Holiday cookies and all manner of baked goods have been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. Mom spent hours in the kitchen making small ham and biscuits, sausage pinwheels, fudge and loads of Christmas cookies. She made them to share with family and friends in the spirit of the season. Luckily, my brother and I have continued that tradition through the years.
Sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, and coconut macaroons are just a few of the timeless cookie recipes I like to make during the holidays. Each has their own place in my heart and satisfy a special craving during this festive season.
Sugar cookies, or rather rolled sugar cookies, are the traditional cookie you see decorated with brightly colored sugars or iced in holiday themes of snowmen, reindeer, or Santa Claus. I love to make them and have some new cutters I’m planning on using. Hint, they are Corgis.
Many years ago, I received a baking cookbook as a gift from a beloved family member. The recipes cover almost anything containing flour, but the cookie section caught my attention immediately. Thumbprints, biscotti, and lemon cookies all vied for my time, but the cranberry and orange pinwheels won out at least for the first few years.
Like all cooking, I try to use the best quality ingredients. Real butter, free range eggs, and unbleached flour are typically always in my kitchen. These and other ingredients will have a direct effect on your holiday baking.
One year, a friend and I both brought chocolate chip cookies to work on the same day. They were drastically different in both appearance and taste. We used the same recipe but not the same ingredients. In this case, it came down to using butter, real butter, versus margarine. Lesson learned?
We in the iCook family want to wish all of you and yours a very Merry Christmas and holiday season. Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well.
Rolled Sugar cookies
Yields 5 to 6 dozen
This is your traditional cookie for the holidays. It’s the reason you bought all those cute cookie cutters. Go out and get some colored sugars and have some fun.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3 TBSP milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Sugar for dusting if desired
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, butter, milk, vanilla and egg and blend well. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt then add the mixture the wet ingredients and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour for easier handling.
Pre-heat oven to 400 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1/3 of the dough at a time to about 1/8 inch thickness. Keep remaining dough refrigerated until needed. Cut with a floured cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400 F for 5 to 9 minutes or until edges are light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets.
Yields 1 dozen macaroons
This is one of my wife’s favorite cookies. I tend to double or triple the recipe just to have enough to share with friends.
- 2 egg whites
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
- Dash of salt
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- 2 cups (one bag) coconut
Heat oven to 325 F. Grease and lightly flour cookie sheet. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites lightly. Add sugar, flour, salt and almond extract and blend well. Stir in the coconut. Drop dough by tablespoon-fuls 2 inches apart onto greased and floured cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 F for 13 to 17 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Immediately remove from cookie sheet.
Cranberry and Orange Pinwheels
Yields 3 dozen cookies
- 1 TBSP cornstarch
- ¾ cup whole berry cranberry sauce
- ¼ cup orange marmalade
- ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp grated orange peel
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
In a small saucepan, combine the filling ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, butter and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in remaining ingredients; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour for easier handling.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 16 x 8-inch rectangle. Spoon and spread cooled filling evenly over dough to within ½ inch of edges. Starting with the 16-inch side, roll up jelly roll fashion; cut in half to form two 8-inch rolls, wrap each roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Generously grease cookie sheets. Remove the plastic and using a sharp knife, cut dough into ½ inch thick slices. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the greased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 13 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and cool completely.
You can download the recipe of the week HERE!