Monday, December 3, 2012

Our Favorite Christmas Cookies & Treats

Just because we're waiting until the week before Christmas to bake, doesn't mean you are.  You all are much more disciplined about not sneaking them from the freezer or gobbling up half a dozen while they're still warm, right?  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  Of course.

In the event you're already baking or will be baking soon, I wanted to offer up our favorites.  If you've been around here for awhile, you'll see that our list hasn't changed much.  That's because these are the cream of the crop, in my opinion, and improving on the list would be tough.  That said, I'd love to hear what your favorite Christmas cookie is.  Would you tell me?  Please, please, please?

First off- Lemon Bars. Oh, how I love them.  My infatuation began in our college cafeteria where I ate them for the first time.  Imagine how I now enjoy these in contrast with the albeit tasty cafeteria version (they actually baked them there, I believe).

Next, we have my mother-in-law's Caramel Popcorn.  Hers is the best I've ever had- well-coated, not grainy, just melt-in-your-mouth heavenly.

These Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies are my favorite cookie in the world and I'm not exaggerating.  I could eat them every day at every meal.  Boldly spiced and chocolaty, they are divine.

Ahhhh.  These are my mother's Chocolate Mint Brownies.  You can add green food coloring to the mint layer to make them more festive, but I like leaving them pure white so your unsuspecting company is wowed by the flavor punch.

Such a classic- Peanut Blossoms.  These were my favorite growing up.  I'd always eat the peanut butter cookie around the kiss, saving the chocolate for my last bite.  Hmm.  Come to think of it, that's exactly what I still do:-).

This Gingerbread Cookie recipe came from my mom.  She use to pipe white icing on her gingerbread men, giving them faces and little pants, shirts and shoes.  Several years ago, I decided to decorate them by dipping them in melted chocolate and then let the kids decorate with sprinkles.  As you may have noticed above, I love the chocolate-gingerbread combination, so these are my second favorite cookie.  And I can still give the illusion of little pants, shoes and hats.

Do you know about Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies?  Well, I am happy to introduce you.  The bark can totally stand alone as a treat (or sweet gift wrapped in a cellophane bag), but add them to chocolate cookies?  Be still my beating heart.

In the back of Beth Morre's bible study book on Esther comes this recipe for Haman's Ears.  Soft, sweet cookie is wrapped around your choice of filling- we use apple butter and different flavors of jam.  Not only are they delicious, but they remind our family of the way God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Lastly, Homemade Marshmallows.  If you've never tried these, you really must.  They are surprising easy to make and taste so much better than the store bought variety.  And!  Your kids will love dropping one big  giant marshmallow into their hot chocolate instead of those of itty-bitty ones.

Almost all of these recipes can also be found here.

Happy baking, loves!
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  1. My new favorite is what I call Praline Grahams. It is based on one of Paula Deen's recipes.

    24 graham crackers (left whole, except to make them fit the pan(s) )
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1 stick butter
    1 stick margarine
    1 cup finely chopped pecans
    Dash of sea salt

    Line a cookie sheet with foil (I used two small pans to fit in my terribly small oven)

    Place grahams whole onto the pan. Make them fit as snugly as possibly.

    In a saucepan, bring the butter, margarine, brown sugar,and salt to a boil, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully pour the very hot mixture over all the grahams. Use an offset spatula to smooth it out (there will be plenty for 24 grahams I promise). Before it starts to harden, sprinkle the pecans over the top.

    Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, allow to cool slightly before cutting with a pizza wheel. Layer with wax paper because they will stick together.

  2. Those lemon bars look delicious!! We also enjoy homemade marshmallows!! Coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate are my favorite!!!!

  3. One of my favorite childhood memories is baking Christmas cookies with my Grandma. We also made lemon bars and peanut blossoms as well as toffee nut bars, shortbread cookies (my fav), Mexican wedding cakes, anise cookies and church windows. My girls and I have added chocolate dipped coconut macaroons to the list. I am looking forward to carrying on the tradition again this year in a week, or maybe 2. :) Thank you for some delicious new ideas!

  4. Whenever I would visit my Italian aunt in PA at Christmas, she served the most unbelievable dainty pastries and cookies. Her kiffles were my favorite, I believe they are actually Hungarian cookies made with cream cheese dough and with some kind of nut or fruit filling. She passed away this fall, and when I heard the news, my mind went immediately to her delicious kiffles. :-) I want to try to make some this Christmas, in her honor.

  5. Thank you for sharing some of your recipes on your blog. Lemon bars is also one of our family favorites along with Italian pizzelles. Angela

  6. This is inspirational! I was just asking myself, self, what Christmas cookies are we going to bake this year?

  7. Beautiful! And...WOW!!! You do A.LOT. of baking my friend!! Your family is blessed. Do they know that? :) My all time, must have, favourite is whipped shortbread. Melt-in-your-mouth...amazing!! Got to get onto that.

    Love to you!

  8. yes! I was wanting some new recipes! Thanks friend.


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