tampabay.com

From their recipe files to yours

A selection of readers' favorite Christmas cookie recipes tested and tasted by the Times.

By JANET K. KEELER
Published November 29, 2006


FIFTH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS COOKIE ISSUE

A selection of readers' favorite Christmas cookie recipes tested and tasted by the Times.  

 

Hawaiian Delights

1 18-ounce package refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts (salted or unsalted)

1 cup sweetened coconut

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all three ingredients in bowl with a fork. Drop rounded tablespoon mounds of mixture onto ungreased cookie sheet.

- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden. Cool on baking rack.

Makes 2 dozen.

Submitted by Kandi J. Gartley, Valrico

 

Mocha Truffle Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

- Melt butter or margarine and the 1/2 cup chocolate chips in a large saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in coffee crystals; cool 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.

- Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Stir into coffee mixture. Stir in the cup of chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto lightly greased cookie sheets.

- Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheet. Remove and cool on wire racks.

Makes 3-1/2 dozen.

Submitted by Gayle Hackbarth, Summerfield

 

Christmas Cookies d'Italia

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons fresh orange rind

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 tablespoons rum

4 ounces sweet chocolate, melted

1 egg, beaten

8 ounces toasted chopped hazelnuts

- Mix first five ingredients in large bowl. Add rum, chocolate and beaten egg, blending (or kneading) well, as dough is stiff. Add toasted nuts. Form into rolls about 13/4 inches in diameter. Wrap and refrigerate. Dough must be chilled several hours or overnight.

- Cut 1/2-inch slices from roll and bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 10 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven. Cookies are light, dry and chewy.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Submitted by Lisa Bazzanella Smith, St. Petersburg

 

Chocolate Snowballs

1 1/4 cups butter, room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Sifted confectioners' sugar

- Beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar and vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, salt and nuts. Gradually add to butter mixture and beat until blended.

- Portion dough by teaspoonfuls and roll it into balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Roll warm cookies in confectioners' sugar.

Makes about 7 dozen.

Submitted by Jeri Emery, Pinellas Park

 

Frosted Date Drop Cookies

1 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup nuts, chopped

Frosting:

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Reserved date mixture

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Milk (enough to make mixture spreadable)

- In small saucepan, bring dates and water to boil. Lower heat and simmer 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture for the frosting

- Beat remaining ingredients together until thoroughly blended. Drop from teaspoon on greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Cool and frost. Sprinkle with colored sugars.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen.

Submitted by Suzanne Zitzke, Tarpon Springs

 

Molasses Krinkles

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

4 tablespoons molasses

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

Granulated sugar, for rolling

- Blend all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly mixed. Shape into balls the size of a quarter. Roll the balls in white sugar before placing on baking sheet. Do not flatten.

- Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Bake at 350 degrees 12 to 15 minutes until cracked on top and firm to the touch.

Makes 4 to 5 dozen.

Submitted by Ronald Conradt, Tampa

 

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Squares

2 8-ounce tubes refrigerated crescent rolls

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon cinnamon

- Unroll one tube of dough and place in a lightly greased 9- by 13-inch pan. Seal seams and perforations; set aside.

- In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread over dough. Unroll remaining tube of dough and place over cream cheese mixture, stretching it to fit. Brush butter evenly over top. Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done. Cool and cut into squares.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Submitted by Charlotte S. Briscoe, Seminole

 

Cherry Nut Slices

8 ounces candied red cherries, whole

1 3/4 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons milk

3/4 cups walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup Brazil nuts, chopped

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

- Drain cherries and spread on paper towels; pat with additional paper towel to remove the sticky syrup. Set aside.

- Sift flour with salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Set aside. Cream butter. Add brown sugar, vanilla and milk, and cream well. Add flour mixture gradually and mix thoroughly. Stir in whole cherries and chopped nuts. Divide dough and shape into 2 rolls, 12 inches long. (If too sticky to handle, refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before shaping.) Wrap in waxed paper. Chill 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

- Cut into 1/4-inch slices and place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet or parchment paper-lined sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden.

Makes 6 to 7 dozen.

Submitted by Karen Shampaine, Odessa

 

Black Mountain Cookies

12 large marshmallows, cut in thirds horizontally, set aside

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup soft shortening

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Frosting:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup evaporated milk

2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

- Sift flour, baking soda, sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. Add shortening, water, evaporated milk, egg and vanilla.

- Beat with mixer for 3 minutes at low speed. Stir in walnuts. Drop by tablespoons on greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Immediately after removing from oven, place one marshmallow slice on each cookie, cut side down. Cool cookies on rack.

- While cookies cool, make frosting. Stir chocolate chips and evaporated milk over low heat. Add confectioners' sugar after the chocolate is melted. Stir until smooth. Spoon frosting over cookies to cover marshmallow.

Makes 3 dozen.

Submitted by Marlene Hagstrom, St. Petersburg

 

Pear Custard Bars

Base:

1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans

Filling and topping:

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

15.25-ounce can pear halves, drained

3/4 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in the flour and vanilla until combined. Stir in the nuts. Press into a greased 8-inch-square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Increase heat to 375 degrees.

- In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, egg and vanilla; mix until combined. Pour over crust. Cut pears into 18 1/4-inch slices; arrange in rows in a single layer over filling. (You can overlap slightly if you have extra pears.) Combine sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over pears. Bake at 375 degrees for 28 to 30 minutes (center will soft-set and will become firmer upon cooling). Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting.

Makes 12 to 16 squares.

Submitted by Jean Diebold, Seminole

 

Chubby Hubby Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 large egg

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup peanut butter chips

1/2 cup salted peanuts

1 cup crushed pretzels

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Blend into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate and peanut butter chips, peanuts and pretzels.

- Drop heaping tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 13 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown and centers are still soft. Do not overbake. Cool one minute on cookie sheet, and cool completely on wire racks. Store in tightly covered container.

Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

Submitted by Sharon Chamberlain, Largo

 

Cream Wafers

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 cups sifted flour

Butter filling:

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla

Food coloring

- Mix wafer ingredients together. Chill at least one hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough to -inch thick. Cut into 11/2-inch rounds. Transfer to waxed paper heavily sprinkled with sugar, turning rounds with spatula to coat with sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Prick about four times with a fork. Bake until slightly puffy but not brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Let cool.

- While cooling, make filling. Blend together softened butter, confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and any color food coloring you would like. Once cool, put two cookies together with filling.

Times testing note: The recipe originally called for an egg yolk in the uncooked filling. We know this is a problem for some people and it can be left out of the filling. If the filling is too thick without moisture from the egg yolk, add 1 teaspoon, or less, of milk.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen sandwich cookies

Submitted by Jana Beth Mir, Palm Harbor

 

Fruity Cookies

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 package (3-ounce) Jell-O, any flavor

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Additional Jell-O or colored sugar

- Sift flour with baking powder in a separate bowl. Cream butter then gradually add sugar and Jell-O; cream well after each addition. Add egg and vanilla, and beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing after each addition until smooth.

- Form 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Use glass, dipped in colored sugar or Jell-O, to press dough flat. Sprinkle with additional Jell-O or colored sugar if desired.

- Bake at 360 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown at edges. Store in loosely covered container.

Makes about 5 dozen.

Submitted by Glenna Boyette, Gulfport

 

Nutmeg Butter Finger

1 cup butter, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups sifted flour

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons rum flavoring

2 cups confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons half-and-half

Ground nutmeg

- Make cookies by creaming together butter and sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well.

- Sift flour and nutmeg and add to egg mixture. Blend well. Pinch off bits of dough and roll into cookies the size of a little finger.

- Place on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees 13 to 15 minutes, until set and lightly browned. Cool.

- To make frosting, cream butter, then add vanilla and rum flavoring. Add confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Add half-and-half, and beat again.

- Frost cooled cookies and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Makes 4 to 5 dozen.

Submitted by Carol Bickford, Dunedin

 

Peppermint Meltaways

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

4 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

2 to 3 drops red food coloring

Crushed peppermint candies

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

- Cream the confectioners' sugar, butter and peppermint extract. Slowly add the flour and cornstarch. Thoroughly mix.

- Chill dough for 1 hour. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely.

- For glaze, combine the sugar, water and peppermint extract. Mix until smooth, then add the food coloring until icing is pink. Top the cooled cookies with glaze and sprinkle crushed peppermint candy on top.

Makes 4 dozen.

Submitted by Les Eckert, Clearwater

 

Raspberry Snow Bars

Crust:

3/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

11/2 cups flour

2 egg yolks

Filling:

1 cup raspberry preserves

1/2 cup flaked coconut

2 egg whites, beaten

1/2 cup sugar

- Mix shortening, sugar, salt, almond extract, flour and egg yolks. Pat into 13- by 9-inch ungreased pan and bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

- While hot, spread preserves on crust and top with coconut. Beat egg whites, add 1/2 cup sugar and spread over coconut. Bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool on rack.

Makes 12 to 15 bars.

Submitted by Jade Hamelryck, St. Petersburg

 

Lemon Crinkles

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 large egg, room temperature

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup flaked or shredded coconut

Granulated sugar

- Mix butter, sugar and egg thoroughly. Blend in lemon rind and extract. Mix together flour and next four dry ingredients. Add and blend well. Stir in coconut, and roll in 1-inch balls. Dip tops in sugar.

- Bake on ungreased cookie sheet, sugar side up, at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen.

Submitted by Nancy M. Eggert, Dunedin

 

Chocolate Nut Rolls

2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup softened margarine

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 6-ounce package mini-chocolate chips

For chocolate dipping:

12-ounce package chocolate chips

1/4 cup margarine

2 cups chopped walnuts

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

- Sift flour and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, beat together margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla till blended. Add sifted flour and mini-chocolate chips to margarine mixture, mix well. Shape dough on lightly floured surface into logs (2 inches by 1/2 inch). Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until cookies are set. Cool on wire rack.

- Melt chocolate chips and margarine in a double boiler. Dip ends of cookies (which should be cooled to room temperature) into chocolate and then into chopped walnuts. Place on waxed paper until the chocolate sets. Store in airtight container.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Submitted by Kim Sullivan, Land O'Lakes

 

Lucy's Apricot Bars

1 1/4 cups quick oats

2 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 pound butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

18-ounce jar apricot jam

- Blend all ingredients, except jam, to crumblike consistency. Reserve 11/2 cups for topping and press remainder into ungreased 9- by 13-inch pan.

- Spoon apricot jam over crumb crust and top with reserved crumbs. Place in 350-degree oven for 35 minutes. Cool before cutting.

Makes about 35 bars.

Submitted by Alexandra Hemming, Belleair

 

Holiday Raisin Walnut Bars

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup margarine

1 cup chopped raisins

3/4 cup raspberry or plum jam

2 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon orange rind

1 teaspoon vanilla

Confectioners' sugar

- Combine first three ingredients and blend into fine crumbs. Press firmly into bottom of greased 8-inch-square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.

- Mix together raisins and jam; spread over shortbread base. Beat eggs with brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt; stir in walnuts, orange rind and vanilla. Pour mixture evenly over jam layer.

- Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until top is browned and springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pan. Sift confectioners' sugar over top.

Makes 20 bars.

Submitted by Andrea Rockman, Valrico

 

Chewy Pecan Pie Bars

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 cups brown sugar, packed

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups chopped pecans

Confectioners' sugar

- Pour melted butter into a 9- by 13- by 2-inch baking pan; set aside.

- In mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in pecans. Spread over melted butter.

- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

- Remove from oven; immediately dust with confectioners' sugar. Cool before cutting.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Submitted by Renate Applegate, Carlsbad, Calif.

 

Lemon Nutmeg Meltaways

1 cup sifted cake flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted margarine or butter

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

- Sift cake flour, cornstarch, salt and nutmeg onto wax paper.

- Beat margarine, sugar and lemon rind with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add sifted dry ingredients to butter mixture.

- Beat on low speed until mixture is smooth. Roll dough by teaspoon into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

- Flatten slightly to 11/4-inch circles with bottom of glass dipped in confectioners' sugar.

- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until cookies have turned pale brown on edges. Pack into airtight containers and store up to one week.

Makes 2 dozen.

Submitted by Lola Kuslansky, Largo

 

Snow Caps

1 pound white chocolate chips

3 tablespoons peanut butter

1 1/3 cups Rice Krispies

1 1/3 cups miniature marshmallows

1 1/3 cups dry roasted peanuts

- Bring water to a boil in bottom half of double boiler.

- Take double boiler off burner and, while water is still hot, place white chocolate and peanut butter in top half of double boiler and melt. Add Rice Krispies, miniature marshmallows and peanuts and mix. (Mixture can also be melted and blended on very low heat.)

- Drop by teaspoonful onto waxed paper. Place in refrigerator and chill. Store in a cool, dry place.

Makes 4 dozen.

Submitted by Marilyn Harrity, Clearwater

 

Hidden Mint Cookies

1 18-ounce package refrigerated sugar cookie dough

20 to 25 chocolate mints, such as Andes

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1/4 chopped pecans

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

- Slice cookies to 1/4-inch thick. Place one slice on cookie sheet and top with mint. Cover with another slice of cookie and lightly press edges together. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Press into dough.

- Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes about 20 cookies.

Submitted by Phyllis Van Diver, Oldsmar