Growing up in my household meant that as soon as Thanksgiving Day hit, so did the holiday baking frenzy. The Friday through Sunday after Thanksgiving was a baking marathon. Several of my Aunts and cousins would come over to create 1000's of Christmas cookies. My cousins, brothers & sisters, and I were the cookie decorators and instructions were given more like orders in what I affectionately call 'cookie baking boot-camp'. From sun-up to sun-down, we mixed, baked, and decorated cookies. If we didn't complete all the required baking by the end of the weekend, sure enough, they would all come back the following weekend and even the one after that, until the baking was all done. Then the cookies were evenly split amongst the Aunts so that all of the families went home with loads of giant Tupperware containers full of cookies. Of course, this is all practical when you live in Minnesota and can just set the tubs of cookies in the garage to freeze. It wouldn't work so well in Florida where ten chest freezers would be required.
Now that all of us kids are all grown up with our own families, my Mom still bakes all those same cookies - just in smaller quantities. My brothers, sisters, Mom's co-workers, her friends and the rest of our family, all look forward to her stopping by with our Christmas gift tray of cookies that she so lovingly baked up for each us.
As my Mom shared with me, so I share with you.
Melt the butter and marshmallows in a double boiler. Add vanilla and food coloring until desired green color. Lastly, add the corn flakes. Blend thoroughly. While warm (cool slightly), drop from tablespoons on ungreased cookie sheet and shape into wreaths with greased fingers. Decorate with candies. Makes 15 to 20 wreaths depending on size.
My Tips - My Mom uses way more than a ¼ tsp to get the dark green color shown in the photo. Also, she quadruples this recipe each time she makes it so that she doesn't have to do so many batches for her holiday baking.
Cream sugar and butter together. Add egg and flavorings; mixing thoroughly. Sift dry ingredients together and stir in. Refrigerate the cookie dough 2 to 3 hours. Heat oven to 375°F. Divide dough in half and roll out on lightly floured pastry board. Roll thin, but thick enough to pick up the design of the cookie cutters. Dip cutter in flour before each cutting. Cut as many cookies from each rolling as possible. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until delicately golden.
My Tips - These decorated sugar cookies are light and crisp in texture so I recommend decorating them with sugars and confetti candies rather than a heavy icing.
Preheat oven to 375° F. Thoroughly cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg, milk, vanilla, almond extract and mix well. Stir together flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture, mixing to a smooth dough. Do NOT chill. Shape dough in small logs and place in a cookie press. Press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Remove cookies from sheet and cool on a rack. Makes 7 to 8 dozen Spritz cookies.
My Tips - Decorate the cookies with colored sugars prior to baking in the oven. You can also color the dough with paste food coloring - I think it works better than the liquid food coloring because it keeps the dough the same consistency. For example, we color it green to make pressed Christmas tree-shaped cookies.
Mix all ingredients together except peanut butter cups and chill in refrigerator for an hour. Roll dough into 3/4" walnut size balls and place a ball in each miniature holiday themed paper cup (cups are set in a miniature muffin tin - they usually hold 24 mini muffins). Bake in oven at 375° F for 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place a peanut butter cup in the center of each baked ball and press down until tops are even. Leave sit in the tins for 10 minutes to cool and then remove them.
My Tips - Do not overbake the dough in the mini paper cups because it need to be somewhat soft in order to press down the peanut butter cup. These cookies are a favorite in my house!
Cook butter, sugar, and dates over low heat in frying pan until melted and dissolved. Remove from heat and add eggs, milk, salt, and vanilla. Cook over low heat until thick. Remove from heat and cool. Add Rice Krispies and nuts. Grease hands. Roll into small balls and then roll in extra fine coconut. Place on cookie sheets lined with wax paper until set.
In large bowl, cream together shortening, peanut butter, and sugars. Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, and salt. Add dry ingredient mixture to creamed mixture. Mix thoroughly. Shape by rounded teaspoonful into balls. Roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and place a solid Hershey's chocolate kiss on the top of each cookie pressing down so that cookie cracks around the edge. Return to oven and bake 2 to 5 minutes longer. Remove and cool cookies on a rack.
Stir peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt together. Cook in microwave on HIGH for 9 minutes. Remove and add butter and vanilla. Stir in well. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. Remove and add baking soda. Stir until mixture foams well. Pour into warm, buttered big cookie sheet. Cool and break into pieces.
Smear peanut butter on a pair Ritz crackers to make a sandwich. Do this until you have used up the entire package of crackers. Then melt the chocolate almond bark in a double boiler. Once melted and smooth, dip each sandwich into chocolate almond bark until full coated. Place chocolate covered cookies on a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Place pretzels on foil, topping each one with a Rolo candy. Bake at 250° F in oven for 4 minutes until candies are softened slightly (they will retain their shape). Remove from the oven and immediately place a pecan candy on top of each Rolo and press down until the candy fills the pretzel. Then place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or until they are set.
Combine chips in large saucepan. Stir constantly over very low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Add peanuts and cereal. Stir gently until well coated. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Chill until firm. Make 8 dozen.
When you need to send an impressive gift to a friend, co-worker or family member for the holidays, consider a Christmas Cookie Bouquet. They look great and taste good too. Plus they are a gift that you know they won't return! Traditional and whimsical cookie shapes such as snowflakes and reindeer are baked on stems and then artfully arranged in a bouquet style.