Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Cookies

For as long as I can remember, my mom and I have helped Aunt Jo make and wrap Christmas cookies a few days before the holiday. Aunt Jo makes tons of delicious cookies every year, and it just wouldn’t be Christmas without them. When I was little, I would leave a few out for Santa; now, there’s more for me!

Aunt Jo bakes off hundreds of cookies, but waits for us to make the candy cane and butter cookies or “Fa La La La Las.” The candy canes are a classic favorite that everyone enjoys. Taking their position right at the top of the cookie tins, they are the first to be seen and the first to go.


I especially look forward to the tradition of making (and eating) the candy cane cookies each year. Using the recipe from her junior high home ec. class (!), Aunt Jo prepares the dough the night before, and my mom and I roll them into shape.

To form candy canes: take a small amount of each color and use your hands to roll each out into two long, fairly-thin logs. Join the logs together and twist. Lightly roll the twisted dough with hands to smooth out; form cane shape.

Cousin Jake hung out in the kitchen while we baked--with his reindeer antlers on. :-)

For the butter cookies, I make the dough, and using an electric cookie press we squish them into festive shapes like Christmas trees and snowflakes, and then decorate with sprinkles. They are super simple and just melt in your mouth. In a well-timed operation, Christmas music plays over the hum of the cookie press as one tray gets decorated, another goes into the oven, and another comes out.

Once everything is cooled, Tupperwares and Tupperwares of cookies are placed onto the kitchen table. In addition to the candy canes and butter cookies, there’s traditional chocolate chip, chocolate with peanut butter chip, Snicker bar and Hershey Kiss-filled, sesame, amaretto, and more! It’s hard to pick a favorite because every one is so good. All are then put into tins and wrapped up for friends and family.

Other than, of course, the cookies themselves, the best part of our Christmas cookie bake is honestly just being together and getting into the spirit of the season; throughout the years, many memories have been created over the butter cookies and candy canes.

Below is the recipe for the candy cane cookies, so that you can enjoy them too!

Candy Cane Cookies:

Yield: about 2 dozen

- 1 cup butter/ 2 sticks
- 1 cup sifted confectioners sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp red food coloring

• Preheat oven to 374 degrees F.
• Mix butter, sugar, extracts and egg in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt; gradually stir flour into butter mixture.
• Divide the dough and mix half with red food coloring. Wrap dough halves individually, and refrigerate overnight.
• To form candy canes: take a small amount of each color and use your hands to roll each out into two long, fairly-thin logs. Join the logs together and twist. Lightly roll the twisted dough with hands to smooth out; form cane shape.
• Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes.


Foodtographer said...

Yay! Christmas cookies. Now that brings back childhood memories. has been a long time...thanks for the great post.

K o r i said...

Oh, so fun to see other families have the some of the same cookie traditions as us. We love making candy cane cookies and butter cookies (we call them "spritz") too! Nothing beats baking at Xmas time! Happy holidays to you!!!

Roxan said...

Marisa I LOVE the candy cane cookies! Too bad I've already declared that I'm done with the christmas baking (and I'm not at home anyways, unfortunately), otherwise I would tooootally make these! Have a very merry christmas marisa!

Lazaro Cooks! said...

Lovely cookies. Wishing you the best this holiday season. I have enjoyed meeting you and following this wonderful blog.

Look forward to more in 2011.

Be well

Koci said...

Your cookie party sounds like so much fun! I love those candy cane cookies! This year, I actually ended up making a couple of ice creams rather than cookies to take over to my grandparents' house, which may seem odd, but it's been in the 70s down here for the past week so ice cream's not so out of place. :D

Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!!

Cindy Waffles said...

Baking cookies are so much fun! Love your candy cane cookies. Merry Christmas!

Victoria said...

Those candy cane cookies do look awesome! I can't believe your aunt's recipe is from junior high! Merry Christmas, Marisa!!


Cute cookies! I bet they taste fantastic!

Evan @swEEts said...

All your cookies look ah-mazing and I love those candy cane ones! I tried to make some like that once and they just turned into a blob ha. I love spritz cookies.. I wish I would have gotten some this year! Happy Holidays :)

The Mom Chef said...

I love your candy canes and am sad that I didn't make the pressed cookies now that I see yours with the ball sprinkles like when I was a kid. Such good memories your pictures bring back!

~Lisa~ said...

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas weekend! Loved those cookies (=

Claudia said...

Sweet memories...sweet cookies and love the sentiments. The candy cane ones are adorable and I was lazy and didn't do pressed cookies and now I wish I did.

Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron said...

I love candy cane cookies! they look so adorable! wait, your aunt Jo baked hundreds of cookies!? my goodness. Can you let her know that a Seattle blogger wants some too? :D
Happy Holidays Marisa!

Magic of Spice said...

Love these cookies...
Wishing you a most lovely New Year :)

Elsa said...

Beautiful cookies!!

Amy said...

Your candy cane cookies are adorable! I bet they were delicious as well :)!