Wining & Dining
Christmas Cookie Traditions
12/2/2017 3:11:17 PM
Christmas Cookies

For some families, baking, decorating, and eating Christmas cookies are as much a part of the holiday tradition as trimming the tree, singing carols, and giving gifts. Holiday cookies can invoke a sense of nostalgia, especially when the scent of fresh baked treats fills the house. The process of making cookies can draw families together in the kitchen and create life-long memories. We asked some Thrive staff members to share their favorite holiday cookie recipes. Bon appétit!

Christmas Sugar Cookies
submitted by Katie McDaniel Stevenson

Decorated sugar cookies . . . the quintessential Christmas cookie! The memory maker kids most enjoy baking. With royal icing, sprinkles, and colored sugar, there is no end to the creative possibilities.

Cookies
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups-2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
salt to taste
1 tsp milk

Instructions
  1. Cream butter with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add in sugar and cream until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, creaming until combined. Add vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. Once combined, chill dough for at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. On a floured surface, roll out cookie dough until it is about 1/4” in thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out your desired shapes and place them on the cookie sheet, about 2” apart. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the remaining dough. Leftover scraps can be rolled out again.
  7. Bake the cookies for 8 to 11 minutes, or until they look set and lightly colored (slightly under-baking them keeps them soft, about 8-9 minutes; baking them until they are golden brown will make them crispy, about 10-11 minutes), and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

Frosting
  1. Beat butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in powdered sugar, beginning with 1 1/2 cups. Add in vanilla, milk, and salt.
  3. If the frosting seems too thick, add in more milk. If it seems too thin, add in 1/2 cup more powdered sugar.
  4. Frost cookies. Decorate with sprinkles.
Pecan Sandies
submitted by Stephenie Fontenot

Depending on where you live, these classic cookies might be called Pecan Sandies, Russian Tea Cakes, or Mexican Wedding Cakes. We simply call them delicious!

2 Sticks softened butter or 2 cups margarine
1 cup powder sugar
4 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp water
4 cups flour
2 cups chopped pecans
Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and powder sugar.
  2. Add vanilla and water.
  3. Slowly add the flour, mixing well after each cup is added.
  4. Fold in pecans
  5. Roll dough into a 1 inch ball and flatten with thumb onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack. When cookies are cool, dust with powder sugar.
Pizzelles
submitted by Angie Kay Dilmore

To make pizzelles, you need a pizzelle iron. It is similar to a waffle iron, but makes these thin crisp delightful cookies. Anise is the traditional flavor, but with other extracts, you can make them any flavor you wish. Lemon, orange, and chocolate are also popular.

6 eggs
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 TBS anise extract
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder

Instructions
  1. Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the melted margarine and anise extract. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir in gradually. Dough will be sticky.
  2. Preheat your pizzelle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Drop batter by rounded spoonfuls onto the iron. Close and cook for about 90 seconds, or until steam stops coming out of the iron. Carefully remove and cool. Store in an airtight tin at room temperature.
Chocolate Crinkles
submitted by Mandy Gilmore

Fudgy like brownies, these crinkly cookies are a wonderful addition to your holiday cookie tray. Just watch out for a dusting of powdered sugar on your clothes as you take a bite!

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the cocoa, granulated sugar, and vegetable oil.
  2. Beat in eggs one at a time and stir in vanilla.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; then stir into the cocoa mixture.
  4. Cover the dough and let cool in fridge for at least 4 hours. (This step is incredibly important to get the crinkles in the cookies)
  5. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  6. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and roll dough into 1-inch balls.
  7. Coat each ball with confectioners sugar before placing on the baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
  9. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool and enjoy!
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