Fill the cookie jar for the holidays
"Be sorry for people whoever they are whole live in a house with no cookie jar." These Christmas cookies might never reach the cookie jar, but will be served to guests, wrapped as gifts, perhaps mailed to distant places, and in some cases used to adorn the tree.
The first recipe is for candy canes, a molded cookie. Although these are shaped by hand, the idea of molded cookies originated in Greece where the earliest ones were made of clay. Imaginative molds evolved and by the late 18th century, cookies depicted familiar objects, thus giving pleasure to the eyes as well as the palate.
Some of the first colonists brought their favorite recipes, either written down or memorized, and those who did not have molds, boards, and rolling pins improvised by pressing butter molds or cut-glass dishes on the rolled cookie dough. Candy Cane Cookies 1/2 cup margarine, softened 1/2 cup butter 1 cup confectioners' sugar 1 egg 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Thoroughly mix margarine, butter, confectioner's sugar, egg and flavorings. Blend in flour and salt. Divide dough in two portions. Blend food color into half o fdough. Shape 1 teaspoon dough from each half into 4-inch rope. For smooth, even ropes, roll them back and forth together lightly and twist. Complete cookies one at a time. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
Curve top down to form handle of cane. Bake about 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove while still warm. Sprinkle with mixture of 1/2 cup peppermint candy and 1/2 cup sugar. Makes about 4 dozen cookies. Frosted Yule Logs 1 cup butte ror margarine 3/4 cup sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 cups sifted flour 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 cup sugar 1 cup finely chopped pecans 1 egg white
Beat butter or margarine until light. Add 3/4 cup sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla to blend well. Sift together flour and nutmeg. Stir into creamed mixture. Shape dough into fat pencil-shaped rolls, each about 2 inches long, to represent Yule logs.
Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and pecans. Beat egg white slightly. Did Yule logs into egg white and then roll in nut mixture. Place 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degrees F. oven about 10 minutes until browned. Remove cookies and cool on racks. Makes 6 dozen.
Christmas gingerbread figures have been popular since the 15th century. Especially made for the season in the image of Christmas-tide characters, such as St. Nicholas, They were of Christmas tide characters, such as St. Nicholas, they were sometimes gilded. A 1487 mold was used by German Emperor Frederick III for 4,000 gingerbread cookies bearing his likeness. Gingerbread Santas 1 cup light molasses 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 cup shortening 2 eggs, beaten 4 1/2 cups flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon ginger 1 teaspoon cloves 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Bring molasses and sugar to boil and pour over shortening in large bowl. Stir until cool. Add eggs, mix dry ingredients and add. Chill dough overnight.
Roll in lightly floured board to about 1/4 inch thickness. With Santa-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Use currants for eyes and buttons.
Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 8 minutes. Decorate with icing if desired. Yuletide Gems 1/2 cup shortening 3/4 cup sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 2/3 cups unsifted flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 cup commercial sour cream 1 1/4 cups finely chopped nuts Jam, jelly, or preserves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In large mixer bowl, combine shortening, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Mix well. Sift together dry ingredients. Add to shortening mixture alternately with sour cream. Mix well. Shape into 1 1/4 -inch balls. Roll in nuts.
Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.Press thumb in center of each ball. Fill with raspberry or strawberry jam. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 4 1/2 dozen. These cookies can be made ahead and frozen.
Those partial to chocolate will feel forgotten unless at least one cookie, such as the following, is included. Santa's Favorite Shortbread 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1/4 cup sugar 1 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate bits 2 tablespoons pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Set aside. In small bowl with electric mixer at medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in flour until well mixed. Pat dough evenly into bottom of pan. With tines of fork, prick dough all over to prevent bubbles from forming during baking.
Bake for 1 hour or until pale and golden, but not brown. Remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle chocolate pieces on top. Let stand about 5 minutes until chocolate melts. Spread chocolate evenly over top until smooth. Sprinkle with nuts. Refrigerate until chocolate sets. Cut into bars. Makes 24 cookies