Well, don't you love your own the most? Now and then, a super-duper new recipe pops up that becomes part of the repertoire, but there are still the favorites.
So, blogger Mae asked me about some of my favorites and I decided to share a few recipes with you. Some might feel familiar, some are variations on a theme. In any event, enjoy! (Cue the music -- this is a good one!)
My Favorite Go-To Shortbread
The photo shows it dressed for Easter. But at Christmas you might find a bit of colored sugars topping these. Or a dab of buttercream. I might add some dried cranberries or mini chocolate chips or Heath bar chips. And my favorite any-time-of-year version is just a lemon juice/powdered sugar glaze -- either dropped into the center or drizzled over the top.
This recipe makes about 3 dozen if you use a small scoop (about the size of a melon baller or a bit larger). They also freeze like a dream. Best of all, you have all the ingredients -- I bet you do!
300 degrees for 15-18 minutes, till edges are golden.
Cream 2 sticks soft butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
2 c. flour (1 c. at a time)
(You can also add cranberries, decorating sprinkles, mini-chips, or other bits for a different look)
Put in balls on cookie sheet and gently press with fingertips or flat of a spoon. Bake till edges are golden and cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack. I will sometimes glaze these, too.
Cousin Bonnie's Jingle Bells
|These are Jingle Balls before they have their second dipping of powdered sugar.|
You may well have your own version of these little pecan balls -- Snowballs, Italian Wedding Cake, Mexican Wedding Cookies. The names and recipes may vary slightly. What doesn't? The taste!
This recipe makes about five to eight dozen, depending on how small you make them. And the secret to making them so delicious is the double dipping in the powdered sugar -- first, right when warm from the oven and then again when they are cooled.
350 -- about 20 minutes
2 c. flour
2 c. chopped pecans
2 softened sticks of butter
4 T. sugar
2 t. vanilla
Make into tiny balls and bake. Roll in powdered sugar while hot and again when they cool.
My friend Carolyn Parshall would never share her recipe for what she called Melting Moments. Then one day my pal Kate found the recipe for this on the back of the cornstarch box! Kate calls them Mint Meltaways. I call them Minty Clouds. Because you've gotta claim your own!
These have limited sugar and you use powdered sugar instead of regular granulated. They're very light and indeed, they do melt away! Frost with buttercream.
1 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. peppermint extract
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. cornstarch
Mix and refrigerate a half hour. Then do one-inch balls two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets or parchment. Bake 12-15 minutes till edges lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes on sheet and remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 T soft butter
1 to 2 T. milk (add gradually)
1/4 t. peppermint extract
Frost and if you want, add crushed peppermints or candy canes.
I shared this recipe long ago here. It came from one of my former bosses who said it was his German grandmother. It's a gently spicy brown sugar cookie that can be cut into long or short "fingers" and either served plain or with a drizzle glaze. When he brought them to the office they were gone in a flash.
As you can see from the photo, this one makes a lot. It calls for Lyle's Golden Syrup, which is common in England and not as common here. I have had luck finding it at World Market and some specialty food stores or online. You may be able to substitute Karo syrup for this -- but I haven't tried it and take no responsibility if it doesn't pan out with Karo!
I liked Kent's instructions -- they had great character (like Kent), as you shall see!
A couple of things about this recipe. It calls for vanilla powder and vanilla sugar. I'm told you can find it at World Market and I would guess at specialized food stores or possibly King Arthur. But I didn't have it. So I used a little more vanilla. It tasted fine to me.
And Kent's didn't call for icing but I think an icing glaze always looks pretty, especially at the holidays so mine is basically thinned out powdered sugar, milk, butter and vanilla to a "pouring" level.
Cream 1 c. butter (softened)
(Kent's Note: I only use real butter, not margarine or Crisco. They don't turn out as well if you don't use real butter. And besides -- you're supposed to use real butter! Generation after generation of plump German Fraus can't be wrong.)
1 c. vanilla sugar (or regular if you can't find)
2 T. Lyle's Golden Syrup (OK, maybe 3 T if you like really sweet)
2 c. flour
1 t. soda
3 T. vanilla powder (you can substitute an equal amount of vanilla)
Heat oven to 325 degrees. I'd recommend parchment paper. Roll dough into a four "logs" that are about one in in diameter or square and about 12 inches long, give or take. They will flatten out, so give them room on a cookie sheet (see photo below to see how it flattens.) It works to do three lengthwise and one across the width of the pan. Bake 20-22 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 3-5 minutes on cookie sheet. Cut baked logs into strips while on cookie sheet. You could also use a deep cookie cutter but there is likely to be spoilage.
(Since I glaze them, I drizzle the glaze after they've cooled but still on the cookie sheet).
The rest of Kent's Instructions:
- Dough is thick compared to cookies like chocolate chip and log size approximate.
- I sift the flour but I don't know that this recipe really benefits from it.
- Liberal applications of Schnapps (brandy, port or riesling may be substituted) for the chef during the baking seems to help the results, I find. Or perhaps just make the results easier to accept. It easily makes a double batch or two full cookie sheets.
The Good Old Fashioned Christmas Cookie!
I make these every year and on Christmas Eve with the kids, whichever day that falls on, we decorate them. We've been doing it since they were small, first for Santa, with the rest used for Christmas dinner dessert and given away.
I'm hoping this year we can introduce the tradition to at least one Baby Grand!
2 1/2 sticks of butter
1 c. sugar
(Cream together till fluffy and add:)
1 large egg (I used extra large and it was fine)
1 T. milk (I didn't have milk -- used water, it was fine)
2 1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. finely grated lemon zest (I just did the whole lemon because I like them lemony; this is an optional ingredient)
Add (mixed together)
3 1/4 flour (all purpose)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
Mix ingredients together and divide in half.
Roll each half out flat between two sheets of waxed paper and chill a half hour.
Peel off top layer of waxed paper and cut cookies, rerolling dough scraps.
If the dough gets too soft, roll flat again between waxed paper and re-chill.
Repeat for the second half.
Bake on parchment or greased sheets at 375 for 6 to 9 minutes. (If using sugars vs. icing, put on before baking) Cool on baking sheet for a minute or two before removing.
Cool on baking rack before frosting.
You probably have your favorite buttercream or frosting recipe. I frost with my trash can version of butter cream -- about a half stick of butter, up to 1 T. of milk (depending on how much powdered sugar -- I just throw it in) and about 1 t. of vanilla or -- if desired -- another flavor. I used lemon juice with these -- about 1 T., because I like it tart! (Or peppermint or whatever you like. Maraschino cherry juice is good too, and tints the icing at the same time!)
Adjust consistency with more sugar or milk.
Note: This recipe makes a lot of cookies and the dough will freeze, so you could bake off half of it, which is probably easier than making a half-recipe. It all depends on the size of your cutters. This cutter from Rita is extra large (as are some Christmas cutters) but many are much smaller.
Add toppings. Lots of them!
And then wait for Santa!
(Miss any of my Christmas posts? Check the tab on the menu bar at the top of the blog, where Christmas 2019 is archived!)
Sharing with: Pink Saturday / Let's Keep in Touch / Share Your Style / Best of the Weekend