After receiving several requests, I am delighted to post my holiday cookie recipes. These are not necessarily Christmas recipes but I tend to only bake cookies around the holidays so they’ve come to be associated with Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The fruit cookies, shown in the lower row of the above photo, are something my mother made every winter while we kids were growing up. The molasses crinkles, in the top row, are a fairly common recipe – I’ve seen many similar ones in cookbooks and online. I like all the ground cloves in this one. The sesame butter cookies, in the middle row, are a rather new recipe added to my repertoire about ten years ago. Their tender, buttery texture makes me want to bake them again and again. So by popular demand, here are my three favorite holiday recipes.
Holiday Fruit Cookies – Even though they may look a little like fruitcake, they are not grandma’s fruitcake, and you would never want to re-gift them. This recipe makes a large batch – depending on the amount of the dough you portion out per cookie, you can easily get 8 dozen out of this recipe. The recipe calls for colored, candied fruit, dates, and three kinds of nuts. All should be cut into bite sized pieces. I place a cup of the flour in a large bowl and, using kitchen shears, I snip the sticky fruit into the flour, stirring to coat, while seated comfortably, watching television or listening to Christmas music. I use the shears to cut the nuts into smaller pieces as well. You can use any combination of colorful candied cherries or pineapple but I would avoid candied citrus because their strong flavors would overwhelm the milder fruits. The types of nuts you use is up to you, just make sure that the proportions are about what the recipe requests. Mix the dough separately and add it to the bowl of fruit and nuts. Unless you have muscles of steel, or an indestructible mixer, I suggest finishing mixing the dough, fruit, and nuts with your hands. It’s fun. Watch the cookies carefully while they bake, they burn easily.
Sesame Butter Cookies – This is a delicate and unusual cookie that is so tender and buttery it melts in your mouth. By all means serve these to family and friends for guaranteed rave reviews. I recommend buying sesame seeds in the bulk food section of your store, individual jars can be quite expensive. The addition of coconut adds to the light, rich texture – I’ve used sweetened and unsweetened varieties with equal success. The cookies bake in a cooler oven, so they take longer, but because the dough rests in the refrigerator overnight you can take out as much as you like to bake at a time.
Molasses Crinkle Spice Cookies – Rich molasses, and sweet spices make these cookies a special treat that holds up well against the sweeter, lighter flavors found in the fruit and butter cookies. I like to use a lighter, milder molasses for these cookies but the stronger varieties give you a flavor punch that many people love. The recipe calls for shortening but I like to use unsalted butter in its place for a richer flavor. These cookies benefit from resting the dough for a couple of hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator. They flatten out nicely in the oven so don’t place them too close together.
There are still a few days before Christmas – plenty of time to bake a batch or two of these wonderful cookies. A plate of cookies would be welcome at a New Year’s Eve gathering as well. Give some, or all, a try and let me know which ones are your favorites.