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10 Weeks of Christmas -- Week Three...Christmas Cookies!

>> Monday, October 31, 2011

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the food.  Specifically all the sweets.  Many of you know, I am a Type 1 Diabetic, but I haven't always been.  I wasn't diagnosed until I was 20, so I had 20 perfectly glorious years where I didn't have to count carbs or worry about my blood sugar levels.  And because I had a "teenager's metabolism" I didn't even have to worry about calories or fat.  Oh, to be young again!

Anyway, I really do LOVE me some Christmas cookies!   We have a lot of traditional cookies that are made every year, so I thought I would share some of them with you.  To me, they mean Christmas is here, family, traditions.  You know, everything about Christmas.  Enjoy!

Candy Cane Cookies - my Grandma Jean

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp Almond extract
2 1/2 cup flour
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp. red food coloring
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy canes
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375'.  Mix shortening and butter, powdered sugar, egg and flavorings well.  Add salt and then gradually add flour.  Remove from mixing bowl and divide in half.  Blend red food coloring into one of the halves, leaving the other 1/2 without coloring.  Roll 4" strip of cough (1/2 to 1 tsp of dough) from each color.  Using lightly floured board, place strips side by side.  Press together at top and twist like a rope.  For best results, complete 1 cookie at a time as they tend to dry out.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Curve top for handle (like a real candy cane).  Bake 9 minutes.  While still warm, remove from pan and sprinkle with mixture of candy and sugar.

Chocolate Crinkles - My Grandma Jean

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 squares unsweetened chocolate (melted, 4 ounces)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1 cup Powdered sugar

Mix oil, chocolate and granulated sugar.  Blend in 1 egg at a time.  Mix well.  Add vanilla.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt into oil mixture.  Mix all together.  Chill several hours or overnight.  Heat oven to 350'.  Drop a teaspoon of dough into powdered sugar.  Rolling sugar, shaping into ball.  Place 2" apart on greased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Makes about 6 dozen.

Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies

2 cups flour
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pecan halves

Caramel Layer:
2/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar

1 lb milk chocolate

Preheat oven to 350'.  Combine crust ingredients, reserving pecans.  Mix 2-3 minutes.  Pat firmly in ungreased 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle pecans evenly over unbaked crust.  Prepare caramel layer.  Pour evenly over pecans and crust.  Bake for 18-22 minutes or until caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light golden brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Allow chips to melt slightly then swirl as they melt.  Cool.  Cut into bars.

Caramel layer: in heavy sauce pan, combine brown sugar and butter.  Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture begins to boil.  Boil 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly.  

Peanut Blossoms (aka peanut butter kiss cookies)

3.5 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup shortening
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
4 Tbs milk
2 Tbs vanilla
Hershey's chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 375'.  Grease baking sheets.  Sift flour, soda and salt onto a piece of waxed paper.  In a mixing bowl, cream shortening, peanut butter, 1 cup of the granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Stir in eggs, milk and vanilla and beat until blended.  Stir in flour mixture and mix well.  Shape into balls and roll in remaining sugar.  Place about 2" apart on baking sheets.  Bake in preheated oven 9 minutes.  Top each cookie with a chocolate kiss and bake 2 minutes longer.  Remove from baking sheets and coll on wire racks.  Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup pecan bits
1 lb. powdered sugar

In mixer, beat butter and powdered sugar on medium speed for around 3 minutes.  The mixture should be very smooth.  Beat in the vanilla then reduce the mixer to low and add flour, mixing only until it is incorporated.  Do not overmix.  Add pecans.  Using a spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon sized plastic bag.  Put the bag on a flat surface and spread the dough evenly in the bag.  The end result will be a square of dough about 1/4" thick.  Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325'.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.  Remove dough from fridge and cut away the bag.  Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into bars, about 1.5"x.5".  Transfer the bars to baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating sheets half way through.  They are done when they turn a pale so the bottoms don't get too dark.  When you remove them from the baking sheets, roll in powdered sugar while still hot.  Place on cooling rack to cool and serve at room temperature.


1.5 cups peanut butter
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.  The dough will look dry.  Roll into 1" balls and place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Chill in the freezer until firm, around 30 minutes.  Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.  Stir frequently until smooth.  Remove peanut butter balls from freezer.  Using a toothpick, dip frozen balls into melted chocolate, leaving a small portion showing at the top to make them look like buckeyes.  Put the buckeyes back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until hardened.  After hardened, remove from cookie sheet and place in a cookie tin that can be stored in the fridge as these melt easily and should be served chilled.

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