This is what a couple days in the kitchen made. The only thing left is maybe some buckeyes if I make it to the store since my grandmother always made those, but really, I think we’re set.
Peppermint Spiral Cookies, found via Super Eggplant, from San Francisco Chronicle. I’ve only made these a couple times but it was a lot easier when I was really fussy about rolling out and shaping the dough into two pretty identical 8 1/2 x 11 rectangles–this also yielded me 3 dozen cookies. Also, it was easier to roll if I was patient to let the dough warm up some after being chilled. And rolling by lifting the wax paper made many less cracks. The little nonpareils go everywhere so I cut mine in a jelly pan, like what you will use to roll the dough in originally, so the little folks were contained.
Koulourakia was a quick favorite of one of us when we first had it at the Greek Festival a couple years back. She was so crazy for it the next year I asked the women if she wouldn’t mind sharing the recipe with us since there was nowhere locally to buy them. I had tried out a recipe but it wasn’t quite right. Thankfully + unbelievably, she obliged and a few weeks later we had the recipe. It’s only a xerox of the one page so I’m not sure its original origins. It’s more like a breakfast cookie not super sweet tasting and is like a cross between shortbread and biscotti. This recipe is pretty darn close to the one we use but we like it without the lemon, sesame seeds or powdered sugar on top.
Mexican Wedding Cookies, these go by different names but that’s what we call them. The recipe I tried this year is hands down my favorite–very, very light airy cookies. Really beat the first step for about 15 minutes and it makes all the difference. But I didn’t add the flour by hand, I just gave it a couple slow beats by the mixer.
Ginger and Molasses Cookies were made better this year by finding a really nice sanding sugar that doesn’t dissolve into the cookie when baking. This dough also needs to be chilled to work with easily. They are soft cookies and its easy to over cook them so when they first begin to crack, I remove them quickly.
Christmas Tree Spritzer Cookies are one of my favorites. The recipe I have was from my mom and I’m not sure it’s original origins. You have to use a cookie press with these but they go really quick and I love them. This is the original recipe that calls for shortening, if you want to substitute butter and skip the trans fat you can but the difference is shortening is 100% fat and melts at a higher temperature. Butter, on the other hand, is about 18% water and melts at a lower temperture so if you switch from shortening to butter 1:1 the cookie will spread more. So add a bit more flour, this dough should not be be sticky or loose, and expect a bit more melting.
1 C shortening
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 1/4 C sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
green food coloring
Cream shortening + sugar well. Beat in egg and almond extract. Gradually blend in all dry ingredients which you sifted together and tint the dough with a couple drops of food coloring or 1/4 tsp. gel food coloring. Form cookies using cookie press and decorate with nonpariels. Bake at 375 for 10-12 mins. Remove at once to cooling racks.
Fudge with French Grey Sea Salt which is a tip I got from Angry Chicken and as it turns out the recipe linked to the post is the same recipe we’ve always used in our family (condensed milk rather than using the Fantasy Fudge recipe which uses the marshmallow fluff) so I just added the pecans and salt and it was done and is really, really good.
Finally, this is a lot of cookies since there is still the Candied Citrus Peels + the Sugar Cookies so we’re also bringing along take home boxes so folks can grab their favorites and tote them home really easy. I prepackaged the iced sugar cookies since they are the most delicate. The cookie jars are awesome cause we just grab them and go and we don’t have to futz with plating them or the like. I picked mine up at World Market and have been using the size 10 jars which have fit the cookie batches well.