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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Visions of Sugarplums

What is a sugarplum, anyway? A plum dipped in sugar? This is a good thing?


My started my version of sugarplums, which is basically lots of cookies! As I write this it is snowing gently, I'm listening to Christmas music, the lights are on and the house smells great. This is Christmas!


Every year I make a few favorites, resurrect one or two from the past, and if I find the right thing, try to include a new recipe. (Isn't this a cute vintage book? Maybe I'll have to try one from here, too!)


My current favorites this year are my cousin Bonnie's Jingle Bells (below), lemony shortbreads (the link takes you to a Christmas blast from the past!) and former blogger Anno's spiced almonds (her original recipe was for pecans).


The triple ginger snaps, along with Martha's Lemon Cake, which I make as small bread loaves, are also must-bakes!


I had two new recipes this year, Drumkickers, which came from one of my former bosses and is a German cookie (spelled differently -- this is how Kent's kids spelled and pronounced it!).


The other is Melting Moments, a very soft, meltaway cookie, the frosted cookies in the photo below.


There is a fun story to that one. Our friend Carolyn used to always make them for her husband Wally's gallery open house each holiday. When Carolyn died this spring the recipe (which she would never share) died with her until my friend Kate found it online! They are to die for!


Our Christmas tradition is to frost Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve. We started this one when the boys were small and it was a fun thing to do after dinner and before bed, so Santa would have a good selection!


(Here is a great tip for sugar cookies -- divide your dough in half and roll each half between two pieces of waxed paper and then transfer the whole paper/cookie unit to the back of a cookie sheet and chill for a half hour before transferring the cookies to their baking sheets. It cuts down on the rolling mess and also is an easy way to get them chilled. I did half the recipe for Detroit and in my freezer I have the other waxed-paper set ready to be cut out and baked this week.


Last weekend we celebrated the holidays with our kids in Detroit, so before we left, I made the cookies and packed up the icing and sprinkles.


After dinner, we all chipped in!


I have loads of great memories of this when the boys were little -- Kevin making a stacking cookie about seven cookies tall and packed with icing -- then cramming it into his tween-ager mouth; Greg (the artist) doing only a few cookies, but each one exquisite!

 

I hope it's something we'll be able to do with baby KevMo when he gets old enough to join in!


Sad to say that as of the Tuesday before Christmas, pretty much all the cookies I baked in this post (and the bread and the nuts!) have been distributed to friends on cheerful cookie plates picked up over the years after the holidays.


And so now, under the watchful eyes of the Kitchen Cooking Santa, I will venture forth today for encore baking!


After all, you have to have cookies at Christmas!

Today I'm joining blog parties at Sweet and Simple Fridays, Pink Saturday and Share Your Cup! Check out the wonderful links there.

35 comments:

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I haven't done any baking this year but hope to make some cookies and cranberry bread in the next few days.

Deb said...

Wow, Jeanie. These look wonderful and so festive. The iced sugar cookies were always a favorite with my kids when we would visit their grandparents in Wellesley, Ont. That was a 6 hour drive for us and we would stay for a few days. They certainly got their fill of cookies. :) I love your kitchen shelf with the kitchen santa and all. And what a sweet photo of you and Gypsy. xo

Valerie-Jael said...

Your cookies look great, what a lot you made! It's fun having he kids helping, too, big kids or small kids! I think those ginger snaps would be my faves. Have a fun time. Hugs, Valerie

I need orange said...

When I was growing up, our holiday cookies were peanut butter (with red and/or green sugar on top), Mexican wedding cakes, and date-nut pinwheels.

Neither my kid or my honey like nuts, so that list got truncated to the peanut butter cookies in my adulthood. Probably just as well.

If I lived closer, I'd drop by and help. Or kibitz, if "help" would be in the way. :-)

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

All of your cookies and breads look so yummy. I still have a little more to do and then some when I get up to my sons with grandaughter. She is old enough now to like to bake and is quite good.

Hugs,
Mary

Kathleen Grace said...

That looks like a great assortment, and yes, they have to be distributed when we bake or I would eat every single cookie! I have been toying with the idea of some gingerbread boys this afternoon. There are so many great recipes to choose from! Hae fun in your warm kitchen:)

Marilyn Miller said...

Your cookies look oh so delicious! It is fun to have an assortment for Christmas, though some of ours are already gone too. But there are gingerbread cookies still in the freezer and fruitcake too. I will make stollen on Christmas morning. Plus one family member has a birthday on Christmas, so there will be a cake too. I love the story of the recipe that died and was found.

Tammie Lee said...

ummmmm, they all look and sound so good. sitting around decorating looks like a good time and good memories.

the lemony shortbread got my attention, i will have to peak at that recipe. I hardly ever bake.

lovely holidays to you and yours.

Joanne Huffman said...

I am going to spend Thursday doing Christmas baking - it's what brings on the festive spirit for me.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Ohhh Santa has many choices at your house!! I love that everybody has their own traditional Christmas cookies that they make. Your cookies look wonderful. We've done sugar cookies and had decorating times together. It is such a nice thing to do with the "kids". It looks like you're all ready. -Jenn

Daniela said...

These are the busiest hours of the whole year, aren't they, dearest Jeanie, but what a joy they bring !
Your cookies looks so yummy and you've such adorable helpers ... I envy you ;)

May your Christmas be the Merriest and Brightest ever, Sweetie,
SENDING BLESSINGS TO YOU AND YOUR DEAR ONES

Xx Dany

My name is Erika. said...

I'm jealous. I want to stay home and bake cookies all day. Work can just get in the way of things-ha-ha! Yours look delicious! Happy holiday weekend! Hugs-Erika

Quiltmoose - Dagmar said...

Your Christmas cookies all look soooo delicious! I have done a lot more baking this year than usual, even though the kids won't be home before tomorrow. Go figure who ate a lot of them already!
Have wonderful holidays!
Dagmar

Shelia said...

Oh, what yummy looking cookies and I love your tradition too! Wish I lived close to you so maybe you'd share a couple of your beautiful cookies with me. Love that sweet Christmasy shelf too. Merry Christmas, my sweet friend.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

The French Hutch said...

What a sweet tradition you have of frosting cookies. Fun and a lot of nibbling going on I bet. Your home sounds like mine minus the snow. Our family is coming home and we'll all be together to celebrate Christmas.
Merry Christmas Jeannie........

La Table De Nana said...

Beautiful assortment! I had melting moments at Simone's home about 20 yrs ago and she gave me her recipe..I should resurrect it too!
I love your family doing the cookies and I bet they did too..I have always loved sitting with someone doing a craft..you need not talk..just peaceful and creative.

shoreacres said...

I've already done a double batch of what you call jingle bells, and sent them off to my aunt. We call them Christmas pralines, but whatever the name, the recipe I gave is my great-grandmother's. Those cookies have been around a long time.

I re-read the shortbread recipe on your other post. One tip I learned from Peg Bracken is that when you're using a glass to flatten cookies, keep a little dish of sugar handy, and dip the bottom of the glass in it from time to time. It adds a little sugar to the top of the cookie, but not much, and it keeps the glass from sticking.

Rita C. said...

I saved the lemony shortbread recipe - thank you! Wow, that dates back to 2008! Merry Christmas, Jeanie!

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

I am so hungry right now! I've never seen so many yummy looking cookies. Makes me want to bake, and I hardly every bake. Maybe I need to this year. It would make Larry happy. :-) I like that tradition of decorating cookies on Christmas Eve. That's a good way to keep little ones busy and distracted on such an exciting night for them.

Carola Bartz said...

You have been busy - I am impressed. How fun that you still do the icing and decorating pf the cookies with your kids, that is so lovely! I haven't baked a single cookie yet, but I hope to bake a few tomorrow with my daughter. She was already baking with her friends and then distributing the cookies to the neighbors, playing little elves. They had so much fun with that.
I don't know the German cookie you mentioned, and it's mainly Christmas cookies from our old German recipes that we are baking. Sometimes it's a little bit tricky to find all the ingredients for it.

Jeanne Washburn said...

Jeanie - All the cookies look wonderful...what a selection...could be tough for Santa to decide! Merry Christmas! :)

Red Rose Alley said...

Oh my, look at all these goodies! How wonderful that you bake for the holidays, Jeanie. They all look so Yummy, but I smiled when I saw the sugar cookies because they are my favorite Christmas cookie of all. :) It looks like they're having fun decorating them. The "Melting Moments" cookie looks simply delicious. Here's to all the baking you've done, Jeanie!

~Sheri

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Yum! You have been busy!! I usually bake one GF holiday treat each year. I keep to one treat as no one really wants to eat GF stuff unless they have to, and I can only eat so much. ;) This year we made sugar cookies which were excellent! The GF dough is too soft (even when refrigerated) to roll it out, so we just did circular cookies which worked just fine when the kiddos decorated them (plus my friend brought gingerbread cookies that she cut into holiday shapes so they had plenty to work with!). My mom makes a couple of things that I can eat, like heath candy and peanut brittle so there are plenty of sweets for me! I'll def make these sugar cookies again as my friends all said they'd never know they are GF!

Arti said...

O I love your pics of these cookies, and what fun making it a family affair. Just wonderful. Thanks for the enticing post! :))

Victoria Zigler said...

I think sugarplums are candied plums. I've never had one, but want to just so I can say I tried one. Hard to have a vision of something dancing in my head if I'm not 100% certain what it is, after all. ;)

Mmm... Cookies! Yep, you have to have cookies at Christmas... Even if you cheat, like I'm doing this year, and buy them. I don't usually cheat. I usually bake at least the cookie part of our holiday goodies. But this year I brought everything.

Decor To Adore said...

Love your kitchen Santa Jeanie! All of the cookies I created are also long gone. I love how your entire family chipped in to decorate. Have a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh Jeanie, TIS THE SEASON! I too was looking up sugar plums the other day, and they are not what I thought! But how delish your work here looks. Oh the memories, OH the tastes of the season. Enjoy yourself!

Cheryl said...

Girl, those cookies look fabulous! Absolutely beautiful and very classy looking and probably to.die.for! The vintage cookie book is a hoot! Just darling! Sweet photos of your family pitching in to decorate cookies--- good times, good times :-)
big hugs,
Cheryl

Jann Olson said...

Such a fun tradition Jeanie and they all look delicious! I too have a 'baking day' tradition with all of the ladies and girls in the family. We are doing it tomorrow. We call it baking day, but it really is candy making. I think I need to make some cookies sometime. I love wedding cookies and the first ones remind me of them. I adore your cooking book. I always pick up vintage ones with cute graphics! Have a very Merry Christmas!
hugs,
Jann

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, how much fun you are having...every confection looks delicious.,,Merry Christmas!

My thrift store addiction said...

Yum! My grandmother used to make the jingle bell cookies and my grown kids want them every year ;) Merry Christmas!

BarberryLane Designs said...

These all look nummy. We do a family cookie bake---it was last Saturday and oodles of cookies get baked and decorated. Trays go home with everyone---and most get eaten, long before Christmas. So, I'm the keeper of the stash for Christmas Eve. And I basically have to hide them until after dinner. Grins, and Merry Christmas! Sandi

anno said...

How fabulous! And what fun! It is wonderful to see what you've been making.... it's the first year I haven't baked anything at all. Just bought a pan forte and some chocolates--placeholders for things I would normally do. But then, this has been a year when putting in a placeholder has been all I can muster. Can always hope to do better next year. Merry Christmas to you and your (growing) family! xoxox, anno

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I certainly picked the wrong time to be offline. Your cookies are making me hungry. I made ginger cookies, and two types of chocolate, but before I could photograph them, they were out the door. Your sugar plum post has me drooling, and I love them, old and new!

bj said...

our grandgirls and I have been making Christmas cookies since they were all tiny...they are coming in about an hour to bake and decorate...and I charged up my camera battery so I can get some memory-making photos, too....

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