Top 10 Ready-for-Christmas cookies

Thirty-eight days ’til Christmas.  The baking countdown is on!  Each year I am determined to make an abundance of holiday cookies and each year, days before the big day, I am madly rolling and baking so Santa won’t be disappointed (not that he or we need any more).  I often said I would start baking months ahead of time and freeze the cookies, but this has never happened.  Now I have no excuse.

I have listed some guidelines for freezing cookies at this  blog’s end, so you can’t say, “Hey, I can’t start early because I don’t know how to freeze”.  I will share one cookie recipe for each of the next 10 days.  Truthfully, I knew if I planned this post it would force me to make my Christmas cookies ahead of time, this time.  I also have to admit I have an ulterior motive for freezing cookies as I currently don’t own a freezer.  Years ago, I asked for a freezer for Christmas.   I had gone years without a stand alone freezer and I was SO tired of my hubby complaining about me buying too many freezer goods to fit in our fridge during weekly grocery shopping.  Remember, he has that OCD thing, so it goes without saying his packing the freezer ranks high amongst his organizational frustrations (loading the dishwasher is his main issue).  Then, one magic Christmas, I was genuinely thrilled to receive a small photo of a freezer in an envelope left by Santa under the tree.   Since Santa was so busy, however, that freezer was to be delivered by elves on a morning a few days later.  Delivery morning came, and the Big Box moving company called to say they were running behind and would be at my home in the afternoon.  An afternoon call then came to postpone delivery until around dinner.  Oh, I could hardly wait to see my new freezer!  At 11.00 pm, freezer-less and sad we went to bed … and then the phone rang.  “We are out in front now with your freezer”.  But my hubby was SO angry by this time, he told the delivery fellows they could keep their frickin’ freezer and he would be asking for a refund.  Now anytime I mention how I would like to own a freezer I get a rather cold look from him.

Boxed Spritz Cookies

Boxed Spritz Cookies

COOKIE #1 : SPRITZ/ a Scandinavian Shortbread

Ingredients

makes about 4 dozen cookies (perfect for freezing)

400g icing sugar

330g butter – softened

320g shortening

10g vanilla

pinch of salt

zest of 1 lemon

6 eggs

150ml milk

500g bread flour – sifted

500g pastry flour – sifted

150g raspberry jam

500g chocolate wafers – melted

Spritz Ingredients

Spritz Ingredients

Pre-heat oven – 350

Line Cookie Sheet with Parchment Paper

Mix icing sugar, butter, shortening, lemon zest in a large bowl until fluffy and pale (can use hand mixer or stand mixer) about 4-5min

Add eggs one at a time – and mix thoroughly after each egg

Add vanilla and mix thoroughly

Add dry ingredients (both sifted flours and salt) to bowl and pour milk over top

Mix on medium speed until soft but firm batter – piping consistency

Place batter in pastry bag fitted with a star tip#5 and pipe rosettes, logs, hearts and S’s

Piped Spritz

Piped Spritz

Backwards S

Backwards S

Bake for 12-15min

Cool on wire rack

Once cooled, now is the fun part – time to decorate

Melt chocolate wafers in microwave or double boiler

Dip your cookies or drizzle chocolate – be creative

Use a zip lock bag and cut very tiny hole in corner and fill with melted chocolate and drizzle chocolate in any design you like

Chocolate dipped Spritz

                                                                                         Chocolate dipped Spritz

You can dollop some of the raspberry jam in the centre of cookie or you can sandwich jam between two cookies (I used the heart shape to sandwich the jam)

Decorated Spritz

Decorated Spritz

Sift icing sugar over cookies for final finish

Jam dollop

Jam dollop

These cookies make an amazing gift – package them in a nice box or tin for a great Christmas Gift, Hostess Gift or Cookie Exchange

Boxed Spritz

Boxed Spritz

Cookie Freezing Tips

A: freezing cookie dough

– do not freeze cookie dough that contains sour cream or cream cheese

– dough that is a bit firmer will freeze better (rolled, cut, drop cookies for example)

to freeze single drop unbaked cookies:

scoop out each drop cookie and place on parchment lined cookie sheet and place entire cookie sheet in freezer/once each cookie is frozen place them in a zip-lock freezer bag and follow below steps

to freeze dough:

chill dough in refrigerator until firm, then shape into a large flatten ball/ double wrap in plastic wrap and then put into a freezer zip-lock bag

– zip bag almost closed and try to get as much air out as possible- leave small opening at end and use a straw to suck out excess air and close quickly: my hubby watched me do this once and thought I had lost my mind/ BUT it really works

– write the type of cookie dough and date on outside package: trust me – you think you will remember but you don’t!

– when ready to bake, let dough defrost in the refrigerator (note- takes several hours)

– dough will keep up to 6 months BUT I like to use within 2 months

B: freezing baked cookies

– a dough that is wet and doesn’t hold shape well on its own is probably best off baked first and then frozen

– baked cookies must be COMPLETELY cooled first

– baked, undecorated cookies:

line an airtight container with wax paper and layer with a single layer of cookies/ follow with another layer of wax paper and another layer of cookies until container is filled/secure lid, label and freeze

– baked and decorated cookies:

line decorated cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet and place entire cookie sheet into freezer/when cookies are frozen follow same steps as above (undecorated cookies)

– to thaw baked cookies , place them in a single layer for 1-2 hours or until completely thawed

– baked cookies will keep in freezer for up to 4-6weeks

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Ready-for-Christmas cookies

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