Christmas Cookies

Here are some recipes that will please Santa and any child for Christmas! Some of the recipes will have pictures, just click on the little cookie after the recipe name.

Chocolate Batons Squeeze this soft dough through a pastry or plastic bag into batons. Once baked, the
cookies are dipped in melted chocolate and rolled in sprinkles.
COOKIE: 1 cup butter, softened; 1 cup sugar; 1 large egg; 1 egg yolk; 2 tsp. Vanilla extract; 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour; 1 tsp. baking powder; 1/4 tsp. Salt.
4 oz. semisweet chocolate (squares or chocolate chips); 2 tbsp. Butter; 1 tbsp. Milk; Colored sprinkles.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large mixing bowl, cream the cup of butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in the egg and yolk, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until combined. Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large rosette or star tip or into a zip-top bag with a 1-inch opening snipped off one corner. Squeeze the dough into 2-inch logs on the cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, or until just lightly browned. Cool for a few minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. 2. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate dip. Melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of butter in the top of the double boiler (the water should be hot but not boiling) or in the microwave on high, stirring every 20 seconds until smooth. Stir in the milk and remove from the heat. Dip both ends of the cookies in the chocolate, then immediately into sprinkles and let cool.
Makes about 6 dozen batons.

Candy Cane cookies With peppermint extract and red food coloring, your kids can turn this simple dough into edible ornaments for the tree. 3/4 cup butter, softened, 1 cup sugar, 1 large egg, 1 tsp. peppermint extract, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, Red food coloring.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat well. Stir in the peppermint and vanilla extracts. Gradually mix in the flour. Divide the dough in half. Color one
half with red food coloring; leave the other half plain. Roll out a tablespoon of red dough and a tablespoon of plain until they are each 6 to 8 inches long. Twist them into a candy cane, pinching the ends. Repeat. Bake
on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not brown. Makes about 25.

Crinkles When you're looking for holiday treats to send to far-flung relatives, here’s a cookie that fits the bill. 3/4 cup butter, melted, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup sugar, 2 large eggs, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 6-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips, 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar.

In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, cocoa powder and sugar; beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. In a medium-sized bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly mix in the wet ingredients, then stir in the chips. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Form the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in confectioners' sugar. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 12 minutes. Makes 25 to 35 cookies.

Gingerbread Kids What would Christmas be without the chance to deck out gingerbread cookiesin frosting finery?
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour; 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon; 2 tsp. ground ginger; 1/4 tsp. ground cloves; 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda; 1/2 cup butter, softened; 1/2 cup packed brown sugar; 2 large eggs; 3/4 cup molasses; tubes of white decorator’s frosting; red and green M&M's and Skittles.

1. In a medium-sized bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda. Set aside dry ingredients. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar with a wooden spoon or electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at
a time, and then the molasses. Slowly add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture, stirring after each addition with the wooden spoon or mixer (the dough should be stiff). 2. Divide the dough in half, flatten into a thick pancake (a fun step for kids set up with a rolling pin), and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until the dough is firm enough to roll (if it becomes too stiff, soften for 10 minutes at room temperature for easy rolling). 3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a floured counter, roll out the dough
to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread men and a spatula to transfer them to a greased cookie sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until light brown. 4. Once the gingerbread men have cooled, invite your kids to pipe on frosting features and clothing (they can make both boys and girls--or even a whole gingerbread family). Add red and green candies for buttons. Makes
about 25 cookies.

Cookie jewels Studded with nuts and nonpareils, these eye-catching cookies look and taste like gems.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened; 1/2 cup light brown sugar; 2 egg yolks; 2 cups all-purpose flour
Chopped nuts, colored sugars and nonpareils; Raspberry jelly or chocolate frosting

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Beat in the egg yolks. Gradually mix in the flour. Roll the dough into balls and coat with nuts, colored sugar and nonpareils. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and make a well in the center of each cookie. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or until firm. Cool completely, then drop 1/2 teaspoon of jelly or chocolate frosting into the center of each cookie. Makes 5 dozen.

Shortbread Cookies Rich and buttery shortbread makes a tasty gift for teachers, grandparents and others on your list. Attach a gift card with a copy of this recipe.
2 cups all-purpose flour; 1 cup butter, softened; 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar; 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the ingredients with your fingers until the dough is smooth and holds together. 2. Divide the dough in half. Press each half into an ungreased 8-inch round cake pan (be sure to spread the dough evenly and smooth out the top). Using the tines of a fork, make a decorative border around the edges. Then use a sharp knife (parents only) to cut the shortbread into eight wedges. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges begin to lightly brown. 3. Remove the shortbread from the oven and immediately recut the eight wedges with the sharp knife. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then transfer
to a wire rack to cool thoroughly. Makes 16 pieces.

Snowballs and crescent moons These cookies are so delectable that many countries claim their own variations. In the United States, they're called snowballs, but in other parts of the world they’re known as Mexican wedding cakes or Russian tea
cakes. The recipe is always chock-full of finely ground nuts (we use walnuts, but you could also try pecans, pistachios, almonds or even hazelnuts). In addition to shaping the dough into snowballs and crescent
moons, kids can also cut it into crunchy stars.

1 cup butter, softened; 1 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar, divided; 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract; 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour; 1/4 tsp. salt; 1 cup finely ground walnuts or other nuts of your choice

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter and 2/3 cup of the confectioners' sugar until it’s light colored. Add the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour, salt and finely ground walnuts until
well combined (you may need to use your hands to mix the dough thoroughly). 2. To make Crescents, roll a tablespoon of the dough into a 1-by-3-inch cylinder (one of our young recipe testers liked calling them snakes). Shape and flatten the dough into a curve. For Snowballs, ask your child to roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place the balls 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake the Crescent Moons for 10 to 12 minutes and the Snowballs for 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly browned around the bottom. Cool for 2 to 4 minutes before dusting with most of the remaining confectioners' sugar (a fun job for children). Once the cookies are completely cool, dust them again with the last bit of confectioners’ sugar. Makes about 36 cookies.

Fancy Truffles With a bag of chocolate chips, heavy cream and a holiday spirit, your kids can whip up this simple chocolate ganache and roll it into fancy truffles.
3/4 cup heavy cream; 1 12-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips; 2 tsp. vanilla extract; Chopped walnuts, nonpareils; unsweetened cocoa powder; coconut or grated chocolate Candy wrappers

In a heavy saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it begins to boil. Reduce the heat and slowly add the chocolate chips, stirring constantly until the chocolate has melted. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour
the mixture into an ungreased 9-inch square pan and cool at room temperature. Then freeze for 2 to 3 hours until firm. Scoop the chocolate from the pan and shape into 1-inch balls. Roll each truffle in either
chopped walnuts, nonpareils, cocoa powder, coconut or grated chocolate and then place in a candy wrapper. Return to the freezer until the balls have set. Serve chilled. Makes about 40 balls.

Penny Snickerdoodles Turn up the Christmas carols, make a batch of these coin-size cinnamon-sugar cookies, and the holiday season will officially begin.
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour; 1 tsp. cream of tartar; 1/2 tsp. baking soda; 1/8 tsp. salt; 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened; 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. Sugar; 1 large egg; 2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, sift the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, cream the butter and 3/4 cup of sugar. Beat in the egg. One third at a time, stir in the dry
ingredients until thoroughly mixed. 2. Pinch off small pieces of dough and roll into marble-size balls (a fun
job for kids). On a plate or in a shallow bowl, mix the cinnamon-sugar mixture, roll the ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Flatten with the bottom of a glass.
Bake for 6 to 10 minutes, or until the edges lightly brown. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. When they're thoroughly cool, store in an airtight jar. Makes 10 to 12 dozen cookies.

Christmas Candy

Because I live in Miami, I get a supply of fresh salt water every time I go to the beach. If you do not have an ocean handy, just use tap water with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in it.
1 cup sugar; 3/4 cup light corn syrup; 2/3 cup salt water (or fresh water with 1 tsp. salt); 1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. sweet butter; 2 tbsp. Vanilla; 3 to 4 drops red coloring.

1. Mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 260 degrees on a candy thermometer, or until a bit of the mixture dropped into iced water forms into a hard ball. Remove from the heat. Pour into a buttered 8-by-8-by-2-inch square pan.
2. Allow to cool slightly, and then pull taffy until shiny, stiff and light in color. If the taffy begins to get too sticky, butter hands lightly. Pull into long strips about 1/2-inch wide. Using scissors, cut into 1-inch pieces
and wrap them individually in waxed paper. Keep in an airtight container. Makes about 1 pound.

This is a tropical treat to enjoy in the North when snow is up to your knees.
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes; 1/2 cup condensed milk; 1 large egg, slightly beaten.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a small bowl mix coconut flakes, condensed milk and slightly beaten egg to make a thick batter. Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop up balls of mixture and drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 18 minutes or just until macaroons begin to brown. Transfer to rack and allow to cool completely before storing in airtight container. Makes around 18 kisses.

After sugar reaches the hard ball stage, it requires some speed in handling so the candy doesn't set. You may want to halve the recipes using cooked sugar the first few times you make them. If you make these balls to use as tree ornaments, be sure to pop some extra corn for munching.
6 cups popped popcorn (1/3 cup unpopped); 2 cups toasted oat cereal such as Quaker Toasted Oatmeal
1 cup sugar; 1/2 cup light corn syrup; 1/2 cup water; 1 tsp. vinegar

1. In a large bowl mix the popped popcorn with the toasted oat cereal and set aside. In a heavy, medium-sized saucepan mix the sugar, syrup, water and vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 260 degrees on a candy thermometer, or until a bit of the mixture dropped into iced water forms into a hard ball.
2. Pour syrup over popcorn. Stir gently with an oiled wooden spoon until the popcorn is well coated. Allow to cool slightly, and when it is cool enough to handle, with buttered fingers press into balls. To use as ornaments, wrap them in red and green ribbons. Makes around 18 three-inch balls.