Monday, December 10, 2012

Baking Christmas Cookies - Our Family Tradition

This past weekend my daughter, Andrea, planted herself in the kitchen the entire weekend baking cookies.  Making cookies for Christmas has become a tradition in our home for over the past 10 years.  Usually my daughter and I bake together from sun up to sun down one full weekend around mid-December.  This year was an exception because I was not able to join her the majority of the time.  Andrea had to essentially do it solo.  Thank goodness she has baked along side me in previous years, enjoys baking, and is excellent at it.  Since I've been working in the sewing studio playing catch up, I could not partner with her for our annual baking marathon.  Abandoning the project came to mind, but because co-workers and friends have grown accustomed to our delightful baked goods, it was difficult to think about disappointing them.  Andrea carried on without hesitation--she's amazing, and a trooper!  (Thank you sweetie!)  I did manage to contribute to baking one of the recipes. 

Here's a list of what she baked:  Baklava, Christmas Wreaths, Chocolate Mint Brownies, Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Covered Cracker Snacks, and Holiday Biscotti.  I baked the Dulce de Leche cookies.

Here are the cookies - some just placed in a container and others waiting to be packaged -

The Chocolate Covered Cracker Snacks -

The Baklava - 

The Dulce de Leche cookies - 

and the Christmas Wreaths - 

Each year we usually bake a lot of our friends' favorites from previous years but always introduce a new recipe or two.  This year Andrea introduced the Chocolate Mint brownies and the Holiday Biscotti.

I thought I'd share one of the favorites, which is the Dulce de Leche cookie recipe from the December 2007/January 2008 issue of Sweet Ideas - a Pillsbury cookbook that I had picked up while waiting in line at the grocery store that year.  So here it is:

                                                       Dulce de Leche Cookies

     1 cup flaked coconut

    1 cup butter, softened
    2/3 cup sugar
    2 egg yolks
    3 Tbs. dark rum or 1/2 tsp. rum extract plus 2 1/2 Tbs water
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/4 tsp. salt
     1/4 cup sugar

    1 cup caramel apple dip (from 16 oz. container)


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread coconut in ungreased shallow pan.  Bake uncovered 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  Turn off oven.  In food processor bowl with metal blade, place cooled coconut.  Cover; process until ground.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth.  Add egg yolks, rum and vanilla.  On high speed, beat about 1 minute or until blended.

In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until well blended.  Cover:  refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls.  Place on ungreased nonstick (not insulated) cookie sheets.  (I USED INSULATED AND THEY WORKED OUT PERFECTLY??)  Place balls 2 inches apart.  Dip bottom of small glass into 1/4 cup sugar; press on cookies to make about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Bake 10 to 11 minutes or just until edges begin to brown.  Remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack.  Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

For each sandwich cookie, spread about 1 tsp. of the caramel dip on bottom of 1 cookie, spreading to edge of cookie.  Top with second cookie.  Gently squeeze until filling oozes out a little around the side.  Roll edges of cookies in ground coconut.
Prep time:  1 hour, 15 minutes; start to finish: 1 hour, 45 minutes.  Makes approximately 40 cookies/20 sandwich cookies, depending on the size rolled.

If anyone is interested in trying other recipes listed, I would be happy to share.  You won't be disappointed!

Enjoy yourselves amidst the hustle and bustle, especially with family!

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