Celebrate the Season with Holiday Cookies & Treats

Amanda Cunningham, Staff Writer

December 2017

The custom of a holiday baking bonanza dates back to the Middle Ages, when spices like nutmeg and cinnamon were just starting to be widely used, along with dried fruits that added sweetness and texture. Only on the most important holidays could families afford to bake and exchange cookies made with these expensive ingredients.

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From our Readers:

Pepparkakor

Traci Gustafson, Ruther Glen, Virginia
Ingredients:

2 sticks butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons molasses
3¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions:

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg and molasses. Sift flour with spices and baking soda to combine, then stir into sugar mixture to make a very stiff dough. Form into long rolls and chill until ready to bake. Either slice thinly or roll on a floured surface, using cookie cutters to make gingerbread men or other shapes. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 8-12 minutes, depending on size of cookie. Cool on a wire rack and decorate as desired with icing made of 1 egg white combined with 1½ cups powdered sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring.


From our Readers:

Potato Chip Cookies

Delores Carl, Mineral, Virginia
Ingredients:

2 sticks butter, softened
2⁄3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups flour
½ cup crushed plain potato chips

Directions:

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add flour and crushed potato chips and mix well. Drop teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.


From our Readers:

Fruitcake Cookies

Debbie Roland, Nokesville, Virginia
Ingredients:

3½ cups flour
16-oz. chopped pecans
15-oz. box golden raisins
16-oz. tub of red candied cherries
8-oz. tub of candied pineapple
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon each cloves, cinnamon & nutmeg
2 teaspoons brandy
3 tablespoons milk
½ cup apricot juice

Directions:

Mix ½ cup flour with the fruits and nuts. Using an electric mixer, blend remaining ingredients until smooth. Stir in fruit/nut mixture and scoop tablespoonfuls onto greased, parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. These cookies freeze well.

From Our Readers:

Christmas Spirits

Daria Kiselica, Charlottesville, Virginia
Ingredients:

1¼ cups walnuts
32 Oreo cookies
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons corn syrup or honey
¾ cup coffee liqueur or rum

Directions:

In food processor, chop walnuts, then cookies. Add half the powdered sugar and 1½ tablespoons coffee powder. Process thoroughly and mix in corn syrup and liqueur. Combine remaining ½ cup powdered sugar and ½ tablespoon coffee powder. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls, then sugar/coffee mixture. Let dry on waxed paper and store in an airtight container.

From our Readers:

Chocolate Candy Cane Kisses

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1⁄3 cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 sticks softened butter
1 cup sugar + extra for rolling
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
10 oz. Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses

Directions:

Sift together flour, cocoa and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and gradually stir in flour mixture. Chill dough until firm, then roll in 1-inch balls and toss in extra sugar to coat. Place 1-inch apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, unwrap a corresponding number of Hershey’s kisses. Remove from oven and press a Candy Cane Kiss lightly in the center of each, then bake another 2-3 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

From our Readers:

Christmas Wreaths

Daria Kiselica, Charlottesville, Virginia
Ingredients:

¼ cup butter
10-oz. bag marshmallows
½ teaspoon green food coloring
5 cups corn flakes, lightly crushed
Cinnamon red-hot candies

Directions:

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add marshmallows and melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in green food coloring and then corn flakes until well-coated. Using 2-3 tablespoons of the corn-flake mixture for each cookie, quickly form wreath shapes on a greased baking sheet. If mixture cools, reheat it to allow for shaping of the wreaths. Place 3-4 cinnamon candies on each wreath to suggest holly berries. Heat cookies for 1-2 minutes in a 350-degree oven to attach the candies to the wreaths. Store in airtight container when cooled.


From our Readers:

John’s Famous Pecans

Debbie Roland, Nokesville, Virginia
Ingredients:

1 stick butter
2 egg whites
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
16-oz. bag of pecan halves
Cinnamon or cayenne (optional)

Directions:

Melt butter in 13″x 9″ pan. Beat egg whites until stiff, adding sugar and salt. Stir in nuts and vanilla, then spread over butter in pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes, turning with spatula after 20 minutes. If desired, you can season with cinnamon or cayenne halfway through the baking process.


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