Abby’s homeschool group is having their annual Christmas party tomorrow evening.  Everyone has been asked to bring Christmas Cookies, which of course, begs the question: which kind?  I love baking, and especially love baking around the Holidays. I bake all sorts of treats, not just cookies.  I love to make Pralines and Marshmallow Fudge. (But I must give credit where it is due: my brother makes much better fudge. . . he just doesn’t seem to mail it to me anymore. . . hmmm. . .)

Anyway, I  have a small repertoire of cookies that I bake every Christmas, and I am betting that most families have their own favorites, as well.  Here are some of mine, complete with recipes, if anyone is interested. 🙂  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what your favorite Christmas Cookies are!!

OUR FAMILY’S FAVORITE CHRISTMAS COOKIES

Crescent Cookies (3 dozen)
My Mom remembers that every Christmas, her grandmother would send a box of these to them from Chicago.  She still loves them, and so do I!  Sometimes, I think the best recipes are the most simple, don’t you?

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and chopped pecans. Stir in the margarine and vanilla until a dough forms. Knead by hand for a few turns.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into triangles, and roll from the square end up to the point. Bend into a crescent shape, place on an unprepared cookie sheet, and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar for decoration.

Date Pinwheel Cookies(about 5 dozen)
I have this thing with spirals.  I love pinwheel cookies, cinnamon rolls, etc. These are probably my husband’s favorites.

Ingredients:
1 – 8 ounce package (1-1/3 cups) pitted whole dates, finely snipped
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

For filling, in a medium saucepan combine dates, water, and the 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in lemon juice and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; cool.

In a large bowl combine butter and shortening. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and the 1 teaspoon vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

Roll half of the dough at a time between pieces of waxed paper into a 12×10-inch rectangle. Spread with half of the filling to within 1/2 of the edges; roll up dough into a spiral. Moisten edges; pinch to seal. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Freeze for 2 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet; set aside. Using a serrated knife, cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool. Makes about 64 cookies.

Note:Place in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Mocha Meringues (2 dozen)
Meringues are Alex’s favorites, no matter what the occasion.  We all like them, and we all love chocolate and coffee, so you can’t go wrong with this combination!

Ingredients:

2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Directions:

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, vanilla, cocoa, and coffee powder.

Drop mixture onto parchment paper lined baking sheet in 24 mounds. They should be about 2 inches apart.

Bake 40 minutes at 250 degrees F (120 degrees C), or until firm. Turn off oven, and let meringues cool in oven for 1 hour. Do not open oven door while the cookies are cooling.

Spritz (6 Dozen)
These are so much fun!  I mean, seriously, how much easier can it get than shooting dough out of a cookie “gun”? 😉

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup butter
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and egg yolk; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and orange zest. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Fill a cookie press or pastry bag with dough, and form cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cookies are golden brown on the peaks and on the bottoms. Remove from cookie sheets at once to cool on wire racks.

Recipe Sources: 
Crescent Cookies – http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pecan-Crescent-Cookies-102713
Date Pinwheel Cookies – http://www.bhg.com/recipe/cookies/date-pinwheels/
Mocha Meringue Cookies – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mocha-meringues/detail.aspx
Spritz – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/butter-snow-flakes/detail.aspx

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