Easy Christmas Cookies

christmas_cookies_platefulI must admit – I love making a large assortment of Christmas cookies and arranging them on decorative serving trays. And that’s not to say that I don’t share – I also take smaller trays and boxes to everywhere we go and hand them over to people who come to visit.

I start baking about 10 days before Christmas – and really – just like with everything else – having a plan and organizing what I will do and when is the key to success.

By spending only couple of hours each day in that time period, I get everything done in time and without stress. That is why I am starting this book with a sample of schedule you can adopt and follow if you wish.

Find what you want to make by going through your cookbooks, recipe cards, magazines – whatever you feel will give you the information you need. Or just follow this book – there are plenty of tested, great recipes here!

Decide on how many varieties you want to make – and that goes for baking and for cooking. You can make your plan for all your cookies, cakes and meals that you will be planning to prepare.

Write it all down , making sure you not only put down the name of the recipe, but also the source of it – so you don’t have to spend too much time looking for it when you are ready to cook or bake. That is why this book can be your best friend – it’s all in one place already!

When choosing your recipes, take into consideration:

  • How difficult is it – read through it and if you think it is something you would rather not attempt. Save it for later when it will be the only thing you will need to make
  • Cost of special ingredients the recipes call for – it is a good idea to try to choose the recipes for which you have most of the ingredients in your kitchen cupboards already (this is a great advice for your budget!)

Now – create your shopping list and calculate approximately how much you will need to spend to make everything you are planning.

You will be able to get all the ingredients at once for your baking and just save the portion of your shopping list that has fresh items on it for shopping at a date closer to the time you will be preparing a specific meal.

The one thing you may also want to double check on are the tools you will need – like pans for baking, etc. If you have pans and tools that are old and worn, consider replacing them – it can make a difference in the way your creations will taste!

The other items you should check out are containers for storing your baked goodies – they should be clean and airtight. Then you will not have to worry about your cookies – they will be just fine! And it is a good idea to have containers that are large enough to hold a full batch of each variety – then just take out the quantity you need when it is time to serve them!

I also find that it is helpful to organize the shopping list by store where I am planning to purchase various items – especially if you need to purchase items such as the tools, or anything special you will not be able to find in your supermarket.

And then its’ time to go shopping! The one advice I can give you is to do everything first and leave the grocery store as your last stop – you maybe purchasing frozen or refrigerated items. I live in a cold climate, so I usually don’t have to worry about that too much – but – grocery bags full of perishable stuff in a trunk of a car on a sunny day – even in the winter…. not a good idea.

When you bring your supplies home, you may want to consider designating one of your kitchen cupboards as you baking supply centre. That way, you will everything in one place and not spend time looking when you need something.

It is actually possible to make a few kinds of dough one day, wrap them tightly, store them in your refrigerator overnight and bake several kinds of cookies the next day. That can actually be very efficient since quite a few types of cookies will have same ingredients and you will also have your tools handy at the time.

There is one thing I want to remind you do: you need to use items like butter, eggs and cream cheese at room temperature, so take them out of the refrigerator at least couple hours before you start making your dough.

And another good tip for you – if you are going to make several types of dough at once is to write the name on each package after wrapping – you don’t want to try to have to figure out which dough is which type of a cookie the next day!

If you are ready to bake the next day, again I want to remind you to take all hour prepared dough packages out of the refrigerator and leave them in room temperature for couple of hours. The only exception would be cookies that you need to slice into rounds – those work really well if you form the dough into the needed “before cutting” shape before wrapping and storing it. Then when youa re ready to bake, slice them cold – it will be much easier!

Now you can start baking!

Soft Gingersnap Cookies

soft-gingersnaps

Ingredients:

  • 1- 1/2 cups of butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of molasses
  • 4 -1/2 cups of flour
  • 3 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • Additional sugar

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Beat in molasses until well mixed.
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and nutmeg; gradually add to creamed mixture.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
  6. Roll into 1-in. balls; roll in sugar and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-12 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned.
  8. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks.

Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies

caramel-filled-chocolate-cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 17 tablespoons of sugar, divided
  • 1 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2- 1/2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup of cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1-1/4 cups of chopped pecans, divided
  • 1 (13 ounce) package of Rolo candies
  • 4 (1 ounce) squares of white chocolate, melted

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, 1 cup sugar and the brown sugar.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture, beating just until combined.
  5. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans.
  6. Shape a tablespoonful of dough around each candy, forming a ball.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the remaining sugar and pecans; dip each cookie halfway. Place nut side up 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7-10 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked.
  9. Cool for 3 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  10. Drizzle with melted white chocolate.

Almond Tea Cakes

almond-tea-cakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons of almond extract
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

FILLING:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of ground almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Milk
  • Sliced almonds

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add eggs and almond extract and mix well.
  3. Add flour and baking powder (dough will be soft).
  4. Chill.
  5. To make the filling, stir egg white, sugar, almonds and lemon juice in a small bowl.
  6. Remove a portion of the dough at a time from the refrigerator.
  7. Place 1-in. balls of dough into miniature muffin cups, pressing slightly into sides and bottom.
  8. Place 1/2 teaspoon of filling into each. Cover with quarter-sized circles of dough.
  9. Brush with a little milk and top with an almond.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Chocolate Shortbread

chocolate-shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter.
  2. Add vanilla and mix well.
  3. Combine flour, sugar and cocoa; add to creamed mixture.
  4. Beat until dough holds together, about 3 minutes.
  5. Pat into a 9-in. x 4-in. rectangle.
  6. Cut into 2-in. x 1-1/2-in. strips.
  7. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  8. Prick with a fork.
  9. Bake at 300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until set.
  10. Cool for 5 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Seven layer Magic Bars

7-layer

  • 1/2 cup of butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 -14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup of butterscotch flavoured chips
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 -1/3 cups of flaked coconut
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans

Directions:

1.      Preheat oven to 350

2.      Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with a sheet of foil, making sure to cover the sites well.

3.      Place the butter in the baking pan and melt it in the oven.

4.      Sprinkle crumbs over butter; pour condensed milk evenly on top of crumbs.

5.      Top with remaining ingredients in order listed; press down firmly with fork.

6.      Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

7.      Cool.

8.      Cut into bars.

9.      Store covered at room temperature.

Russian Mini Cakes

russianteacakes

  • 1 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Directions:

1.      In a large bowl combine ingredients on low speed of mixer about 1 minute.

2.      Blend well.

3.      Gradually add flour at low speed until just combined; stir in nuts.

4.      Roll dough into 1 inch balls

5.      Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

6.      Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes until firm to the touch but not brown. Do not overbake.

7.      While warm, roll in powdered sugar.

8.      Cool and re-roll in powdered sugar before serving

Peanut Butter Kisses

peanut_blossoms

  • 1 bag (8oz) of Hershey’s Kisses
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of shortening
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 3/4 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1- 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/3 cup of packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • additional granulated sugar

Directions:

1.      Heat oven to 375F.

2.      Remove candy wrappers.

3.      In large bowl, beat shortening and peanut butter until well blended.

4.      Add the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and all of the brown sugar; beat until light and fluffy.

5.      Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.

6.      Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to peanut butter mixture.

7.      Shape dough into 1-inch balls.

8.      Roll in the additional granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

9.      Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

10.   Immediately place kiss on top of each cookie, pressing down so cookie cracks around edges.

Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Christmas Fudge

christmas-fudge Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of margarine
  • 2/3 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1- 12-oz. (340 g) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1-7-oz. (198 g) jar Kraft Marshmallow crème
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1.      Directions:
Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan and bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly.

2.      Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring.

3.      Remove from heat, stir in chocolate till melted.

4.      Add marshmallow creme, nuts & vanilla beat till blended.

5.      Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

6.      Let cool and cut into 1-inch squares.

Hope you have a good time making these recipes and if there is one or a few that you are looking for, let me know!

scan00037







About the author

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

2comments
Donna - February 2, 2013

I noticed this cookie suite was updated in Dec. 2009, will you be doing an update in the near furture with new recipes??

Reply
    Hanna Trafford - February 3, 2013

    Hi Donna! I will for sure -I try to update several posts each week so hopefully I will get to what you are most interested very soon. If you let me know what I can help with, I will make sure you get it! Thanks

    Reply
Click here to add a comment

Leave a comment: