Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Each Christmas, I'm in charge of the family Christmas cookies. I don't make a ton of them, but enough to keep some to snack on and then take to my parents' house for our dessert Christmas Day.

For as long as I can remember, my family has made two familiar favorites: gingerbread (or, more specifically, German molasses) and spritz. So, of course, that's what I made this year.

The spritz recipe I use comes from the 1967 Electric Company Cookbook. It's an oldie but goodie.
Here's the recipe:

-1 cup butter
-1/2 cup sugar plus 1 tbs. sugar
-1 egg
-3/4 teas. salt
-1 teas. vanilla
-1/2 teas almond extract
-2.5 cups shifted AP flour

Cream butter; add sugar. Blend in egg, salt, extracts and flour; knead dough in hands until soft and pliable. Press dough through cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes. Makes about 6 dozen, depending on size.

For the gingerbread, I used this recipe. Until this year, I've always used a family recipe for German molasses, but I just couldn't seem to find it this year. this recipe is pretty similar, so I thought it would be fine.
I don't know if I did something wrong, or if the recipe is that different, but I had a helluva time with these cookies. For one (and this was my fault, but still), I let the dough ripen for only 1 day, rather than 2. But the dough was softer and stickier than it usually is, so I had to add A LOT of flour as I was rolling out the dough.
Some of the cutout shapes look rather funky. But, everything tastes OK, although the cookies a little crispier than usual.

After everything was cutout and baked, I frosted and decorated the cookies (notice the New Glaurs Moon Man!).
I used my old-standby recipe I have in my heat for frosting: about 1 tbs. butter, melted, mixed with a few dashes of milk, a small drop of vanilla extract and enough sugared powder to make it the right consistency.

On Christmas Day, we'll be having the cookies with Brandy Alexanders. Can't wait!

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