cream layer, and a chocolate ganache topping. Absolute perfection.

Three Layer Mint Brownies

Layer 1

1 cup butter, soft
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Combine butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and beat until well mixed. Spread into greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until center comes out clean. Cool.

Layer 2

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, soft
1 tbsp water
3/4 tsp mint extract
3 drops green food coloring

Mix together and spread over cooled brownie layer. Chill until firm.

Layer 3

6 tbsp butter
1 cup chocolate chips

Melt together until smooth. Spread over mint layer. Chill until firm.

***
Incredibly dense chocolate flavor, hence the name. These have star quality!

Truffle Cookies

4 ozs. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 Tbsp. butter
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, divided
½ cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla

Melt unsweetened chocolate, butter, and 1 cup of the chocolate chips in microwave. Cool.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using electric mixer, combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla, until pale and frothy, about 2 minutes. Add chocolate mixture and mix well. Add flour mixture and combine well. Stir in remaining chocolate chips. Chill covered, two hours.

Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into 1” balls, using moistened hands. Bake at 350degrees for 10-14 minutes. Do not overbake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Makes 5 dozen.

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3 comments:

Blessings Flow Down said...

Salivating! :)

Anonymous said...

do you dip the peppermint candy cookies in the chocolate at the end?

how do the 3 layer brownies cut, does that chocolate break into thousands of pieces when chilled?

thanks for the ideas!

the e-wife, Karen said...

Hi "anonymous"

Yes, you dip peppermint candy cookies in chocolate and then either sprinkle the crushed peppermint candies on or dip them in a little bowl of the crushed candy.

The 3 layer brownies cut beautifully. The chocolate doesn't break. If you have trouble, bring them to room temp to cut.

e-wife