Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Cookies

This time of year my e- mail gets full with people requesting cookie recipes. I enjoy giving cookie platters as holiday gifts and I enjoy baking with my daughter and her friends. These are super easy and very consistent favorites. Double or triple the recipes and you can have plenty for your gift list. Over the next few weeks I will give you my most requested holiday cookie recipes so you can enjoy making them with your friends and family.

Rum Balls
1 cup Butter
1/2 cup Powder Sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1-teaspoon rum extract
1-tablespoon dark rum
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2-teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in rums and vanilla.
Add flour and salt. Mix in nuts. Roll in teaspoon size balls. Bake at 325 for 14- 17 minutes. Roll warm balls in powder sugar.

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups Sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Beat butter and sugar together untill creamy. Mix in eggs. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Shape into balls about one inch in diameter. Chill one hour.
Combine topping ingredients in small bowl. Drop dough balls into topping mixture. Coat well. Place on greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks and let cool.

Basic Sugar Cookies
2 1/2 sticks Butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
31/4 cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the vanilia. Graudually add the flour mixture until well blended and smooth. Divide dough in two. Place each half in between large sheets of wax or parchmment paper. Roll out to a quarter inch thick watching for creases. Layer the dough on a cookie sheet and refriderate for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 375 and grease two cookie sheets.Remove 1 porton and leave the other until you are ready. Remove one sheet of wax paper and replace with a new one. (An old bakers trick to keep the dough from sticing when using cookie cutters. Throw away the second sheet and cut out the cookies using holiday cookie cutters. Gently place the cookies about one inch apart on the cookie sheet. Roll out the dough scraps and place bak in the fridge and mix with the second half scraps. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes; rotate half way through for even cooking. Place on a rack until they firm upand then transfeer to a wire rackand cool completely before using royal icing.
*Note- If you are working with kids, I like to do the baking a few days befor the decorating. The older kids can help and then all the cookies are done so you can just set out the icing and sprinkles and let the kids go to town.

Royal Icing
2 large egg whites
4 cups confectioners' sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Combine the ingredients in a bowl. It really is handy to have a kitchen aide or standing mixer for this, but not essential. Beat together until stiff about 10 minutes. You don’t want it dry, but it has to be really stiff or else it does not harden. This makes over 2 cups so you can put in small bowls and add food coloring. Make as many colors as you like and use whatever sprinkles and or candy you like to decorate.


3 sticks, softened
4 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 egg
2 T. milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy;
Add almond and vanilla egg, and milk and beat until well mixed.
Whisk flour and baking powder together, and then add to dough
Mix with hands if necessary. (Dough will be very stiff).
Push dough into spritzer gun and press shapes onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6 minutes. Then let cool on cookie sheets for 10 minutes and then remove and cool completely on rack.

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