Friday, December 17, 2010

Baking Christmas Cookies

As the Christmas Holiday gets closer, it is time to start thinking about baking those Christmas cookies that everyone loves. They are nice to have around the house for those visitors that stop by to wish you a happy holiday. They are also nice to take to the office, to share during the coffee break, and they make nice gifts for friends and family alike.

Here are 5 all time favorites to try.

Apricot Coconut Delight
1- cup salted butter, softened
1- 8 oz cut sour cream
2- cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup apricot preserves (not jelly)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or other nuts of your choice.

1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sour cream until light and fluffy. Combine the salt and flour and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Mix well. Divide the dough into four equal parts. Wrap each part in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for from 3 to 4 hours or until easy to handle.

2. In a small bowl, combine the apricot preserves, coconut flakes and chopped nuts. set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of sough until it is 1/8 inch thick.

3. Cut into 2-1/2 inch squares, spread each square with a rounded teaspoon of the apricot mixture. Very carefully fold one corner over the filling. Moisten the opposite corner with water and fold over the first corner to seal.

4. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 17 - 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

2+1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2+ 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
1- 12 oz. container of chopped nuts. Pecan or peanuts work great.
8- ounces of chow mein noodles.

Melt butterscotch and chocolate chips in the top half of a double boiler over hot water. (Bring the water to a boil, then stop the boil and work with the hot water.) Make sure that the water does not get into the melting chips. Stir in the nuts, then the noodles. Using a teaspoon, drop spoonfuls onto a waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Let cool. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Cookies
1+1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large Egg
1/2 cup super fine sugar
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (you can change up with chunky peanut butter if you like chunky better)
1/2 cup brown sugar.

1. Shift together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
2. In another bowl Cream butter with sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter, creaming after each addition until light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg to the peanut mixture and mix thoroughly.
4. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until smooth. (if using chunky peanut butter, mix allowing for the peanuts.
5. Drop the mixture onto a ungreased baking sheet, one teaspoon full at a time, spaced about 2 inches apart.
6. Flatten with a fork, then turn the fork 180 degrees and flatten again to make a crisscross pattern on the top of the cookie.
7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 9 - 11 minutes. Remove and place on a cookie rack to cool.

Pecan Meltaways
1 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2+1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans
4 ounces granulated pecans for coating
4 ounces confectioners' sugar for coating.

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter, 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the flour and salt: gradually add it to the creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate until well chilled.
2. Remove from refrigerator, roll into 1 inch balls and place onto ungreased baking sheets.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
4. While they are baking, mix the 4 ounces of confectioner's sugar and the 4 ounces of granulated pecans together.
5. Roll the warm cookies in this mixture, remove and let cool. Once cool, roll them in the mixture once again. These are sure to become one of your favorite cookies.

Lemon Drop Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Large Egg
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel. (This is sometimes available at your local spice shop, or you can make your own.)
1 tablespoon half and half
1+1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces (1/2 cup) crushed lemon drops
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, lemon peel and half and half.
2.Combine the flour, lemon drops,baking powder and salt, gradually adding it to the cream mixture, and mix well.
3.Drop, by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets, about 3 inches apart.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges start to brown lightly.
5.Remove from oven, let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before placing on wire racks to complete the cooling process.
6.If you can find them, it is nice to add a small candied lemon slice on top of each cookie. Ask your local bakery, they use them to decorate cakes and might be willing to sell you some. You will need about 4 dozen, as this recipe makes about that many cookies.

The Holiday Season is a great time to gather the family in the Kitchen and bake cookies together. If you have children, here is where those memories are made. Be sure to make enough, because they have a way of disappearing before you know it.

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