The holiday season is a magical time of year. The trees come alive with lights, wreaths transform walls that were once bare, and giant ornaments appear all over shopping centers. It is a time to build memories by keeping family traditions alive and reconnecting with others.
My family celebrates Christmas and one of my favorite traditions, besides making tamales, is baking cookies with my mother while watching some of my favorite Christmas movies like Elf. I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, but I believe food always brings people together. Here are a couple of cookie recipes from our talented bakers at Fountaindale to tryout and for any last minute cookie exchanges.
Orange Thumbprint- Cristina
(Makes about 60)
These are my FAVORITE! I love citrus so I like to add a little more orange zest to the recipe to give it a bit more flavor. The cookies come out soft and taste amazing. It’s definitely a recipe to try out!
For the dough:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
For the filling:
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice.
⅓ tablespoon coarse salt
confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
- Make dough: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Add yolks and vanilla, and beat for 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour and salt until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day.
- Make filling: Preheat oven to 325͒ F. Line baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper; lightly coat with cooking spray. Whisk together granulated sugar, flour, and egg. Stir in Zest, juice, and salt.
- Form balls of dough (each equal to 2 teaspoons), and place on prepared sheets, about 1 inch apart. With the handle of a wooden spoon, press gently in the center of each to create an indentation. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Press centers again if indentations lose definition. Spoon filling into centers. Continue baking until cookies are light brown around edges, 10 to 12 minutes more. Transfer sheets to wire racks to cool completely before dusting with confectioners’ sugar. Cookies can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature in airtight containers.
Sugar Cookies- Maureen
(Makes about 30)
“The cookies come out soft but still good enough to decorate with icing and sprinkles! I’ve also made this icing–it’s easy and you just need to buy food coloring.”
For the dough:
½ cup butter
½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar.
- Add egg and vanilla; mix well.
- Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
- Shape into 1-in. balls. Roll in sugar.
- Place on greased baking sheet; flatten with a glass.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.
For the icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon almond extract
- In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth.
- Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
- Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity.
- Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.
Pumpkin Turnovers- Deb
(Makes 8 turnovers)
“I made my own dough instead of buying puff pastry. I call them Pumpkin Pasties, which is a much-loved treat from the Harry Potter universe.”
2 puffed pastry sheets, thawed
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all-spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
Dash of vanilla
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix pumpkin puree, brown sugar and remaining spices in medium mixing bowl until smooth.
- Place puffed pastry sheets on clean, dry surface. Cut each pastry sheet into four squares.
- Place one and a half HEAPING tablespoons of pumpkin puree on one half of the square.
- Fold over from corner to corner into a triangle shape, and press edges together to seal.
- Place turnovers on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between them. If desired, crimp edges with fork.
- Cut three small indentations on the thickest part of the turnover to resemble small apple pies.
- Brush with one beaten egg, if desired.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- When golden brown and puffed up, remove from oven and drizzle vanilla glaze on top using the prongs of a fork.
- For glaze, simply whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. If glaze is too thick, gradually increase milk. Enjoy!
Magic Cookie Bars- Kate
“My favorite recipe!”
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (I just crush graham crackers in a bag)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chops
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Coat a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter.
- Press mix into bottom of prepared pan.
- Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture.
- Layer evening with chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts.
- Press firmly down (I recommend with a fork or a spoon so it doesn’t stick to hands).
- Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Cut into bars.
Monster Cookies- Agnes
(Makes about 2 ½ dozen)
Here is Agnes’ recipe slightly modified from
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter (use crunchy if you like nuts)
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups old fashioned oats
1 cup M&Ms
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup butterscotch chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and peanut butter.
4. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well until creamy.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated. Stir in the butterscotch, chocolate chips, and M&Ms.
6. Mix in the oats.
7. Place balls of dough, around 1½ Tablespoons each, on the parchment sheet. You can hand place extra M&Ms on top, pressing slightly in.
8. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Make sure not to over bake. The cookies will not be brown and will continue to cook as they cool on the pan.
9. Store in an airtight container.
Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do. Happy holidays from Fountaindale!