Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Cookie Exhange! Yum!


I am so excited for Time 4 Kindergarten's Virtual Cookie Recipe Exchange
I can't wait to share some of my favorite recipes, but also to get over and see some of the other favorites from you clever people!  One of the best parts of this party  is that I get to share cookies with you - and my kitchen isn't even a mess from baking.  You should SEE it when I bake.  Not really.  You shouldn't see it.  These cookies above are made and decorated by my wonderful sister's family.  Each one is like a little piece of art.  They also make these little marzipan treasures:

I did not get the artistic gene.  Actually, my sister, her husband, and son's are all artistic, so I love to be on the oohing and aahing end of these cookies.  But, I do have some recipes that I LOVE and can't wait to share!
As I was trying to decide which recipes to share, I went to my favorite recipe spots:
Those are where I go for 99% of my recipes.  Our church cookbook from 1974 that has all of my relatives' favorites- (and I love it because my mother did the artwork for it. I remember being so proud of that! :)  And on the right is a cookbook of favorite recipes that my mom made for me one Christmas. Can you tell I have loved the life out of it?  Or into it? 
I judge the quality of a recipe by the filthiness of the card.  It is pretty obvious which recipes are delicious- and which ones may look great on the clean, white pages of the cookbook, but aren't loved.  Let's call these my Velveteen Rabbit Cookbooks.

It is sort of like clothes or sneakers.  The  clean, perfect-looking ones aren't nearly as comfortable as the worn out favorites.  I know that is some sort of fabulous object lesson that I could probably relate to wrinkles and dry hands, etc. etc.  but I don't even want to.  I want to know I am loved and "a favorite" without having to be worn out looking and wrinkled. And I like being clean.  So I am not even going to continue that object lesson any further. 

Back to the recipes!  Here are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them.  I found pictures online that LOOK just like my cookies look, although, they weren't the same recipes. 

Melting Moments

This is my aunt's recipe. I love to make them a Christmas, but they are also so sweet for Valentine's Day, Easter- let's face it- any time.  They are a bit time consuming because you have to roll all the little balls, then put them together. BUT they are worth every minute. They make great gifts, too, because they look so pretty in a jar or holiday container. 

350 Degrees- 12 minutes

1 C Butter
2 C Flour
1/3 C 10X sugar

Cream butter with 10X sugar until fluffy. 
Blend in flour gradually. 
Beat at medium speed for 5 minutes or knead. 
Chill several hours or overnight. 
Roll rounded 1/2 tsp. size balls like marbles. 
Place 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. (I use parchment paper.)  
Cool on wire rack.

Almond Butter Cream Filling
1 1/2 C 10X sugar
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. cream
1/4 tsp. almond extract
Beat until smooth. 
Tint any color you would like with food coloring. 
Put frosting between two flat sides of cookies.

Gumdrop Cake
This is my grandmother's recipe. She made it every year for Christmas.  It also makes a wonderful gift because one batch makes 2 loaf size pans. 
1 lb. white raisins                                       1 lb. small spiced gum drops (not the black ones)
1 C chopped pecans                                   1 C shortening
4 C flour                                                     2 C sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon                                          2 eggs
1/4 tsp. cloves                                            1 3/4 C applesauce
1/2 tsp. salt                                                 1 tsp. baking soda in 1 Tbsp. hot water
1/4 tsp. nutmeg                                           3/4 C orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream sugar and shortening. 
Add eggs and dry ingredients, applesauce, and orange juice. 
Last, add baking soda, raisins, nuts, gumdrops, and vanilla.
Use some of the flour to dust gumdrops as you cut them. 
You can bake this in a well-greased and floured angel food pan for 3 hours at 250 degrees.  I like to  bake this in 2 loaf pans, which also cuts down on the baking time.  It is supposed to be better if you wrap it and let it stand, but we never are able to make it last that long...
Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting Cookies

350 Degrees-  Bake 8 minutes/ Add marshmallow/ Bake 2 more minutes
1 3/4 C flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C cocoa powder
1/2 C shortening/butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
1/2 C milk
1 tsp. vanilla

36 marshmallows cut in half

Box of 10X sugar
4-5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
dash of salt
3 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. milk or cream (or as much as needed for a good frosting consistency)
1/2-1 tsp. vanilla
Mix cookie batter. 
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.   
Remove and place half a marshmallow on top of each cookie. 
Put back in the oven. Bake for 2 more minutes.  Remove.  Frost.
Easy Cranberry Pecan Cookies

My daughter tried this recipe last year and we loved it. It is sort of a Sandra Lee Semi Homemade idea- and I sort of love that. You know how sometimes you need a quick but really good cookie that doesn't seem quick?  Here you go!

1 tube (16 1/2 oz) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, softened
1 C chopped pecans
2/3 C white chocolate chips
2/3 C dried cranberries
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a large bowl, combine the cookie dough, pecans, chips, cranberries, and vanilla. 
Drop by tablespoon 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans. 
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.
It just so happens that I had a class tonight, and another teacher shared this sweet book that goes great with this post called Cookies: Bite Size Life Lessons, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. 
It is a wonderful Character Education book, because it explains different character traits with very kid-friendly vocabulary.  Here are some examples:

"Cooperate means, 'How about you add the chips while I stir?' " "Trustworthy means, If you ask me to hold your cookie until you come back, when you come back, I will still be holding your cookie."  "Fair means, you get a bite, I get a bite."  "Regret means, I really wish I didn't eat so many cookies." "Content means sitting on the steps just you, me, and a couple of cookies."
The illustrations are absolutely beautiful and sweet. 

I will leave you with one of my favorites...
Have a wonderful day! Thank you for stopping by!






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