Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Cookies - Weekend Cooking

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Christmas Baking

Our Christmas baking is a tradition my daughters and I started when they were very little.  It was all very accidental because I was looking for a Christmas cookie recipe for my oldest to take for her kindergarten class's Christmas party.  I was honored to be asked by the teacher to bake; I've been in enough elementary classrooms to know that the teacher very carefully chooses the parents that he/she asks to bring the homemade items :)
I wanted to make a very special cookie indeed!

I found a very simple but creative reindeer cookie recipe that used premade peanut butter cookie dough, bite sized pretzels for antlers, red M&M's for Rudolph's nose and semi-sweet morsels for his eyes.
The cookies were a hit!
As a matter of fact, I couldn't believe how much of a hit they were.
My girls were so excited at how much their classmates and their teachers loved these cookies; they loved them as well.
Reindeer cookies have been the first cookie of the season ever since.
My firstborn (a senior in high school) even asked this year if we could make them a little early so she could tak them to her soccer team's Christmas party :)

We don't try to marathon bake.
It doesn't fit my ADD personality nor all of our needs not to completely overwhelm ourselves with what is supposed to be an enjoyable experience.  Because of varying schedules throughout the holidays our laid back baking schedule also allows me to spend individual time with each of my daughters in the kitchen.

Beginning on Dec. 1 as the opportunity presents itself, if we are not all zonked or freezing our patooties off at a soccer game or fulfilling some other nighttime responsibility, we pull out our list and pick a cookie.  Most of the time we only make one recipe per night.
This baking routines keeps our cookies fresh, assures that we will have snacks for visitors, and keeps an endless supply for our own snacking needs throughout the holiday :)

Before the flu plague hit our household this Christmas we managed to complete 4 recipes; these happen to be some of the very ones we make every single year.
Following are some pictures from our efforts at making Snickerdoodles, Crescent Moons, Reindeer Cookies and Jam Cookies.  Recipes will follow at the bottom of the post :)

Snickerdoodles are about as easy as a cookie can be, traditional and will make your house smell like you've been baking all morning.  For this cookie my firstborn was in charge of the mixer and then shared the responsibility of rolling the dough into little balls and coating with a cinnamon and sugar mixture before placing on the baking sheets.

If you don't like cinnamon and sugar, then you won't like this cookie, but if you don't like cinnamon and sugar, I'm unsure as to why you're baking cookies to begin with ;)

These are my mom's favorite cookie from her childhood so we always try to share these with her.

On a different night, my youngest, for the very first time, was in charge of the mixer!!

If memory serves, my firstborn was sick by this night and my middle child was off galavanting...nothing brings on the Christmas spirit like a 6 year old who is completely enthralled with the mixing process :)

Once the dough was prepared, we took out small balls and rolled them into caterpillars...not too fat and not too skinny...and then shaped them into crescent moon shapes.

While they are still warm from baking, they are dipped into powdered sugar.  This may be my youngest's favorite thing...she loves the powder poofs!

Now, Crescent Moons are MY favorite.  I could make myself sick on these so I have to pace myself!

Another night my middle daughter took the lead with jam cookies and had a time separating the yolks from the whites :)

Little sister was underfoot so we gave her the task of preparing another batch of reindeer cookies all her own.  That kept her busy enough to keep her out of my middle child's hair so she could have a cookie all her own.

My middle child is as impatient as I am and we had to talk a little about how important it is when you're baking to get the ingredients measured correctly.  She did a fine job once she settled in and thought through her processes.

You can't see him very well (because he's a jet black cat like Uh-Oh), but Beneigt is sitting in the bar stool above supervising his mommy as she bakes.


She put a good bit of jam in the indentions and I was a little worried about how the jam cookies would turn out.

Not sure why worried...these things were soft, rich and delicious!

My youngest finished her cookies as well...someone had eaten all the red M&Ms so the reindeer had to settle for brown noses instead of red.

No worries :)


Reindeer Cookies

Slice and Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
Bite sized pretzel twists
Red M&M's
Semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Adjust the amount of cookie dough to however many cookies you are planning to make.  Slice the dough and place on a cookie sheet.  Leave more space in between the cookies than you normally would because of "antlers."  Use 2 pretzel twists on each cookie for the reindeer antlers, 2 semi-sweet morsels for eyes and one red M&M for Rudolph's nose.  Bake according to cookie dough package directions!


1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
2 medium eggs
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Mix butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and the eggs.  Stir sifted and combined flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into the sugar mixture.  Combine the remainng 2 tbsp sugar with the cinnamon in a separate bowl and roll dough balls into the mixture, coating the dough balls all over.  Place coated dough balls onto cookie sheet leaving space for the cookies to spread and bake 8-10 minutes in preheated 400 degree oven.  Let cookies cool on a wire rack and ENJOY!

Crescent Moons

1 cup salted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Cream butter, 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Beat in flour and then stir in pecans.  Shape dough into balls, roll out and shape into crescent moons.  Place cookies onto baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 325 degree oven.  Tranfer cookie to wire rack to cool some.
Once cookies are cool enough to hold but not completely cooled roll them in the remaining powdered sugar.  Place on a serving plate without touching each other so that they can completely cool once they are coated with powdered sugar.

Jam Cookies

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
fruit jam of any flavor

Cream butter, sugar and egg yolks.  Mix in flour a little at a time and roll dough into one inch balls.  Form a well in each ball (I use my thumb). Fill each well with 1/2 tsp of jam.  Bake for 8-10 minutes in a 375 degree preheated oven.  Cool on wire rack.


  1. Hey Patti,
    I love how you spread out your baking. I have done it that way in the past, but this year got too hectic, and we did all of our cooking in three or four days.

    Ok, I may be crazy (of course I am), but it seems like I remember that you recently listed 100 Great Books, or something like that. And then you asked which ones we have read. Did you blog about that? Did I dream that? Or maybe it was someone else? Anyway, I have searched your blog for that post, but cannot find it. If you did indeed blog about such a book list, will you leave me a comment with the link to that post or just inbox me on FB?
    I want to print the list out and start reading the books!

    Did you get an iPad for Christmas? I love mine. I now read almost all of my books on it, including the Bible.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks for responding! Now I will not stop until I find that list!

    I am sure you know this, but once you buy a book from Amazon for your kindles, you can put the same book on all of your devices (iPads, iPhones MacBooks, etc) you just get the free Amazon Kindle App for your device and with one purchase, you can put the books on all devices.

    I am finding the iPad as more of a computer and less than a big iPhone, which is what I first thought of it as. I have come a long way as far as tech thingys go. I only began emailing and reading the internet 10 years ago....and now my whole life is on my iPhone/iPad/Macbook!

    I'll let you know if I ever find that list! :)

  3. Yummy cookies! I'm glad you were able to spend this time with your girls. You're making memories, mom!

  4. I love that your spread out the baking process. I love the reindeer cookies-I will have to save that recipe for next year's baking party. Your kitchen is lovely!

  5. Those reindeer cookies are the absolute cutest. I love them. And how easy, easy is it to start with pre-made dough? I will definitely be making them next year.

    I love how your girls get into the baking process. What a fun month of baking.

  6. I did thumbprint cookies for the first time this year and I can tell you I'll be doing them again. Your reindeer cookies are just adorable. Though I have to say I'm glad our big cookie season is over because my pants are just a little too tight right now.

  7. What a lot of cookies you made! I hope to get into the habit next year - it's not something we tend to do for Christmas in the Netherlands but I very much like the idea.

    Thanks for sharing the recipes.

  8. Know the difference between liquid and dry measures, and use the appropriate one for each task. While they hold the same volume, they are used differently.