Christmas Cookies 2020

I just started baking Christmas cookies yesterday!  This is the latest I can remember starting in recent history.  Usually, as soon as Halloween has ended, it’s cookie time. As you know, I love to freeze every possible thing I can and cookies can be frozen.  You can always freeze cookies in their baked form. Many can be frozen in dough form; then you can bake them off as needed.  I’m a big fan of freezing in dough form so I can bake just 2 cookies or 20 cookies as the mood strikes.

People ask how many cookies I make for the holidays.  I don’t know.  People ask how many kinds of cookies I make for the holidays.  I don’t know.  It changes every year based on my mood.  But, here are a list of cookies I have made for Christmas in the past and/or will make this year.  Click on the underlined links for recipes.

Spritz Cookies
These are some of my absolute favorites and I make them every single year!  I am particularly partial to green Christmas trees.  Something about that fake green food coloring makes them taste better. You need a cookie press to make them. I bake them then freeze them. They break easily so make sure they are protected in the freezer (i.e. don’t set a ham on top of them).

Pinwheel Cookies
These are just too much fun! You can find the recipe on page 132 of your cookbook. They are the cutest and make any cookie platter look extra special. Warning! Do not over-bake or they will be very hard. Err on the side of under-baking. I slice these then freeze them unbaked.

Shortbread Cookies
These are my #1 favorite cookie. Sometimes you are in the mood for a certain cookie; I am always in the mood for shortbread! I use the recipe from The Joy of Baking. It is perfection! You can decorate shortbread cookies (I do) but they are delicate and crumbly so handle with care. After shaped/cut out, refrigerate on the cookie sheet for AT LEAST 10 minutes so they hold their shape during baking.  (p.s. I do not dip in chocolate like Stephanie does but I’m sure that would be delish.)

You can find this recipe on page 134 of your cookbook. These were always my favorite as a kid and are still in my top 3 cookies! I prepare the dough, roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture, freeze them for an hour on a cookie sheet then throw the frozen dough balls in a ziplock freezer bag. I bake as many as I want, when I want from frozen form. Everyone loves a snickerdoodle!

Sugar Cookies
These are always great but especially for decorating during the holidays. As I mentioned earlier, I love to decorate shortbread cookies but if you want a more “sturdy” cookie go with sugar. I use the Wilton recipe but I omit the almond extract and use extra vanilla extract instead. I also always try to use room temperature eggs when baking. As with shortbread cookies, refrigerate the cut out shapes on the cookie sheet before baking for AT LEAST 10 minutes. I would do it for 30 minutes. I also use Wilton’s recipe for royal icing but substitute vanilla extract for some the water.  I bake, cool, decorate and let dry for 24 hours before freezing.

I know this video is too long but I couldn’t help it.  A little treasure from June 2017.  I forgot those voices.

Vanilla Almond Biscotti
Find this recipe on page 127 of your cookbook. These are my hair stylist’s favorite things on earth. I have to make them every holiday season so I can bring her a treat. And or course, you have to have a cup of tea or coffee to go with them. Heaven!

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
These are always a hit! It’s the surprise that does it. I usually make them from scratch but the blog recipe gives you a great store bought shortcut. I also roll these dough balls in white sugar and freeze them in dough form, just like I do for snickerdoodles.  I don’t think I put the rolling in sugar on the blog recipe but if you have the extra 30 seconds it is worth it!  These are a cinch, you won’t be sorry!

We always make a gingerbread structure and gingerbread men.  Who could forget the leaning tower of Eiffel?  I can’t give you the recipe; it’s in the vault and still being tweaked. It will show up in a new cookbook in a few years.

My arch nemesis. It only took me about 25 tries before they consistently came out right. I once made 11 batches in one weekend because I am a glutton for punishment. Anger baking. And I’m still nervous every time that they will be hollow. But I love them. I change the flavor all the time. Lemon and strawberry are my favorite but I usually make a chocolate flavor for the holidays. This year I think I’ll make vanilla (or egg nog?). If you don’t have a stand mixer and a kitchen scale I wouldn’t suggest trying macarons. I have had the best macaron success following the Italian meringue method on Pizza Rossa’s website. Tips: 1. be ready to fail 2. make them, fill them and give them an entire day to sit before judging them. They are always better the second day. These freeze great. Good luck!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
I have been wanting to make these for years and finally this was the year! I used the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I did leave the dough in the fridge overnight and I did underbake them a bit because I really wanted them to be soft. I also left out the chocolate chips because I wanted to. So mine aren’t “double chocolate” they are just chocolate. I noticed a lot of recipes had you melting butter and chocolate then letting that cool. I wasn’t in the mood for the extra step which is why I chose this recipe. It uses cocoa powder instead. I’m so happy with the result and will probably be making them every year from now on.

Ok, I have to go make some more cookies now; I’ve procrastinated long enough.  Are you making cookies this holiday season?  What are your favorites?  Are there any I should absolutely add to my list?

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