Cooking Basics

Christmas crafts cookies

By Jean Sanders
Info Guru,

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christmas cookies
Now that the tree is decorated and all the wreaths are hung, it's time for different kinds of Christmas crafts - delicious Christmas cookies.
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Some edible Christmas crafts

1. Santa's Whiskers - a slice-and-bake refrigerator cookie dressed up with chopped cherries and rolled in coconut. Makes about 60. This is a delightful addition to your edible Christmas crafts.

1 cup butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1-cup red candied cherries, finely chopped 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped 1 cup flaked coconut In a large mixer bowl beat butter till softened. Add sugar and beat till fluffy. Add milk and vanilla and beat well. Add flour and beat until well mixed. Stir in cherries and pecans. Shape into three 7" rolls. Roll in coconut to coat. Wrap and chill for several hours. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut into 1/4" thick slices. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes or until done. Remove and cool.

2. Sugar Cookies - a simple sugar cookie recipe with a tender, flakey texture and a buttery taste. Yum! In spite of the humble name, this is the best sugar cookie recipe at Christmas - prettily decorated with Royal Icing (see below), these could very well be the hit of the party. Makes about 24. In addition to listing this with your Christmas crafts, be sure to include it in your regular recipe file.

1 cup butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla 3 cups all-purpose flour 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix until just combined. Add flour and baking powder in intervals. Dough will seem as if doesn't have enough moisture but continue to mix with mixer until combined (it will come together when chilled). Divide the dough into four equal parts, shape into four disks, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate about an hour or until firm. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper, about 1/4 inch thick for crispier cookies and 1/3 inch thick for softer cookies. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until edges just start to turn a golden color. For softer cookies, do not allow the cookies to take on color. Remove from oven, let cool for one minute and then transfer to wire rack. Allow cookie sheet to cool thoroughly before placing uncooked dough on it. Decorate cookies with Royal Icing or Buttercream Frosting and sprinkles.

Can be stored in freezer undecorated for 2 months. Dough also freezes well. Note: Yield varies greatly depending on how thin you roll out the dough and how large your cookie cutters are, but an overall guideline is 24 cookies.

Royal Icing for decoration (optional) 1 pound powdered sugar 5 tablespoons meringue powder or 1/4 cup pasteurized egg whites 2 tablespoons water Food coloring (optional) Combine powdered sugar and meringue powder or egg whites in a mixing bowl and beat on low speed. Add water drop by drop. The amount depends on whether you used the powder or the egg whites, and on the temperature and humidity in your kitchen. Add the water slowly and do not let the mixture get runny - you will probably not use all of it. Beat until the mixture holds a trail on the surface for five seconds when you raise the mixer from the bowl. If you like, you can tint the icing with a few drops of food coloring. Makes 6 cups.

3. Pecan Tarts (or tassies) -look and taste like miniature pecan pies. Makes about 24. This gets a very high ranking on the edible Christmas crafts chart!

3 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon butter, softened 1 cup sifted flour 1 egg 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed 1 teaspoon vanilla dash salt 2/3 cup chopped pecans Preheat oven to 325F. Combine cheese, 1/2 cup butter & flour. Mix thoroughly and chill, covered, 1 hour. Divide into 24 small balls and press into sides and bottom of 2 ungreased miniature muffin pans. Combine egg, brown sugar, vanilla, salt & remaining 1 tablespoon butter; beat until smooth. Sprinkle 1/3 cup pecans equally into 24 tart shells. Divide egg mixture equally among 24 tarts, pouring on top of pecans. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup pecans on top of tarts. Bake 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

4. Thumbprint Cookies - buttery cookies rolled in chopped walnuts and filled with your favorite jam. If you're worried about portability, place a half of a candied cherry in each center before baking, instead of the jam. You'll list this as one of your very favorite Christmas crafts that you can really enjoy throughout the year!

2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/3 cup granulated sugar 2 large egg yolks 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon salt 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 large egg whites 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts of choice 1/3 cup jam (any flavor)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla extract and salt. Gradually stir in flour. Form dough into 1-inch diameter balls. Dip in lightly beaten egg whites, then roll in nuts. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Press down center of each with thumb. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Just before serving, fill centers of cookies with jam. Or, fill centers with 1/2 teaspoon of jam before baking.

Enjoy! And have fun during the holidays!

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