Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Every year I bake a ton of cookies.  I like to take delicious treats wherever I go and make goodie bags for my neighbors and friends.  This year I did the same.  I try to make a couple of new cookies every year and see if they are keepers.  This year I tried the sugar cookie spiral and Chocolate-Peppermint cookies for the first time.  I also made Candy Cane Truffles and Homemade Marshmallows with Rich and Creamy Hot Chocolate for the first time.  All of it YUM.

So how do I make all these cookies and keep them fresh?  I make the dough for all of the cookies I want to bake ahead of time (usually in November.)  I roll them in parchment paper and label them with the name of the cookie, the temperature to bake them, how long to bake them, and any other things I need to do to finish them.  For example, the chocolate crinkles need to be rolled into a ball and coated with confectioners sugar before being baked. 

When it is time to bake them.  I use parchment paper on my cookie sheets so I don't have to clean in-between different cookies.  I also bake all the cookies that cook at 350 at one time, etc.  This makes it go fairly quickly.  As December comes and I start baking, I take the dough out of the freezer and put it into the refrigerator.  (Except for the shortbread, that I like to slice out of the freezer so they stay nice and round.)  

Of course any cookies baked need to be cooled completely and then sealed in a tin or airtight container to keep them fresh.  There is nothing worse than doing all that work and then tasting a stale cookie.  

NOTE:  I also make Pumpkin Cranberry mini loaves every year.  I make a lot of these to give as gifts with the cookies or alone.  I make these in advance too.  I cool them completely, wrap them in press n seal, and put them into a freezer bag, then into the freezer.

Here are some close ups of what I made this year.  The kids helped make the gingerbread men.
Gingerbread Men with Cinnamon Buttons

Chocolate Gingerbread Men...
...for the boys to take to school for their class parties.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies

First you bake the chocolate insides.  Then you melt white chocolate, dip them, and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.  mmmmm...


Spiral Sugar Cookies

Keep them in a tin to seal in freshness.  I usually don't bake the dough until I am ready to take them somewhere so they taste the best.  I take a day to make dough, then bake as I take.

Cranberry Shortbread

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Black Forest Cookies

Just going through all of that makes me want more cookies.  I'm off to have a cookie!  Enjoy!

Here are the recipes:

Gingerbread Men

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Cutouts

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies 

Icebox Shortbreads 

Chocolate Crackles

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Black Forest Cookies

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