Just like the Christmas stocking and other Christmas traditions, Christmas cookies play a very special role in the holiday celebration. Many of you remember visiting your grandparents at Christmastime and running straight to the cookie jar or attending a holiday celebration where there is a table full of Christmas treats. Of all the holiday traditions inherited and adopted by our ancestors, the foods (especially sweets) are likely enjoyed the most. Here are some of our favorite traditional Christmas cookies, passed on passed on over the years, that we would like to share with you.
¾ cup margarine or butter softened, ¼ cup sugar, 2 cups all purpose flour.
Heat oven to 350º. Mix all ingredients. If dough is crumbly, mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened. Roll dough about ½ inch thick on lightly floured cloth-covered board. Cut into small shapes (ovals, squares, triangles). Place about ½ inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until set, about 20 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. You can also dip in chocolate or sprinkle with powdered sugar as shown in the picture. Makes about 2 dozen
Swedish Spritz Cookies
1 cup margarine or butter softened, ½ sugar, 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour, ½ tsp. salt, 1 egg, 1 tsp. almond extract or vanilla
Heat oven to 400º. Mix margarine and sugar. Mix in remaining ingredients. Place dough in cookie press; form desire shapes on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until set but not brown, 6 to 9 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet.
Makes about 5 dozen.
To decorate: Before baking, top with raisins, candies, nuts, candied fruits etc. Or, after baking top with colored sugars, red cinnamon candies or finely chopped nuts. Use drop of corn syrup to hold decoration on baked cookie
2 cups margarine, 2 ½ cups sugar, 3 eggs, 2 tsp. molasses, 1 tsp. vanilla, 5 ½ cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 ½ cups slivered almonds
Cream margarine; add sugar and eggs; beat well. Add molasses and vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Add nuts. Dough will be thick. Mold into 4 rolls. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into thin slices. Bake at 350º for 8-10 minutes until brown. Makes 10 dozen
Russian Tea Cakes
1 cup margarine or butter softened, ½ cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour, ¾ cups finely chopped nuts, powdered sugar
Heat oven to 400º. Mix margarine, ½ cup powdered sugar and the vanilla. Mix in flour and nuts until dough holds together. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until set but not brown, 10-12 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar while warm; cool. Roll in powdered sugar again.
Makes about 4 dozen.
1 cup butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp. almond extract, 2 cups flour, 1 egg white, ½ cup almonds slivered, 1 tbsp sugar, ¼ tsp. cinnamon
Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add egg yolk and almond extract and blend thoroughly. Stir in flour. Pat dough into greased 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan. Beat egg white until foamy; spread evenly over dough. Spread almonds over the top. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top. Bake 20-25 minutes in a 350º oven. Cool 10 minutes. Cut lengthwise cuts, then 12 diagonal cuts. Cool.
3 eggs,½ cup sugar, ½ stick butter, 1 tsp. baking powder, flour
Mix with enough flour to make a soft dough. Roll out thin and cut into strips. Every so often, pinch this strip about ½ inch, then start with a circle movement and make it look like a rose. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Set on paper towel to get extra oil off and store. When ready to serve, sprinkle with crushed walnuts and honey. Heat the honey; it makes it easier to spread with a spoon in all the grooves. Sprinkle nuts. Powder sugar can be used instead.
Greek Kolacky Cookies
1 ½ cup flour, 1 stick butter or margarine ½ large cream cheese
Cream together butter and cream cheese. Leave at room temperature about 2 hours. Sprinkle with milk lightly on mixture. Roll dough into a ball. Divide into two. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; flatten like a patty and refrigerate. Dough must be cold to roll out.
Take out only a half a patty at a time to roll. Roll dough on pastry cloth sprinkled with flour. Cut dough into 2-inch squares. Put 1 teaspoon of prune, apricot or strawberry filling in the center of each square. Fold in opposite ends to make diamond shape. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes, only until bottom of cookies are lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet immediately and roll in confectioners sugar. Makes about 4 dozen.
Walnut mixture: 1 lb walnuts (chopped), ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, 2 crushed melba toasts, 1 lb. phyllo, Approx . 3 sticks butter Syrup mixture: 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 little lemon juice
Mix top 4 ingredients. Lay about 6 sheets phyllo in pan, brushing every 2nd sheet with melted butter and allowing sheets to curve part-way up sides of pan. Sprinkle with a layer of walnut mixture. Add a few sheets phyllo again, brushing with butter. Add another layer of the walnut mixture until you have used all the walnut mixture. Put a layer of 6 unbroken phyllo on top and tuck the edges in with phyllo edge of butter knife. With very sharp knife, cut into squares, then each square diagonally. Bake in 325 oven for 1 hour. Cool completely several hours an soak with syrup.
Syrup: Combine ingredients above for syrup mixture. Bring to a boil. Continue to stir and simmer for approximately 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Pour a little at a time over baklava, coating evenly.
Dough: 2 pkgs. dry yeast, combined with ½ cup warm water, 2 cups Crisco, 1 tsp. salt, 4 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 6 tbsp. sugar, 6 cups flour, 1 small carton sour cream (8oz)
Nut filling: 1 lb chopped nuts (walnut), ½tsp. cinnamon (optional), milk (enough to make a thick paste), 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla
Mix thoroughly like pie dough (do not overwork). Roll out on powdered sugar board instead of flour. Roll ¼ to ½ inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch squares. Place ½ tsp. nut mixture in each square and roll up and shape like a crescent. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 350º about 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 egg yolks, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/8 tsp cardamom, ¼ tsp allspice, 2 cups flour, 1 cup pecans chopped, ½ cup strawberry jam
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat thoroughly. Add cardamom and allspice to flour then add flour mixture to butter mixture. Stir in chopped nuts. Spread half of the dough in a greased 8 inch square cake pan. Spread the strawberry jam on top. Cover with the remaining dough. Bake in 325º oven for 1 hour or until browned lightly. Cool then cut into squares.
Brown sugar mixture: 1 egg, ¾ cup brown sugar (packed), ½ cup honey, ½ cup dark molasses
Flour mixture: 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp ground cloves ½ tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground cardamon, ½ cup chopped almonds, ½ cup mixed candied fruits and peels (finely chopped)
Lemon Glaze: 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, 1 tbsp. butter or margarine (melted), 1 tbsp lemon juice
Beat egg; add brown sugar and beat together until fluffy. Add honey and molasses. Beat well. Mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, ginger, and cardamon in large bowl. Add brown sugar mixture. Stir by hand; mixture will be stiff. Stir in almonds and candied fruits and peels. Cover and chill for several hours until easy to handle.
Divide dough in half. Roll each half on a floured surface to a 12 x 8 inch rectangle. Cut into 2-inch squares. Place on a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake at 350º, 8-10 minutes or till edges are set. Slightly Cool. Brush cookies with Lemon Glaze while warm. (Combine all lemon glaze ingredients; add water 3-4 tsp. to make a drizzle consistency.)
Garnish cookies with additional candied fruits and peels. allow glaze to dry. Place in a container and allow to sit for up to 7 days to allow flavor to mellow.
4 large eggs, 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp anise extract, 4 ½ cups cake flour
Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar and beat for 15 minutes. Do not overbeat. Fold in anise extract and flour. Roll dough ⅜ inch thick. Flour mold or rolling pin. Press molds firmly to dough. Place cookies on greased and floured cookie sheet. Let dry overnight at room temperature, covered with paper towels. Preheat oven to 375º, then place cookies in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 300º. Bake for 15 minutes. Cookies should not brown. Store for 2-3 weeks to mellow flavor. Paint designs with egg yolk colored with food coloring.
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