Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Cookies

I always, without fail, make lists of the cookies I want to bake at Christmas. I either loose the list, or get too busy with shopping, doing lunch, painting, or decorating the house, to get much baking done.
But my intentions are good!

I also blog about my favorite Christmas cookie every year, and today is the day.
I will never forget that moment when I took a bite of my first Cucidati!

Cucidati - Italian Fig Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 + 2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg (beaten)
1 teaspoons vanilla
 In a large mixing bowl combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar,
and baking powder. Cut in butter till pieces are the size of small peas.
Stir in the heavy cream  and egg till all is moistened.
Divide dough in half. Cover and chill about 2 hrs until easy to handle.
Prepare fig filling while dough is chilling.
1 8-ounce package (1 1/2 cup dried figs)
3/4 cup light raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 dried mixed fruits (I do not care for citron, so I use a mixture of  cherries and apples)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup warm orange juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the filling: In a food processor bowl or with the coarse blade of a food
Grinder, process or grind figs, raisins, and almonds till coarsely chopped.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the 1/4 cup sugar, warm orange juice, cinnamon and
pepper. Stir in the fruit mixture. Let filling stand till the dough is thoroughly
chilled. Roll each half of the dough into a 12-inch square. Cut each square into twelve
4x3-inch rectangles. Using a heaping tablespoon of filling for each rectangle,
Spread filling along one of the short sides of the rectangle. Roll up from that side
Place rolls, seam side down, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Curve each roll slightly.
Snip outer edge if curve three times. Bake in a 350 oven for 20 to 25 minutes or till done. Remove and cool.
Dip the top of each cookie into a simple powdered sugar glaze and then sprinkle with tiny colored candies. Set on waxed paper to dry.

In Italy, it is traditional to shape the cookies as birds and fish, glazing each with a shimmering coating of powdered sugar glaze and then sprinkling each with colorful candies. Each is a work of art!
As quickly as they are eaten, I have moved to the easier version!

Another favorite cookie is a Martha Stewart recipe
Rum Raisin Shortbread Cookies

1/2 cup dark rum
1 cup dried currants
2 sticks unsalted butter (16 tablespoons) room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon coarse salt

1. Combine rum and currants; cover, and let stand at room temperature overnight. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons rum.
2. Beat butter, sugar, and orange zest with a mixer on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and reserved rum, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour, coconut, and salt, and beat for 3 minutes. Stir in currants by hand.
    3. Form dough into 2 logs, each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter; wrap in parchment, and refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 3 days).
    4. Preheat oven to 325. Remove parchment. Slice logs into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, and space about 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake until pale golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

If you need a recipe for a refrigerator cookie, here it is. It can be waiting in your refrigerator, for you to slice and bake when ever you need a quick dessert or a sweet snack.

Lemon Refrigerator Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) cut into pieces
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
1. In a food processor, pulse flour, confectioners' sugar, salt, and lemon zest until combined. Add butter and process until sandy. Add egg yolks and lemon juice; pulse until dough comes together. Divide dough in half and form each into a 1 1/2-inch-wide log. Wrap in plastic and freeze until firm, about 2 hours
(or up to 1 month).

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Spread granulated sugar on a piece of parchment; roll logs over sugar to coat. Slice logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange, 1 inch apart, on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
(To store, cover and keep at room temperature, up to 5 days.)

And, of course, last but not least,
My Mom'sSugar Cookies    

1 cup butter, not margarine
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
4 cups flour
additional sugar for top of cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
With electric mixer, beat the softened butter, oil,
sugar and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla.
Sift the flour with the soda, salt, cream of tartar and nutmeg,
then add gradually to the creamed mixture.
With a small 1 1/2" scoop, drop cookie dough into a plate of sugar.
With fingers, press dough into sugar, lift cookie, turn sugar side up
and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, to desired crispness.
Cool on waxed paper before storing in airtight container.
For the Christmas season, tint the sugar for the top of the
cookies with red and/or green food coloring,
or purchase colored sugars.

Thanks, Mom!

1 comment:

Divina said...

love your cookie recipes- thanks!

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