Holiday Cookie Marathon

Inspired by a CraftyPod podcast about planning for the holidays two months in advance I got an idea. In November, I asked my wonderful Mom if we could make holiday cookies together. We’d decide on the cookies new and old that we wanted to make, split the costs and shopping, and spend a weekend baking. She graciously accepted and we began the preparations.

When I arrived at my parents house this past Saturday, my Mom had already cleared the counters of all obstacles and she had a batch of peanut butter fudge on the counter. We each quickly devoured a bagel with cream cheese and began the Holiday Cookie Marathon. Our marathon included 6 different cookie/bar recipes and 2 fudge recipes – 4 new/4 old. We spent a total of 10 hours from the time we made the first cookie batter to when we packed up my half of the cookies. All-in-all we experienced a few kerfuffles throughout the day but nothing we couldn’t overcome. And we may have put a dent in the large bottle of Chianti wine.

One kerfuffle revolved around the now not so popular Ginger Wafers. The process of rolling out the dough to 1/16″ to then freeze and then cut and pry off wax paper was absolutely no fun. We determined the best solution for removing the unbaked wafers from the wax paper, but the end result was lackluster in the taste category. They are a firm no-go for next years event.

We also misread the White Chocolate Fudge ingredients to be one can of sweetened condensed milk instead of 3/4 cup (the wine might be at fault here). Mom was concerned the fudge wouldn’t set, but it turned out delicious so the extra milk was a non-issue.

What We Learned:

  • Even though we were quite courageous in trying four new recipes all in the same day I imagine next year we’ll restrain ourselves slightly.
  • And we’ll most likely prep some of the cookies that require the batter to be refrigerated prior to rolling/spritzing out the week before.
  • Cookie batter is easier to remove from parchment paper over wax paper.
  • A glass or two of wine makes spreading sprinkles go much faster.

The Winners:

White Chocolate Fudge – By Kraft Foods
Peppermint Bark – By Baked By Rachel

The No-Gos:

Eggnog Spritz Cookies
Ginger Waffers

The Good ol’ Standbys:


Pecan Delights

Makes 48 tarts

Ingredients:          
2 sticks margarine
6 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
**Filling is enough for 48 tarts**
1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix margarine and cream cheese. Add salt to flour. Add flour to cheese mixture a little at a time. Drop by one heaping tsp into miniature muffin tins. Press mixture evenly over bottom and sides. Combine egg, sugar and vanilla, mix well. Add chopped nuts to egg mixture and mix well. Place 1/2 tsp of nut mixture inside each muffin shell. Bake for 30 minutes.

Lemon Spritz Cookies – A recipe from Super Shooter Cookbook
Makes 6 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup  butter or margarine
1/4 cup  vegetable shortening
3/4 cup  granulated sugar
1 large  egg
2 teaspoons  lemon extract
1 tablespoon  grated lemon peel
2 1/4 cups  sifted all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon  baking powder
1/4 teaspoon  salt

Instructions:
With electric mixer, cream butter and shortening until soft. Add sugar gradually, continuing to cream about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg, lemon extract and lemon peel, beat well. Sift flour, baking powder, salt together: add to butter mixture in 3 additions by hand or with electric mixer.  Mix well after each addition; dough will be soft. Shape dough into 2 rolls; wrap in plastic film, foil or waxed paper; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Assemble and fill gun with cookie dough. Bake 7-8 minutes at 375 degrees or until just starting to turn light golden around edges. Do not over bake.

Praline Bars – By Southern Living
Makes 60 Bars

A few notes:
A sheet of graham crackers is a whole perforated but unbroken cracker stacked and wrapped.
Use a larger jelly roll pan as not all the crackers will fit in a 10×15.
Also when melting chocolate use a lower power on the microwave to keep the chocolate from burning.
Use a pastry bag to drizzle chocolate because it’s too thick to drizzle from a spoon.

Ingredients:
15 graham cracker sheets
3/4 cup  chopped pecans
1 3/4 cups  firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup  butter or margarine
1/2 cup  semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup  white chocolate morsels

Instructions:
Separate each graham cracker sheet into 4 crackers; place in a lightly greased 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Sprinkle chopped pecans over graham crackers. Bring brown sugar and butter to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil 2 minutes. Pour brown sugar mixture evenly over graham crackers in pan. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Quickly remove graham crackers to wax paper, using a spatula, and let cool completely. Microwave semisweet chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 30 seconds. Stir and microwave at HIGH 30 more seconds or until smooth. Drizzle chocolate evenly over cooled bars. Repeat procedure with white chocolate morsels.

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4 Replies to “Holiday Cookie Marathon”

  1. Oh my goodness. I’m drooling! Funny…I was in the kitchen making cookies also this weekend but I didn’t have any help from a relative if you know what I mean. I made the pecan delights but my recipe calls them “pecan tassies”. I also made “Rum Balls” yumm balls!! And tried to make sugar cookies from a Betty Crocker bag. That’s a no go for me. I couldn’t get them to roll out so I had to make them drop cookies. I’d rather try em from scratch. I have a cookie shooter too. I take green food coloring and add it to the dough before shooting out the “lemon Christmas trees” and red food coloring to make poinsettias then add green icing for the leaves and yellow icing for the dots in the center. Your baking would have had me in the bed after 4 hours. You didn’t mention who did the Quality Control. Your Uncle Mike is ready for me to start again next Saturday.

  2. Rum Balls sound delicious. Are they easy? Mom and I had completely forgotten about adding food coloring to the sugar cookies. My Dad did QC. I think next year we’ll change things up a bit so we don’t have to spend 10 hours in the kitchen. Happy cookie baking!

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