Holiday Cookie Recipes

Despite the fact that I don’t really eat grains at all and try like the dickens to avoid sugar, I love to bake!  And so I spent a day this weekend baking holiday cookies and treats to share with my co-workers.  Below are recipes/links to recipes for the cookies and treats I made.  I made all of these (save the fudge) gluten-free and dairy-free.  All I can say, is make sure to add extra leavening if you’re going the gluten-free route!

My Grandma’s Holiday Orange Cookies:

We used to make these every year with my Grandma B when she would come to visit for Christmas.  I’m pretty sure this is the only thing we ever made with her.  She wasn’t a big cook.  She could have single-handedly kept Stouffer’s in business.  One batch of these will make well over 50 cookies.  Each cookie is a silver-dollar sized, buttery, crunchy delight.  The dough must cold when you work with it. The dough can remain in the fridge rolled in the waxed paper for up to a week.  I’ll be bringing these to my dad on Christmas morning to give him a taste of his youth.

1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbs. orange zest
2 & 3/4 cup flour – sifted
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 minced pecans (optional)
1 egg

1. Cream together sugars and butter.
2. Add well beaten egg, orange juice, and orange zest.
3. Add flour slowly.
4. Stir in pecans.
5. Put dough in the fridge until firm enough to handle.
6. Roll dough into logs about and inch in diameter and roll-up in waxed paper. Chill again in the fridge.
7. When firm, slice thinly and bake on a greased sheet (or use parchment paper or a Silpat) at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Note: these also work great run through a cookie press.  Just make sure the dough is cold.  I can’t stress that enough!

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

I got this recipe from The Cooking Photographer.  I have to say that they are worth the hassle.  But, you want to make ABSOLUTELY sure that you cool these to the point of cold before trying to remove them from the cookie sheet.  Otherwise, you will end up with cookies that more resemble doughnuts as the middles will rip right out.  Her tip to stick these in the freezer really works.

Molasses-Spice Cookies

This recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated magazine.  What I like about Cooks Illustrated is that they test, and test, and test each recipe until they’ve completely nailed it.  Better them than me!  I will warn you that these can be a bit tricky if you’re going the gluten-free route.  You’ll want to make sure to add a tablespoon of baking powder to the recipe despite the fact that it doesn’t call for baking powder.  Without it, you will end-up with a solid, flat, chewy mess.  This mess, incidentally, tastes really good but looks pretty odd. In fact, the manfriend prefers them this way.

2 & 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 & 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
12 Tbs (1 & 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling cookies
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses

1. Adjust racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and molasses and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
3. Add dry ingredients and beat at a low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
4. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar bowl.  Working with 2 Tbs. of dough at a time, roll dough into a ball and then roll in the sugar to coat.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheets placing them 1 & 1/2 to 2 inches apart.
5. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets (from top to bottom and front to back) halfway through baking, until outer edges begin to set and centers are soft and puffy, 11 to 13 minutes. Cool cookies on sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling racks with a wide spatula.  Makes about 20 cookies.

Candied Bacon Fudge

Yeah, you read that right. No, I’m not joking. Lately at work we’ve been experimenting with unusual chocolates. A co-worker recently brought in bacon chocolate.  I was hesitant at first, but ending up being pleasantly surprised! So when I saw this recipe at The Kitchen, I decided to give it a go. I decided to modify the recipe a bit and chop the candied bacon up and add it to my mom’s fudge recipe. This turned out really well.  I used dark chocolate for the fudge and the mix of that with the sweet, smokey, salty flavor of the bacon was divine!

Gluten-free Sugar Cookies

This recipe is from one of my favorite online gluten-free resources, Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef. I actually didn’t make these this year. There’s just not enough hours in a day to get it all done! But I made these last year and they were fantastic.  The manfriend is convinced they’re better than regular sugar cookies. I opted for the dusting of powdered sugar on top instead of icing the hell out of these and they remained pure, uncomplicated, and not too sweet because of it.  Of course, if you have children or like frosting, have at it! They give you the perfect pallet for your decorating.

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    My mother is an encyclopedia of useless information (sorry, ma, but it's true) - no one can beat her at Trivial Pursuit. As I age, I become more like dear old mom everyday. I routinely tell people about resources, recipes, tips, tricks, or websites I've heard about, tried, live by, etc. until one of my clients urged me to start a blog. So here it is! My perpetual ramblings. I hope you find them useful and amusing. If you don't, you can either keep it to yourself or leave me a well constructed critique.

    I'm a former massage therapist, a freelance journalist, and a web information architect and UX designer. I enjoy yoga, the Bar Method, camping, reading, gardening, and spending time with my friends and loved ones. I live in Colorado.

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