Yesterday, if you saw some of my Currently posts on Instagram, I caught a little Christmas spirit. I got out my tree, untangled some lights, lit a cinnamon and evergreen candle, and even listened to my first few Christmas tunes. For the first time this year, I baked a batch of Christmas cookies! Actually, there isn’t truly anything “Christmasy” about them, except that I (almost only) bake them around Christmas.
There are a few cookie recipes that my mom always made during the holiday season. She made them for us, for family members, for neighbors, for friends, for teachers, you name it. I’ll share the recipes here on the blog throughout the season, so that you can consume more than your fair share of cookies over the next two months, just like my family does!
Here are the ones I made yesterday:
These are called Cherry Shortbread Cookies. They are from a Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Cookie cookbook from, oh, 1990 or so. My mom’s edition is so well-used that the binding has broken, and I’m using photocopies out of a 3-ring binder. There is a whole section for shortbread, a whole section for holiday cookies, and so on… let me just say, they’re delicious. I’ve tried a LOT of them, and rarely have been disappointed.
The recipe calls for 1/4 cup maraschino cherries, well drained, 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and red food coloring if you’d like your cookie to be vibrantly colored. Mix the flour and sugar, add the butter and mix on low until the mixture looks like fine crumbs, then add the drained cherries until it looks like dough. Make one-inch balls (with your hands of course, and expect them to turn pink), then flatten them on an ungreased cookie sheet (I use parchment paper) about 2 inches apart. Bake for approximately 20 minutes (till they are slightly firm and edges are golden) on 325 degrees. I do it all in my Kitchen-Aid mixer, so I don’t even use a bowl!
I always leave out the nutmeg because I don’t really like it (in anything, not just these cookies). But I typically double, and sometimes triple, the recipe because it doesn’t make too many. So because I was already doubling yesterday, I decided to go out on a limb and try something new… I’ve been baking a lot with almond meal, and I know it’s not a great flour-to-almond-meal substitution. It’s very moist, so typically you need a little less of whatever the liquid is. Because there isn’t a “liquid” in the recipe, I knew I couldn’t straight sub. But I wanted them to be a little healthier, so I used 1/2 cup almond meal, and 3/4 cup (plus one tablespoon to thicken it) flour. That way it was a little less worthless gluten. They actually turned out tasting BETTER! I was truly surprised. In the picture above, you can see the ones on the right have specks… those are the almond meal specks!
So now the fun part… my sister-in-law is hosting a cookie swap in a few weeks, and I want to have a new thing or two that I can bring to the table. What are your favorite cookie recipes? Can you comment with the recipe or a link to it? I can’t wait to see what YOUR holiday cookie favorites are!