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Christmas Cookies

 
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It is that time of year when the kitchen oven is cranking out good-smelling cookies and other treats. It is a fun time for families and friends.



source


National Cookie Day on December 4th serves up a sweet treat. Bakers across the country warm up the ovens for holiday baking, and we enjoy giving tins of cookies to friends and family all season long.

We can thank the Dutch for more than windmills and tulips. The English word “cookie” is derived from the Dutch word koekie, meaning “little cake.”
Hard cookie-like wafers have existed for as long as baking has been documented. Not surprisingly, they traveled well, too. However, they were usually not sweet enough to be considered cookies by modern-day standards.



https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-cookie-day-december-4/


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Here are some threads all about cookies!

https://permies.com/t/152241/kitchen/Recipe-Christmas-Cookies-Sugar-Cookies

https://permies.com/t/60892/kitchen/holiday-treats

https://permies.com/t/43740/kitchen/Springerles-cookies-wooden-molds

https://permies.com/t/140782/Cookie-Worth-Calories#1108337
 
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I've wanted to make cookies like this that look like ornaments. Except I don't need to eat cookies, and don't want to dye icing that bright with food coloring :P
But oooh, neat!

 
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Pearl if you had enough time and energy to make cookies that time-consuming, I'd suggest you go clean out your closet. I'm sure you'd find jobs that were a higher priority than painstakingly decorating cookies such as you pictured that in this house would disappear in one gulp!
I actually baked cookies tonight - #2 son came along and said, "make them bigger - small ones take too long to make, and I'll only eat two instead of one." Sigh... I made big ones for him, and small ones for me. (They're actually on the healthy side for cookies - oats, oat bran, wheat germ, eggs, chocolate...)
 
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Jay Angler wrote:
I actually baked cookies tonight - #2 son came along and said, "make them bigger - small ones take too long to make, and I'll only eat two instead of one."



Exactly the reason why I don't bake this year.
Germany has a huge tradition of Christmas cookies. We always had tin cans full of all the typical varieties and would eat them especially on the Advent weekends.
But they take long to prepare, and I was the only one making them - and then they just disappeared within minutes. I even tried hiding them in cupboards but my family detected them, like bloodhounds. Lots of work, zero appreciation, and I couldn't get the tradition of the Advent weekends established. So, why bother?
Which is a bit sad, but my kids are teenagers by now and could well do their own baking if they wanted.

I consider making a batch and sending off to elder relatives.

For the time being, I just make normal cookies (like chocolate chips cookies) that don't need that much time and which I don't mind if they disappear.
 
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Anita - I once read a story about a woman who installed padlocks on her freezers in an attempt to keep Christmas cookies from her teenage sons and husband. She came home one day to discover the padlocks destroyed and the cookies gone and all 3 denying responsibility. I believed it.


I want to do Christmas candy making this year. With the pandemic I haven't been inclined to do much in-store shopping and I am terrible at online shopping (decision paralysis). My default is to make candy as a gift -fudge, caramel, brittle, candied orange peels... A box with 5+ varieties. The trick is to make it close enough to the date I give it away that it is still good and also not eaten by me before I give it! I have no control. It also helps to keep things in individual boxes until shortly before giving for the sake of the taste. And I also have to give myself enough time that I actually have time to get it all done. Sigh. Buying gifts is easier!

(I have a relative who makes Christmas cookies every year and I feel so guilty. She stays up late at night cooking both gluten free and regular versions of 10+ things. By the time I get them, they are old enough that the flavours in the box have all melded together and I often end up throwing most of them out as they are not particularly good :( or worth the calories to me. I hate throwing out food but also hate stale cookies! Even the non GF ones are apparently not that tasty and are stale by christmas. We all agree we would prefer just getting 1  type and fewer fresher cookies than this giant box, and have her get more sleep!)
 
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My family does cookies and candy every single year. My sisters and I gather at my Mom's kitchen and bake usually around 8 cookies and 8 candies. This year we did less and by we I mean them because I ended up with the flu on baking day and my husband had to come retrieve me from my Mothers.
 
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Jay Angler
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I have a friend of German heritage who makes lebkuchen and they last a long time and still taste fresh. I make an Oatmeal Shortbread that has similar lasting power, and a friend always wants help making Pepperkaker and hubby and a different friend really like them, but they are a cut cookie, so a bit more work. All these recipes are over 50 years old - staying power isn't just in the cookies!

Most of the Christmas Cookies we made for 'looks' were always disappointing to me to eat. I'll agree - go basic and simple and yummy or go and garden instead!
 
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Anita Martin wrote:
Exactly the reason why I don't bake this year.
Germany has a huge tradition of Christmas cookies. We always had tin cans full of all the typical varieties and would eat them especially on the Advent weekends.
But they take long to prepare, and I was the only one making them - and then they just disappeared within minutes. I even tried hiding them in cupboards but my family detected them, like bloodhounds. Lots of work, zero appreciation, and I couldn't get the tradition of the Advent weekends established. So, why bother?
Which is a bit sad, but my kids are teenagers by now and could well do their own baking if they wanted.

I consider making a batch and sending off to elder relatives.

For the time being, I just make normal cookies (like chocolate chips cookies) that don't need that much time and which I don't mind if they disappear.



Sometime after all us kids were at least in our teens, my mom decided she was done with Christmas cookies and if anyone want them made they would have to make them themselves. My dad was shocked at the very idea of not having a good five kinds of Christmas cookies, so he took up making them and for decades now he makes dozens and dozens of gingerbread, sugar cookies, chocolate crinkles, Norwegian kringla, and peanut butter kisses.  
 
Anita Martin
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Mk Neal wrote:
Sometime after all us kids were at least in our teens, my mom decided she was done with Christmas cookies and if anyone want them made they would have to make them themselves. My dad was shocked at the very idea of not having a good five kinds of Christmas cookies, so he took up making them and for decades now he makes dozens and dozens of gingerbread, sugar cookies, chocolate crinkles, Norwegian kringla, and peanut butter kisses.  



Haha, not going to happen with husband! But writing about my dilemma summoned up the karma to induce my younger daughter (14) to make cookies :-)
So yesterday she trotted to the supermarket with her brother and bought all missing ingredients, above all the decoration. She has an interest in esthetics (and certainly looks through lots of instagram posts and similar) so she came up with these.

They are good, but I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I guess I will make everybody's favourite today (an old family recipe with only about 4 ingredients) which will disappear in record time, but well...
IMG_20201212_174511.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20201212_174511.jpg]
 
Anne Miller
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Anita, those colored cookies remind me of the cookies my Mom made, except she made green and pink spritz cookies with a cookie press.

I've always wanted a cookie press, just couldn't justify spending the money.
 
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Anne, maybe you'll get lucky and find a press at a thrift store, like my mother.
 
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G Freden wrote:Anne, maybe you'll get lucky and find a press at a thrift store, like my mother.

Yes - a cookie press will go a bit faster than rolling and cutting, but I find them messy and frustrating, *and* you've got to store the press all year for just a batch or two of cookies. It's the sort of tool that would be better purchased by a "tool-lending library" so a bunch of families can use it, and that way you can buy one that actually works as well. A quality one from a thrift store would at least hopefully be a reasonable price, but it it's too cheaply built, that may be why it was given away.
 
Anita Martin
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I had to look up what a cookie press is. They are not popular around here. There are similar things like a big syringe for softer doughs, but usually you roll out the dough and use lots of different cookie cutters. That's the fun part for the children! (apart from putting on the lemon-sugar icing and throwing around sugar decorations!).

I have now made our most popular cookies. My kids grew up with them, I grew up with them, my mum grew up with them, and probably her father as well. My grandaunt was the queen of Christmas cookies and those were our favourites back then as well. The name of these is Linzer Golatschen but hardly anyone knows that name. There are very similar ones called Husarenkrapferl or Engelsaugen (angel eyes), but the difference here is that you put in the jelly (always tart redcurrant jelly!) before baking and that the dough contains breadcrumbs.
They are heavenly soft, flaky, lemony...
To avoid what bothers me (gulping down the cookies in no time, envy etc.) I counted out the cookies on different plates. Sounds a bit harsh and nit-picky, but it works! (husband already finished his plate, who would have thought...)

Then I had lots of egg whites so I made almond-chocolate macrons.

I might make one more variety and send off a little packet to relatives I have neglected all year through. I have to send them off right away because the post is already crazily busy and I am not sure if the office will still be open after the lockdown coming next Wednesday.
Linzer_Golatschen.jpg
Linzer Golatschen
Linzer Golatschen
IMG_20201213_191648.jpg
almond chocolate macrons
almond chocolate macrons
 
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Anita: I like jam cookies. Can you give us the recipe you use? I looked online, found some (in German) but they had 10 ingredients, don't think they are what you made...

I have made jam filled cookies with jalapeno or green chile jams :9
 
Anita Martin
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Anita: I like jam cookies. Can you give us the recipe you use? I looked online, found some (in German) but they had 10 ingredients, don't think they are what you made...

I have made jam filled cookies with jalapeno or green chile jams :9


Sure:
140 g Butter (originally half butter, half lard)
2 egg yolks
70 g sugar
Grated peel of one lemon
25 g breadcrumbs
180 g flour

Mix in order as listed, put in cool place.
When dough has stiffened up a bit, form small balls the size of a big cherry. With the other end of a wooden spoon dipped in flour, carefully form holes without pushing all the way through.
With the help of two tiny spoons fill with redcurrant jam. Bake for 10-15 minutes at around 180 degrees centigrade.
Dough should be cold and oven hot to avoid cookies flowing apart.
Makes one sheet more or less, but I always make double batches.
IMG_20201213_171011.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20201213_171011.jpg]
 
Anne Miller
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Anita, those are pretty!

I am surprised that you have not heard of Spritz. This is the US name for:

Spritzgebäck is a common pastry in Germany and served often during Christmas season, when parents commonly spend afternoons baking with their children for one or two weeks. Traditionally, parents bake Spritzgebäck using their own special recipes, which they pass down to their children.



When made correctly, the cookies are crisp, fragile, somewhat dry, and buttery. The German verb spritzen means to squirt in English. As the name implies, these cookies are made by extruding, or "squirting," the dough with a press fitted with patterned holes (a cookie press) or with a cake decorator, or pastry bag, to which a variety of nozzles may be fitted.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spritzgeback

I didn't like the picture of them on Wikipedia though I found this on Pinterest:

Cute little Spritz Christmas Trees:


Source
 
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Anne Miller wrote:Anita, those are pretty!

I am surprised that you have not heard of Spritz. This is the US name for:


Of course I know Spritzgebäck. But when googling for cookie press I found those cylindrical things with a stencil at the opening. We don't have those (well, some people might have them but I know nobody).

Normal Spritzgebäck here (which can be made for Christmas, but also during the year) is made with a kind of bag and the nozzle opening (sorry, don't know the correct baking terminology) has different metal rings, the same thing that you use for churros.
One half of the cookie can then be dipped in melted chocolate.

I have one of those Spritztüten but rarely use it.

Also quite uncommon is the dough in different colours. The bluegreen cookies where an invention of my daughter but I don't really "like" tinted cake or cookies ;-)

BTW, here are some typical selections of Christmas cookie varieties:




And thanks for the pie, Pearl! Actually I love to share cookies in real life as well, previously I made little bags of assorted cookies for the neighbours but somehow I lost my energy this year...
 
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Because I still had two egg whites, I made another variety called snowflakes with coconut, and one more batch of the iconic butter cookies with icing and decoration.
I mixed all the cookies (minus my daughter's) and sent them off by post this morning. A great opportunity for a walk as the sun has come out today.
DSC_5998-(2).JPG
[Thumbnail for DSC_5998-(2).JPG]
 
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We get very humid at this time of year, and while I want to make all the cookies, they only last a day or two in the weather. So I'll probably make mine on Christmas Eve. My kid works on Christmas this year, so I'll make a plate to send with her (she works on a tech support line for the phone company, they will all need some cookies to deal with the people who call on Christmas to complain).
 
Anita Martin
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From this one and the Springerle thread I gather that some of you have German heritage.
Are you familiar with Quittenbrot? Those are cubes of quince jelly covered in sugar and were part of our cookie selection. I never made them, I got them either from my grandaunt when she was still alive or friends. I am not a big fan but now I kind of miss them.

(And I traded a gift bag of my assorted cookies with my neighbour who is a hobby chef and I got some ham smoked by himself, a cheese cream and marinated herring)
 
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Anita Martin wrote:

(And I traded a gift bag of my assorted cookies with my neighbour who is a hobby chef and I got some ham smoked by himself, a cheese cream and marinated herring)



Wow you got a good trade!
 
Anita Martin
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G Freden wrote:

Wow you got a good trade!


Win-win I'd say! I also gave him some pumpkin soup because when I cut up half of my enormous zucca pumpkin (it developed a soft spot so had to be processed) it made a huge batch of soup. So I am giving out soup to my neighbours atm.
 
Anne Miller
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Thanks, everyone for sharing your favorite cookies.

As a kid, my favorite cookies were the ones my grandmother made.  Of course, I don't have the recipe though my memories are of a pecan cookie then the dough was dropped on the cookie sheet and a glass was pressed onto the cookie to make a design on the cookie.

I tried to google this and my favorite baking company came up:King Arthur




My sister in law had breast cancer and passed away yesterday in her sleep so I want to mention her favorite cookie was Ranger cookies, I found the recipe here: Ranger Cookies. I have fond memories of us making these together as teenagers.




I've heard about these forgotten cookies for many years and have always wanted to try them so maybe this will be the year for Forgotten Cookies!




Thanks, everyone for making this a fun thread!
 
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As a diabetic, I can't eat as much of this stuff as before, but on behalf of folks who have no alternative to store bought, thank you for still making cookies and candies "right"! The world is better for having those recipes and the knowledge. Many is the time I've choked down something mouth numbing from the grocery store bakery with more ginger than a Gilligan's Island pin-up calendar and wondered where I've gone astray. Where the cookie eating public has gone astray to create a market for... whatever that was. Eat a couple good ones for me.
 
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Sorry to hear about your sister, Anne.
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