Handmade Christmas: Cookies a dozen ways…

December 17, 2010 at 6:00 am | Posted in Food, Handmade Christmas | Leave a comment
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One of my favorite holiday traditions is cooking with my family.  This cookie recipe is great for baking with kids because it is easy to work with, and has no raw eggs.  It is also very versatile – I made everything in the tin in the photo above with one batch of cookie dough.  The cookies taste fine without any topping or decoration, but that isn’t nearly as much fun.

Christmas cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

Cream together butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Mix in flour.  Roll out on a floured surface, and cut with cookie cutters.  Bake at 375*F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  (Baking time will vary greatly depending on the size, thickness, and coatings added to your dough.  10-12 minutes is the time for 4″ cut outs.)

A dozen ways to use this dough:

  1. M&M cookies – Cut cookies with a round cutter.  Lightly press a few m&ms into the top of each cookie before baking.
  2. Santa’s whiskers – Pinch off small pieces of dough, and roll into whisker shape with fingers.  Roll in a mixture of coconut, pecans, and dried candied cherries.
  3. Chocolate cookies – Mix powdered sugar and cocoa powder (1:1 ratio) and dip dough balls into the mixture.  Flatten slightly before baking.
  4. Sprinkle cookies – Cut cookies into desired shape.  Lightly mist dough with water.  Liberally coat cookies with colored sprinkled before baking.
  5. Wedding cookies – Bake cookies.   Roll in powdered sugar while still warm.
  6. Almond cookies – Add a dash of cardamom and/or cinnamon to the dough.  Cut cookies into circles.  Press a single almond into the center of each cookie.
  7. Frosted cookies – Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1 tbsp corn syrup.  Add food coloring as desired and paint or pipe onto cookies after baking.  Allow to harden before stacking cookies.
  8. Linzer cookies – Cut cookie dough out in circles.  Cut a small shape out of half of the cookie’s centers (these will be the top pieces.)  Melt some jam while the cookies are baking.  Glue two cookies together with the jam.  Fill the small shapes in the top pieces with jam.  Allow jam to set before stacking.
  9. Chocolate kiss cookies – Roll dough a little thicker than normal.  Cut into 3″ circles and bake.  Unwrap chocolate kisses while the cookies are baking.  Press a kiss into the center of each cookie as soon as they come out of the oven.
  10. Chocolate dipped cookies – Cut cookies into simple shapes and bake.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler as cookies cool.  Dip 1/2 of each cookie into melted chocolate and allow to set on parchment or waxed paper.  You can add sprinkles before the chocolate sets if desired.
  11. Butter cream sandwiches – Roll dough thin and cut into 2″ circles.  Prepare butter cream frosting while cookies bake.  Spread 1 tbsp of butter cream onto one cookie and top with another.  Drizzle tops with melted chocolate or glaze if desired.
  12. Little bits cookies – Mix mini chocolate chips, crushed peppermint, minced Andes peppermint chocolates, or toffee bits into dough and shape into small balls.  Flatten slightly and top with additional little bits before baking.

I am sure that there are plenty of other ways to add variety to this recipe.  You can add food coloring to the dough, make a multitude of different icings (cream cheese and peanut butter are two that I have tried,) use different fillings or add ins, sprinkle stuff on top of the icing… it really is a very versatile recipe.  Enjoy!

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