December 15, 2010 at 7:55 p.m.

A few favorites from Treasury of Christmas cookbook to handle your holiday baking list

A few favorites from Treasury of Christmas cookbook to handle your holiday baking list
A few favorites from Treasury of Christmas cookbook to handle your holiday baking list

It's cookies, cookies and more cookies today. Less talk and more recipes. I have a 350 page "Treasury of Christmas Recipes" cookbook that has about 40 pages of cookie and bar recipes. I hope you will try some of them to adorn your Christmas cookie plate. A variety of cookies make wonderful gifts for anyone, especially those who are elderly and no longer bake cookies.

Put on an apron (yes, an apron unless you want to have flour all over you), get out the mixer, measuring cups and spoons and get ready for a cookie baking day.

SPUMONI SLICES

1 c. butter, softened

1-1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 egg

1 t. vanilla

2-1/2 c. flour

2 squares (1 oz. each) semi-sweet chocolate, melted*

1/2 c. chopped pecans

3 drops green food coloring

1/4 c. finely chopped candied red cherries

1/2 t. almond extract

3 drops red food coloring

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar; beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour, mixing well. Divide dough into three portions. Stir chocolate into one portion; mix well. Add pecans and green food coloring into the second portion. Add cherries, almond and red food coloring to the third.

Roll each portion between two pieces of waxed paper into an 8x6-inch rectangle. Remove paper. Put chocolate rectangle on a piece of plastic wrap. Top with green rectangle and then pink rectangle. (It's not hard to do if you make the portions the same size...hang in there)! Press together lightly. Wrap the plastic wrap; chill over night. Cut chilled dough in half lengthwise. Put one rectangle into the fridge (to stay cold). Cut remaining rectangle into 1/4-inch slices. Put slices 1-inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-7 minutes or until set. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.

Note: If the dough is too soft to slice, put it in the freezer for about an hour. Do the same with the second strip of dough. It's must easier to slice.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

+++++

PINEAPPLE STAR COOKIES

1 c. butter, softened

1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

2 c. flour

Filling:

3/4 c. sugar

4-1/2 t. flour

1-8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained well

Frosting:

1 c. powdered sugar

2 T. butter, melted

2 T. milk

1/2 t. vanilla

1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts

In a medium bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Add flour and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until easy to handle. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine sugar and flour; add pineapple. Cook over low heat until mixture is thickened, stirring often. Cover and refrigerate.

Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch squares. Place 1-inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. to form star, make a 1-1/4 inch cut from each corner toward center. Do not cut through center! Put 1/4 t. pineapple filling in the center of each. Fold every other point toward the center, overlapping pieces; press lightly to seal. It will look like a 4 pointed star. (You probably want to read these instructions, so far, a couple of time...hang in there!)

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool. For frosting, combine all of the ingredients, mixing until smooth. Drizzle over cookies; sprinkle with walnuts.

Makes 5 dozen. Yes, they are putzy, but they're "smashing" on a cookie plate.

+++++

MACAROON KISSES

1/3 c. butter, softened

1-3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

3/4 c. sugar

1 egg yolk

1-1/2 t. almond extract

2 t. orange juice

1-1/4 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

5 c. flaked coconut, divided

Candied green and red cherries or chocolate kisses

In a mixing bowl, cream first 3 ingredients until light and fluffy. Combine next 3 ingredients; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in 3 c. of coconut. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in remaining coconut. Put 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until very lightly browned. Immediately put a cherry or kiss on top of each cookie, pressing down a bit, very gently. Cool 5 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen.

+++++

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED PEANUT LOGS

1 c. creamy peanut butter

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. shortening

1 c. sugar

1 c. packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2-1/2 c. flour

3/4 t. baking soda

1/2 t. baking powder

1/8 t. salt

8 oz. dark chocolate candy coating (like almond bark, only chocolate)

1 c. finely chopped salted peanuts

In a mixing bowl, cream first 5 ingredients. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the dry ingredients, mixing well. Gradually add to the creamed mixture. Shape 1/3 cupfuls of dough into logs, about the size of a pencil. Cut logs into 2-1/2-inch pieces. Place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until very lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. In a micro or a heavy small saucepan, melt chocolate coating; stir until smooth.... directions for melting are on the package. Dip one end of each cookie into coating; shake of excess. Lightly dip into peanuts. You might have to use more peanuts. Put on waxed paper to harden.

Makes about 8 dozen cookies.

Note: I melt the chocolate in a 2 c. glass measuring cup, half at a time. It's easy to get the end of the cookie dipped. I put the nuts in a small deep dish to dip into the nuts. Also, if you're getting too much chocolate on the end, heat the chocolate again so it's not so thick. Don't add water to thin it! Also, the thing I like about this cookie is, is has peanut butter in it rather than cream cheese! I know some of these recipes sound complicated and time consuming but read them again and picture in your mind what the cookie will look like! I'm guessing you will try at least one of them.

TFD: The three biggest reasons for going to a warmer place are: December, January and February!

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