Welcome to the Sister Saturday Virtual Cookie Exchange! Sister Saturdays are a chance for my sister, at Southern In My Heart, and I to celebrate holidays together from across the miles! This party is a virtual cookie exchange so grab a cup of coffee or a tall glass of milk and let's start eating some cookies!
What is it about the holidays and cookies? I mean I love cookies year round, my hips are testimony to that. But while I may bake a batch here or there for a special treat or for a party, when Christmas rolls around I turn into a cookie baking fool! We're talking dozens and dozens of cookies. To me it just wouldn't be Christmas with out Buckeyes, and fudge. Or decorated sugar cookies and gingerbread men. Cookies bring up so many childhood memories.
I definitely think my sister and I inherited our cookie making addiction from our Grandmother Kaiser. While most kids wait with baited breath for the postman to bring a big box full of presents from their grandparents each year, we waited for something far more special. Something that we knew came around only at Christmas. It seemed innocent enough. That plain brown box sitting on the front porch. But when we removed the last bit of packing tape and opened up the flaps we knew a special treat awaited inside....Grandmas Christmas Cookies! Bags and bags of every imaginable cookie there is. See this was the best kind of present because these were labeled..."Open Now!" and boy did we ever. The buckeyes were always the first to go. We ate them down to the little crumbs lingering at the bottom of those baggies.
My grandmother gave us more than an infinity for Christmas cookie baking, she gave us precious memories. That is why now it is a joy to be able to send her Christmas cookies. See she no longer has a home, or even a kitchen or stove. She lives in an assisted living facility. She is no longer able to bake for those she loves, so we bake for her. My mom will be visiting my grandmother during the holidays and will be traveling from my home to go see her. I have a feeling there will be a little brown box tucked in among their luggage. Full of cookies, packed with memories and love. I also have a feeling there will be a small brown box headed her way from Oregon, full of goodies, made by hands that enjoyed many a cookie when she was a little girl.
I wish, oh how I wish, my sister and I could make those cookies for grandma together. Instead, across the miles we share the memory of special cookies made for two little girls, who waited for a box from their grandmother. A box full of love.
There is no gift like the one you make yourself. Hopefully you will be inspired by all of the great cookie and holiday treat recipes that my sister and I have posted on our blogs as well as the ones linked up from all over blog land. And, maybe just maybe you will decide to send your own box of homemade love to someone special!
Up first is a holiday classic. Shortbread Cookies. This is such a great little cookie staple. The dough can be frozen up to a month in advance, and there are a variety of additions you can make to shortbread. We decided on just the plain shortbread and then added a special little touch at the end, by dusting cocoa powder over each cookie using a snowflake template. So festive!
Holiday Shortbread Cookies-Everyday Food Magazine Dec. 2010 issue
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
2 1/3 cups all-purposed flour (spooned and leveled)
1/3 cup course or sanding sugar (optional)
add in options:
3/4 cup chopped mix-ins such as dried fruit, nuts or bittersweet chocolate along with the floug. These can be made into chocolate shortbread by using 1/3 cup cocoa powder in place of 1/3 cup flour and add 6 oz. finely chopped bittersweet chocolate into the dough. For a decorative look, cookies can be dusted with cocoa powder using stencils after cookies have cooled completely.
In a food processor, combine butter, confectioner's sugar and salt. Process until smooth. Add flour and pulse just until combined. Form dough into 8 inch long round or square log. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. A little trick is to lay the dough on the length of plastic wrap and use the wrap to help you form the roll. Freeze until form, 30 minutes or up to 1 month.
Preheat oven to 350°. Place top rack in upper third of oven. Cut dough into 1/4 inch thick slices. Dip edges of slices into sugar if desired and place on parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake one sheet at a time on top rack until cookies are golden brown around edges, approximately 15-18 minutes. Let cookies cool completely.
If desired dust with cocoa powder using fine mesh sieve and stencil of choice. We found a snowflake template on-line and sized it to fit the cookie.
Wrap cookies and keep at room temperature up to 1 week.
The next cookie featured is a twist on a classic. Gingerbread. The girl and I had so much fun making these together. They made the house smell so good! The dough can be made up to three days in advance and refrigerated until you are ready to bake. Just make sure to allow the dough to sit out for about 30-40 minutes, or until it has warmed up enough to roll out easily.
Lemon Iced Gingerbread Trees-Everyday Food Magazine Dec. 2010 issue
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar
sanding or coarse sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 3/4 inch thickness. Be careful not to roll your dough too thin or it will make them hard to move from working surface to cookie sheets.
With a sharp knife or cookie cutter, cut dough into small 2 inch wide triangles. Arrange triangles 1 inch apart on two parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake until cookies are firm and golden at edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Store cookies in airtight containers up to 1 week.
In a small bowl combine lemon juice and confectioners' sugar and whisk until smooth. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies and sprinkle with sanding sugar if desired.
And last but certainly not least, we have one of the prettiest little cookies you can make for the holidays. Snowball cookies! They are so dainty and pefect with a hot cup of coffee. You might even be tempted to dunk one in your coffee...trust me their good that way!
Snowball Cookies-from Notes from a Cottage Industry
1 cup softened butter (room temp)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 chopped nuts if desired
extra powdered sugar
Cream butter and sugar together in mixer. Mix in all additional ingredients until a crumbly dough forms.
roll into little balls. Bake at 400' for 10-13 minutes.
Roll in powdered sugar while hot.
and again when cool.
Second option: roll in powdered sugar while hot, then in sparkle sugar when cool for a more elegant effect.
Now here's your chance to link up your favorite cookie or holiday treat. We would love it if you would link up to BOTH sites. It can be a post you created especially for Sister Saturday or a cookie/treat recipe you've featured in the past and you want to re-introduce us to it! If you do not have a blog we'd still love you to share your recipe. Tell us about it in the comment section on one or both of our blogs! If you stopped by here first, head on over now to Southern In My Heart...check out my sister's great cookie recipes and tell her I said, "Hi!" Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. I know it says this in the linky instructions below, but please be sure to link back up to both Southern In My Heart and Gourmet Meals for Less in your post and/or grab button over in right hand the sidebar, that way everyone can find all of the great cookie recipes! Thanks!
Here is how to link up...
1. Add your Permalink to your entry but not your General Blog Address. To get your Permalink, click on the title of the blog post you want to submit and copy and paste the address into the URL box. You will also have to add your address but it will not be visible to anyone else.
2. Do not try and Link up until you have actually published that particular post on your blog.
3. Please link back to the host blogs, Southern In My Heart and Gourmet Meals for Less and leave us a comment letting us know you dropped by for Sister Saturday!