Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookies


Grandma spent the day with us and baked Christmas cookies. Mitchell had fun with the cut-outs. We have two kinds of cut-outs we always make, classic sugar cookies and spice cookies that we call, "Gingerbread Boys," although I don't think they are technically gingerbread. Then, we ice them all with almond-flavored icing. (Recipes below!)

Here is one of our first pans of the day, filled with Gingerbread Boys. This was the larger size. We also have a smaller, bite-sized boy.
Grandma did most of the cutting out. We've been doing this a long time... It is neat to add Mitchell to the tradition.

Mitchell helped straighten them on the pan. Mostly, I think he was snitching pinches of dough.

Above is the pile of both kinds of cut-outs, ready for frosting. (The Kitchen-aid mixer in the background is dandy. It was a wedding present. Two thumbs up.)

Above, you can see that we made some reindeer out of the spice cookie dough, too. They have red noses, of course.

Note that there are a couple of different kinds of airplanes in there. You can see some of the smallest (bite-size) boys on the top right.

Grandma was glad to be done frosting. We always do the end of the batch with green food coloring, for the holly leaves and Christmas trees, and, oh, yes, a few red-eyed frogs, of course. Aren't those traditional? They are at my house!

And finally, six dozen pecan tarts. These have been a family favorite for forty years, too.

Sugar Cookies: I have these in my recipe book as, "Mom's Sugar Cookies." She told me that she got the recipe off of a pan wrapper in 1965. After all this time, they're a "family" recipe:
I usually at least triple this. When we were kids, we did 6x at a time.
2 c sifted flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg plus milk to make 1/3 c
1/3 c veggie oil
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sift dry ingredients together and add oil. Cut in well with a fork or pastry blender. Mixture will appear dry. In a separate mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add the flour mixture a bit at a time and beat together. (If you don't have a work-horse mixer, you may have to add some flour with the mixer and then do the rest by hand.) Refrigerate for at least an hour. I usually do it overnight.
When you roll it out, take only enough from the fridge to roll out at once. When you get done with a section and roll the scraps again, add some more cold dough out of the fridge. This helps keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. (Also, use flour, but sparingly.)
Bake at 400 for about nine minutes (not really browning, yet) and immediately remove from pan to a cooling rack.
Spice Cookies: These taste like spice cake. And is it any wonder? They start with a cake mix...
1 yellow cake mix
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 c molasses
1/2 c margarine or butter (softened)
1 egg
Beat together all ingredients and refridgerate overnight or at least a couple hours.
Roll out and cut with your favorite cutters. The dough is quite soft, so simple and/or small shapes work the best.
Bake at 350 for 9 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on the pan before removing.
Icing: Depending on how many cookies you make, you may need to double this (or more)... We made double the recipe for 3x the sugar recipe and 2x the spice recipe. We only had a little bit left over.
2 lb confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1/2 c milk
2 tsp almond extract

Beat together ingredients. Continue to add milk in small amounts until desired consistency. Dip the cookie's top face into the icing and drag off the excess with your finger or a spatula. Sprinkle them with sugar or jimmies before the icing dries. It helps if you have someone else to sprinkle them. It's a good job for your four-year-old!
Pecan tarts: You have to have the mini-muffin pans... I doubled this recipe to get 6 dozen plus a bit extra (the larger brulee pans in the picture).
1/2 c margarine
1/2 c sugar
2 egg yolks (discard the whites)
1 tsp almond extract
2 c sifted flour
Mix until smooth. Press evenly into tart shells (mini muffin pans). Bake at 450 8-10 minutes, until just browning on the edges.
Bring just to a boil:
1/2 c margarine
1/3 dark Karo corn syrup (or I use light corn syrup sometimes)
1/2 c powdered sugar

Stir in 2 c chopped pecans. Spoon into shells. Top each with a pecan half. Bake for 5 minutes at 350 in order to toast the pecans.

Happy Christmas Cookie Eating!
Lisa Kay

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Aw - I just love the Christmas cookie tradition! Such fun. Looks like a good time was had by all.