I’m baked out. Done. Here’s why:
Baklava. Walnuts, honey, cinnamon, sugar phyllo dough and butter. My twelve year old would eat the entire pan if I let him.
Buckeyes. Gluten Free and Vegan. Whoop Whoop! A Buckeye is a chestnut family tree that produces this little inedible and Ohio’s claim to fame. Ohioans created this candy out of peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and chocolate. My eight year old believes he should be able to count devouring as many of these as possible for his protein intake. I like the way he thinks, but no way.
Cinnamon Log Slices. These looked like a sliced russet potato and are pretty boring if you just try one. But if you sit down with a cup of tea or coffee with these, then yum. The cinnamon laced cookie is rolled in cocoa powder and cinnamon prior to baking. These will not make next year’s Christmas Cookie cut.
Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread. These are the family all-time favorite cookie. If I could force myself to only make one kind of cookie at Christmas, this is the one. This is a Martha Stewart recipe that never fails. The secret is the fresh grated ginger and hidden chocolate chips. Spicy, sweet and chocolatey goodness.
Carnation Fudge with Walnuts. I used to have a great fudge recipe and lost it (DB, if you have it message me please). This year, we tried two fudge recipes. Carnations evaporated milk recipe on the label with mini marshmallows and the recipe found on the jar of marshmallow fluff. As reported above, the marshmallow fluff recipe was dry and chalky. The Carnation recipe turned out nice and creamy. Two thumbs up.
Coconut Macaroons. I made this recipe last year and my husband loved them. This year, he’s iffy. I love toasted coconut and these, I think, are great.
Hrostule. (Her-stah-la). This is the cookie I swear I will never make ever again, occasionally swearing at the dough. Then my husband walks into the kitchen while I’m pitching my fit and says, “Oh Hrostule, this is why I love you,” and I’m signed up for another year. This year there wasn’t much drama, after 14 years of making this cookie, I think I’ve figured it out. Six eggs, 1/4 c. whiskey, 1/2 c. butter, melted, 1 tsp anise, 1 T. vanilla, 4.5 c. flour, vegetable oil for frying. Mix all the ingredients. Working in small batches, roll dough very thin (this is where the swearing starts), cut into strips (I use a pastry cutter), and tie each piece into a knot. THEN, once all the dough has been rolled, cut and tied, fry in 350 degree oil until just begins to turn golden at edges. THEN coat in powdered sugar. Start to finish, today’s batch took me 1.5 hours. These cookies appear at every event from my wedding to the birth of my children to any random occasion. Hrostule will be on all future cookie lists.
French Cookie. This is my mom’s recipe, maybe my grandmother’s recipe. I followed the recipe. I’ve made this cookie at my mom’s house growing up. I know this cookie. Yet for some reason, it didn’t turn out right. Something’s missing and I don’t know what. My twelve year old LOVES this cookie too.
Peppermint Meringue with Dark Chocolate Ganache. My nine year old is obsessed with meringues. He was very excited to help make these, but by helping I learned he only meant eating them. Easy, but oven hogs as meringues cook low and slow. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Oh, and the dark chocolate ganache is so damn good I almost crawled into the closet with the whole bowl and a spoon. I didn’t but it was a close call.
Palmiers. These are the easiest cookie. Pre-made puff pastry dough, filled with sugar, rolled and sliced. Simple. My husband and youngest boy decided they are going to France to test the authenticity of my Palmiers. Bring it.
Shaker Lemon Bars. For my girl. These are the best lemon bars you will ever have. Another Martha Stewart recipe that uses the entire lemon in the filling. The crust is a spectacular shortbread.
Sugar Cut Outs. The quintessential Christmas cookie. We have 12 different cookie cutters that we use. This year, a lady in front of me at the grocery store told me that she had special ordered mini M & M’s so she could decorate her Christmas tree cookies with M & M’s. I thought the boys would love that idea and bought some mini M & M’s. Not a good idea. My boys, husband included, gave the full body Santa cookie nuts (below the belt line) with the mini M & M’s. Oh, they thought they were a damn riot. Me, not so much.
Ruthy’s Apricot Walnut Rugelach from Chelsea Market. During my recent New York City trip, I purchased the Chelsea Market cookbook and attempted making rugelach for the first time. Of the eight dozen I made, the first four were disasters – not to eat, only to look at – as I overfilled them with goodness. The last four dozen turned out beautifully. This is the best breakfast cookie and the recipe is a keeper.
Pistachio Almond White Chocolate Biscotti. Meh. I made this last year and couldn’t remember this year if I liked it or not so I made it again. Never again. Not bad but not fantastic. I aim higher than this cookie delivers.
Then, as if the baking took no time and effort whatsoever, the cookies get wrapped up and delivered. Some homemade Christmas magic. And, plenty of magic left at home for my sweets to devour.
I hope your Christmas is sweet.