I love Christmas cookies. There, I admitted it publicly. I'm sure I'm not the only one!
A couple of years ago, I put out a call for favorite Christmas cookie recipes to include in a book. The winning recipes are in THE DIVA WRAPS IT UP. One dozen recipes with heartfelt memories from my readers! Many of them shared warm, loving stories about the people who baked the cookies or gave them the recipes. One of the things that I heard consistently was "It's not Christmas until these cookies show up." What kind of cookie says Christmas to you?
I feel a little guilty for putting all those fabulous recipes in a Christmas book that was released in June because the contributors probably didn't receive the kudos they deserve. Once again, I would like to thank them all, and I hope some of their favorites become favorites at your house, too!
Ellen-Marie's Famous Pinwheels – Ellen-Marie Knehans
Ann's Peanut Butter Balls – Michelle Melvin
Lucy's Pineapple Squares – Kathy Kaminski
Whoopie Pies – Nancy Foust
Real Good (Unbaked) Cookies – Jeanne Schutts
Helen Lou's Drop Chocolate Cookies – Margaret F. Johnson
Scotcheroos – Jessica Faust
Holiday Tizzies – James Ashcraft
Holiday Nut Drops – Elaine Faber
Pizzelles – Roberta Daniels
Gingersnaps – Helena Georgette Mann
Forgotten Cookies – Kitty Free
Recently, the Pensey's Spices holiday catalog showed up. I noticed that my mom had it open to a specific page. Hmm, that was a hint. Every time I walked into her kitchen, there it was staring me in the face – Almond Butter Cookies. And then I noticed that almond extract showed up (most mysteriously) on my grocery list! Hmm, Santa at work already?
There was only one solution. Bake the cookies. They turned out great! The first batch (minus one cookie for the baker to try) went straight to my mom. The cookies are unbelievably buttery in a good way. If you're big on shortbread and and almond flavoring, you'll love these. While it's not unusual to roll cookies in sugar, I don't recall adding salt to the sugar before. It's a really nice touch! I used pink salt, but almost any fine salt would do.
This is a recipe that would be wonderful for a novice baker because it's very easy. In fact, I think kids would love to help roll the dough into balls and then roll them in the sugar and salt mixture. I think the only place you could go wrong here is overbeating the dough after adding the flour. The recipe specifies "do not overbeat" at that point.
One more great thing about these cookies. You can bake and serve them in less than an hour. Perfect for last minute guests or cookie needs.
Almond Butter Cookies
(From Pensey's Spices catalog. Recipe by Rikki Skopp.)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ( I used 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used pink salt)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar (or 1/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup vanilla sugar)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt (I used 1 teaspoon of pink salt)
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 350. Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the almond extract, vanilla extract, and salt and mix well. Add all the flour at one time. Mix on slow speed until it's just blended. Do not overmix!
Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
Roll into 1-inch balls and then roll each one in the sugar/salt mixture. Place them on the baking sheet and use the bottom of a glass to flatten them slightly. (You'll learn after one or two how much to press down. If the cookies crack, that's too much. Cracked cookies will taste fine, but they're prettier uncracked.)
Bake 12 - 16 minutes or until very lightly brown around the bottom edge.
|Don't overbeat after you add the flour.|
|Press with the bottom of a glass.|
If you're a regular reader, you know that tomorrow is a big day around here! Three of us have books coming out!
Lucy Burdette – DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS
Cleo Coyle – ONCE UPON A GRIND
Krista Davis – THE GHOST AND MRS. MEWER
To celebrate, I've been giving away dog bandanas and catnip toys. Leave a comment here today to enter to win one for your dog or cat! Please specify whether it's for a dog or cat so I can spread the love around!
|In bookstores tomorrow!!!|
|In bookstores now!!!|