"Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one'."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's the Hap - Happiest Season!

We're in the midst of the most wonderful season of all, and one of my favorite days is just around the corner.  Christmas Cookie Delivery Day!

Christmas cookies are a delish way to let someone know you're thankful for their presence in your life.  We take trays of treats to our neighbors, close friends and family, our beloved pediatrician... last year we gave a plate to the mailman and our milkman just to say, "Thanks and Merry Christmas to ya!" 

There's something very special about a homemade tray of goodies around the holidays... knowing that someone lovingly prepared them in their kitchen with you in mind.  Some of my earliest memories of my mom are in the kitchen at Christmas, watching her "fudge" the pistachio fingers and drizzle loaves of cranberry poppyseed bread with to-die-for orange icing, to take around to all our Emporia friends and neighbors.  I haven't nailed down the bread recipe yet but we're working on it.  :) 

I've made all of these recipes multiple times--they're tried and true and dear to my heart.  None are overly time-consuming, aside from the gingerbread men which I've decided to forgo this year in favor of extra sugar cookies.  I make all the doughs ahead of time and pop them in the freezer, and do all the baking the day before Delivery Day (using parchment paper to avoid all the pan-scrubbing).

Ina Garten's Jam Thumbprints (Mom's favorite)
Paula Deen's Ginger Cookies
Paula Deen's White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies
Charlotte's Caramels (If you've never made candy before, this is a delicious way to start.)
Traditional Gingerbread People (I made these two years in a row--totally yummy but a little time-consuming, might still make them with the girls, but not for delivery day.)

And I'll share a couple of our family recipes with you too...

Mom's Christmas Pistachio Fingers
You'll Need:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 oz (1 brick) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 small package pistachio pudding
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 jar hot fudge ice cream topping
Combine sugar, butter, and cream cheese in mixer; mix until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla.  Combine remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add gradually to mixer.  Stick dough in the fridge for at least an hour.  Grease a cookie sheet (or use parchment paper) and shape dough into  1 1/2 inch fingers.  Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes.  Cool and drizzle with warmed fudge.  At this point, I stick them in the freezer because otherwise it's impossible to get them on delivery plates in an attractive manner--freezing solidifies the fudge and makes them easy to work with.

Mom's Famous Sugar Cookies
You'll Need:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
Combine butter and sugar in mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs.  Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl and add gradually to mixer.  Add sour cream and vanilla last and mix well.  (Big recipe--use a big bowl!!)  At this point you could do one of two things: form into balls immediately and bake for 10-12 minutes at 375, or stick in the fridge and get the dough nice and cold for rolling out into Christmas shapes.  I'm trying this frosting recipe this year but I'm open to other ideas if you have a favorite--I'm looking for the perfect sugar cookie frosting that dries hard, stays nice and shiny, and tastes delicious. 

Merry Christmas-cookies from my kitchen to yours!!
Christmas Cookie Update:
Done and plated!  The girls "helped" (don't worry, saving the ones they made for Santa Claus).  Didn't end up doing the caramels...well, actually I did make the caramels, but the recipe flopped (must have been the weather, I've made those caramels 10 times with no problems) and I didn't have the heart to start over.

Here's the Sugar Cookie Glaze I ended up using.

Here are some pictures of the finished products:


  1. I can confirm that these are ALL delicious options! :)Linz

  2. yum, yum, and did I say "YUM!"?

  3. Looks wonderful! You are so sweet to share the recipes. Merry Christmas to you & your family!