Christmas Cookies Galore!

Finally, the Christmas cookie post! And let me tell you, this literally took me ALL day. Not that I’m complaining, it was well worth it.

I baked cookies with my mom every Christmas when I was younger, and it’s something that I try to continue today. Even though I miss spending afternoons in the kitchen with her, elbow-deep in dough and covered in flour, keeping the tradition alive makes me feel like a kid again. It’s when I really start feeling like it’s Christmas!

While traditionally, my mom and I would make classic cookie press cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and oatmeal cookies, I decided to venture a little outside of my comfort zone. Having a pretty strong German heritage, I’d always wanted to try making Linzer tarts. I’d never really had them as a kid, but they are a quintessential Christmas cookie. Since they are pretty Old World-y, I didn’t think I’d get too many takers, but they actually turned out to be the most popular cookie!

Along with the Linzers, I’d decided pretty early on that I wanted to make peanut blossoms (from a recipe I’ve been using for years), sugar cookies, and gingerbread people (they’re not gingerbread MEN, for god’s sake).

Christmas Cookies

I had so much fun making all these cookies. Since the dough for the Linzer tarts and gingerbread need to be refridgerated (they both need to be rolled out), I made those first, stuck them in the fridge, and then went on to make the sugar cookies, since I’d be frosting them later. The peanut blossoms are possibly the most fool-proof cookies ever – they have a significant peanut butter base and very little flour, so it’s pretty hard to screw them up. The Linzer tarts, on the other hand, are pretty labor-intensive, but totally worth it. They make some gorgeous cookies.

Also, the sugar cookies (which I frosted with a simple confectioner’s sugar frosting) are dusted with edible glitter to make it look like snow :)

Raspberry Hazelnut Linzer Cookies, a la Magnolia Bakery

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/3 raspberry preserves
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Baking Temperature: 350 degrees
Baking Time: 15-18 minutes

  1. Spread hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until fragrant.
  2. InĀ  a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar until smooth, about two minutes.
  4. Add vanilla and beat well.
  5. Add the flour mixture in three parts, adding the nuts with the last portion, and mix until just combined.
  6. Shape the dough into two flat discs, wrap each tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  7. Roll out one disc at a time to a 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 3-inch fluted cutter, cut out the cookies and place them on baking sheets lined with wax paper. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator and chill for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Remove baking sheets from the refrigerator, and using a 1/2-inch fluted cutter, cut a circle out of the center of half the cookies. Arrange on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15-1 minutes, or until lightly golden around the egdes.
  9. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Spread 1 teaspoon of preserves on the flat side of the cookies without the cutout centers. Sandwich the cutout cookies with the cookies spread with the preserves. Dredge the tops of the cookies on both sides with confectioner’s sugar.

Gingerbread People

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ginger, ground
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg

Baking Temperature: 350 degrees
Baking Time:8-10 minutes

  1. In a medium bowl, combinr flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Add molasses and egg; beat well.
  4. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed.
  5. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

Christmas Cookies

Sugar Cookies

2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Baking Temperature: 350 degrees
Baking Time: 10-12 minutes

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar.
  3. Stir in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Stir in flour mixture.
  5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place them on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottom is light brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

Peanut Blossoms

1 (8 ounce) package Hershey’s Kisses (or mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups)
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup peanut butter (creamy not crunchy)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar for decoration

Baking Temperature: 375 degrees
Baking Time: 8-10 minutes

  1. Remove wrappers from chocolate pieces.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat shortening and peanut butter until well blended.
  4. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.
  6. Gradually beat flour mixture into peanut butter mixture.
  7. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place on cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate piece into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

4 Responses to Christmas Cookies Galore!

  1. Chris says:

    i will thoroughly be enjoying these tomorrow, along with my chocolate chip lovers. because i am a chocolate chip lover.

  2. Todd says:

    MMMMMM Cooooookies…… If only Caitlin could bake! ;)

  3. Mia Wallace says:

    I hope I get to try some Linzers! I’ve always wanted to try those peanut butter blossoms, but never had. I didn’t know they were so easy! I love your cooking anecdotes…I should start baking every Christmas so I have something that guarantees a festive feeling. Shouldn’t we all?

  4. Mom says:

    Your cookies are amazing! I really missed baking with you this year, but I’m glad you’re keeping up the tradition.

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