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Christmas Cookies Merrily Baking

Christmas cookiesChristmas cookies are a perfect foil for you to add a note of Holiday spirit to any gathering, whether family, co-workers or school event.

Some of our Christmas cookie recipes are on the laborious side (think cookie decorations), while others make good last-minute options for seasonal gifts or party contributions.

Either way, this is the time of year when an electric mixer with paddle attachment can prove invaluable in saving time and maintaining your sanity. 🙂

Gingerbread Man Cookies

Christmas is just not Christmas without these fun, festive cookies. Whether richly or sparingly decorated, their warm, spicy flavor combination is simply a must at this time of year. Why not make batches of this gingerbread man cookie recipe ahead of time and then hold a decorating party so everyone can get in on the fun?

This Ann Clark cookie cutters 3-piece set will help you achieve a professional look the easy way.

½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
⅓ cup molasses
1 large egg, room temperature
2⅔ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
Your choice of frosting

1. Cream brown sugar and butter until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in molasses, egg and water.

2. In separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients except frosting. Then, gradually beat into creamed mixture.

3. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a ball and cover. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. Roll each ball to ⅛” thick on lightly floured surface. Cut with floured ¼” cookie cutter, then place 2” apart on prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake about 8-10 minutes until edges are firm. Cool completely on wire racks.

6. Frost and decorate as you wish.

Drizzled Ginger Snap Cookies

All you need is a little white chocolate drizzle to dress up these spicy cookies for a special occasion. A traditional holiday favorite, this ginger snaps recipe will provide perfect Christmas baking gifts for friends and family. Or why not send your guests home with some cheerful Christmas cookie gift boxes and help spread the Holiday spirit?

2 cups sugar (+ extra sugar for coating)
1½ cups canola oil
2 large eggs
½ cups molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages white baking chips
¼ cup shortening

1. Combine sugar and oil in a large bowl, then beat in eggs. Next, add molasses and mix thoroughly with a spoon. Combine the next 5 dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly add to the creamed mixture while stirring well.

2. Roll into ¾-inch balls, then roll balls in extra sugar to coat. Place balls two inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° 10-12 minutes. Cookies should spring back when lightly touched. Place on wire racks to cool.

3. Melt white baking chips and shortening together in microwave and stir until smooth. Drizzle cookies with mixture. Transfer to wax paper to allow chocolate to set.

Chocolate Crinkles

This crinkle cookies recipe is always popular at any special gathering. Fudgy chewy cookies covered in powdery snow are a perfect addition to a colorful tray of X-mas cookies. Best of all, they’re really easy to make!

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup powdered sugar

1. Beat cocoa powder, sugar and butter at medium speed. Adding one egg at a time, beat at low speed until combined. Mix in each of the remaining ingredients individually except for the powdered sugar. Cover the bowl and refrigerate mixture for 4 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 350°. Line your baking sheets with conveniently precut LaGrange unbleached parchment paper baking sheets. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then coat in powdered sugar. Add to baking sheet, allowing at least 2 inches between each.

3. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cookies rest on sheet out of the oven for 1 minute, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Tasty Sugar Cookies

These soft sugar cookies are a variation of the classic sugar cookie recipe. A touch of nutmeg is all it takes to make these simple Christmas cookies extra special. They are perfect as is, or feel free to frost them and decorate to your heart’s content.

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1¼ cups shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup buttermilk
Frosting, sprinkles, jimmies, other decorations (optional)

1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg into a medium bowl.

2. Beat shortening for 30 seconds in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and beat until fluffy.

3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well into the shortening and sugar mixture.

4. Add your flour mixture and buttermilk alternative to the new shortening mixture. Beat until mixed.

5. Divide final mixture in half. Wrap and chill for at least three hours.

6. Preheat oven to 375°. Roll dough ⅜” thick onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shape with a 2” cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Frost and decorate if you wish.

Christmas Spritz Cookies

Full of buttery flavor, these pressed cookies can easily be made sweeter by simply substituting almond extract for the run extract used here. Shiny sugar pearls and bright sanding sugar make perfect enhancements.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
¼ cup salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1½ teaspoons rum extract
2½ cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cream butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt until fluffy. Beat in egg and extract; then gradually beat in flour.

2. Using cookie press with the disc of your choice, press dough onto greased cookie sheets 1 inch apart.

3. Bake 6-9 minutes until bottoms are light brown. Allow to cool on pans for about two minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

4. Decorate as you wish.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

Ricotta cheese is the unusual ingredient which makes these Italian cookies so appealingly moist. Simple yet flavorful, they are sure to be a hit no matter what the occasion.

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 15-ounce carton ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting:
¼ cup butter, softened
3 to 4 cups confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
Colored sprinkles (optional)

1. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in ricotta and vanilla. In small bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture.

2. Using a tablespoon, drop 2” apart onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Place on wire racks immediately to cool.

3. In a large bowl, cream butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla with enough milk to ensure frosting is spreadable. Frost cookies and immediately decorate with sprinkles if you wish.

Snickerdoodles

A Holiday classic, snicker doodles are soft inside, with a crispy cinnamon coating. Best of all, they can be made ahead of time and frozen. Something to be grateful for come holiday baking time – providing you can resist the wonderful aroma wafting through your home…

1 cup shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400°; line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine cinnamon and sugar in shallow bowl or pie plate.

3. Beat shortening until smooth and creamy in mixing bowl. Gradually beat in 1½ cups of sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in vanilla extract.

4. Sift flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar in separate bowl; add to creamed mixture and stir until blended.

5. Shape dough into 1” balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture; place cookies 1” apart on prepared baking sheets.

6. Bake for about 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Place immediately on wire racks to cool.

Meltaway Butter Cookies

Rich and buttery yet easy to make, these melt-in-your-mouth wonders combine vanilla and almond extracts that will surprise and delight. The flexible dough allows you to shape these meltaway cookies any which way you wish: cutout cookies, logs, cylinders – let your imagination run wild!

1 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
Optional: 1/2 cup sugar or colored sugar

1. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Beat in salt, almond extract and vanilla extract; gradually blend in confectioners’ sugar, and then sifted flour.

2. Chill for about 1 hour or until dough becomes firm.

3. Preheat oven to 400°.

4. Shape dough into rolls about ¾” diameter, then cut to ¾” length. Place, ends up, on ungreased baking sheets. Press lightly with the bottom of a glass covered with a damp cloth. Optionally, sprinkle cookies with colored sugar or granulated sugar.

5. Bake at 400° for about 10 minutes.

3-Ingredient Coconut Macaroons

Requiring only three ingredients, this macaroon cookie recipe is a perfect go-to solution to last-minute potlucks or any other gatherings that happen to skip your mind. Quick and easy to make, these coconut cookies are also gluten-free.

5½ cups sweetened flaked coconut, gently packed
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Heat the oven to 325°.

2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick foil. Spray the paper or foil with nonstick cooking spray.

3. In a bowl, thoroughly combine coconut, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract.

4. Using a teaspoon or cookie scoop either greased or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, drop coconut mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1½ inches between the cookies.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.

6. Immediately move cookies to rack and allow to cool.

Goin' nuts...

If you favor nut cookies, you’re in for some delightful surprises. From popular peanut butter to almond, walnut and pecan, these nutty delights provide a seasonal flavor that is always welcome during the holidays, or any time of the year for that matter.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Who doesn’t love peanut butter cookies? While they are enjoyed year round, they also make a great addition to a Christmas cookie tray. But this peanut butter cookie recipe is special: because it is made without flour, it is great for people with wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity. The use of almond milk also addresses lactose intolerance and dairy allergy as well.

1 cup peanut butter
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 300°; line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. With electric mixer, cream peanut butter and sugars in large bowl till combined.

3. Mix in egg, then baking soda until well combined.

4. Drop dough by the teaspoon onto your prepared sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown and surfaces crack.

5. Allow to cool completely on the sheet.

Fig and Almond Cookies

This fig cookie recipe combines decadent figs and crunchy almonds into a buttery, flaky mouthful touched with a drizzling of light, sweet glaze – enjoy! Use the Ninja kitchen system with food processing bowl to grind your almonds, and you’ll be done in no time.

2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups confectioners sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

Filling:
8 ounces or 1⅓ cups dried figs
3 tablespoons unblanched almonds
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
4 teaspoons orange juice

Glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons 2% milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, cold water and vanilla until blended. Add flour, confectioners’ sugar, baking powder and salt in food processor and pulse until blended. Add butter, pulse until texture is crumbly. Continue pulsing while adding egg mixture. Pulse until combined.

2. Divide dough in half and shape each into a ball. Cover. Refrigerate an hour until firm enough to roll.

3. Wipe food processor out, then add figs and almonds; pulse until chopped. Add preserves and juice; pulse until combined.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each circle of dough into a 10” x 8” rectangle. Cut each of those lengthwise into four 2” wide strips.

5. Spread approximately 2 tablespoons of your filling down the middle of each strip. Fold dough over filling, pinching edges to seal. Roll each gently into log shape. Cut into 1” pieces.

6. Place cookies 1” apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly brown. Place cookies on wire racks to cool completely.

7. Mix glaze ingredients in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over cookies and let stand until set.

Hungarian Walnut Cookies

Consisting of a simple walnut filling sweetly wrapped in a buttery dough, these walnut cookies don’t just taste great – they’re a feast for the eyes. You may want to consider make an extra batch or two for gifting.

1 cup butter, softened
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2½ cups all-purpose flour

Filling:
2 large egg whites
⅓ cup sugar
3½ cups ground walnuts
Confectioners’ sugar

1. Cream butter and cream cheese in large bowl until well blended. Gradually beat flour into creamed mixture. Divide dough into three portions. Shape each into circles and cover in plastic. Refrigerate one hour so that dough is firm enough to roll.

2. Preheat oven to 375°. To make filling, beat egg whites and vanilla in a small bowl on medium speed. Gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time, blending on medium; stir in walnuts.

3. Coat work surface with generous amount of confectioners’ sugar. Roll one portion of dough ⅛” thick. Sprinkle with extra confectioners’ sugar as necessary to keep dough coated. Cut dough into 16 3” squares.

4. Take 2 tablespoons of filling and shape into a 2” long log. Place on a square of dough diagonally. Then, overlap corners of dough over filling, pinching to seal. Repeat with remainder of dough and filling, placing finished cookies 2” apart on greased cookie sheets.

6. Bake 9-12 minutes until bottoms are golden brown. Place immediately on wire racks to cool. Then dust with confectioners sugar.

Walnut Crescent Cookies

This walnut cookies recipe is not only easy to make, but because of their unusual crescent moon shape and their nutty goodness wrapped in a cloud of confectioners’ sugar, these classic walnut crescents also make great gifts…

4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
⅓ cup sugar
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup ground walnuts
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. In medium bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.

3. Add flour, walnuts, salt and vanilla. Mix together to form a smooth dough.

4. Roll out dough to ¼” thick. Use cookie cutter to cut out crescent or other desired shapes. Gather scraps of dough, re-roll and cut into shapes.

5. Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes until set.

6. Allow to stand for two minutes, then roll warm cookies in confectioners’ sugar. Place on wire racks to cool.

7. When completely cool, re-roll cookies in confectioners’ sugar; store in airtight container.

Pecan Ball Cookies

These sweet and crunchy little balls covered in confectioners’ sugar may look elegant, but make no mistake: this pecan balls recipe is easy to make. Butter pecan meltaways look lovely on a cookie tray or as a gift and are welcome any time of the year.

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup chopped pecans
Additional confectioners’ sugar

1. Cream butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and salt in separate small bowl. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in pecans and refrigerate until chilled.

2. Preheat oven to 350°. Roll dough into 1” balls and place one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake until set, approximately 10-12 minutes. Roll warm cookies in confectioners’ sugar. Allow to cool completely on wire racks, then roll once more in confectioners’ sugar.

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