Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Cookies 2014

My wife was invited to a local Christmas cookie swap and gladly accepted. For those who don't know about such things, each person brings a half dozen cookies for each other person at the swap. The number of cookies depends on how many people show up. This particular party had a lot of last minute RSVPs so my wife wound up making seven dozen cookies. After trying out several unsuccessful recipes, she settled on a spritz recipe that worked well even if the cookies were a little on the small side (she added some extras in each bag). See the recipe at the end of this post. She came back with quite a load of cookies.

Spritz cookies with recipes

Mom came back with the mother load

Before moving to England, we had a long-standing tradition of making Christmas cookies with Cousin Autumn. With our return to the USA came the return of the the tradition. We invited Autumn and her mom to bake cookies. They brought one of Autumn's friends which added to the enjoyment.

Cookie-making crew

Auntie Maryellen was a big help for everyone.

Well-appreciated guidance

L was especially happy since she loves candy. Cookies are a close second.

L makes a tree

Carefully finishing her tree

J is not a big candy eater but he loves cookies. He made an elaborate snowman with fingers and toes and all sorts of details.

J the happy worker

Sprinkles for fingers, triangles for toes

Cousin A had a great time too, even if she got a little messy.

Candy-coated fingers

For L the best part was sampling the results. We all got to try one cookie once they were cool enough.

L eats a gingerbread cookie

N is too young to eat solid foods but he enjoyed some chewing at the party. I did not enjoy it so much.

N and the blogger

Num num num!

The results were beautiful but are now all gone.

Tray #1 of cookies

Tray #2 of cookies

For those interested, here's the spritz cookie recipe:

Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
Yield: About 8 dozen cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and cold
3 ounces brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon almond extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.  
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together cubed butter and cream cheese.  Add sugar and egg yolk, beating until light and fluffy.  Mix in almond or vanilla extract.  
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and cinnamon.  Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until well incorporated.
  • Place dough in cookie press with desired disk.  Press dough out onto an ungreased baking sheet.  If dough is too sticky and doesn’t detach from the press, refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.  If dough is too hard and won’t press out, leave dough at room temperature to soften for 20 minutes.
  • Decorate dough with sprinkles or sugar.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges.

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