Annual Christmas Cookie Post 2022

It is time for the annual wrap-ups, lists and looking back over the past year.  All the posts this week will be posts that I write every year, with the appropriate updates.  First up, the annual Christmas Cookie post.

I was very disciplined and restrained last year as I tried to get used to having Metabolic Syndrome and limiting my carbs.  This year I am a little looser, although I still need to be careful.  I ended up losing, and keeping off, 25 unwanted pounds and my bloodwork for my annual physical was the best it has been in a long time.  Blood pressure down, cholesterol down, and A1C down.  As much as I love baking Christmas cookies, I don’t want to mess that up.

White Chip Chocolate Cookies

I started my Christmas cookie baking by baking for church.  The Lewis Center United Methodist Women have a big Christmas Cookie fundraiser every year.  Volunteers bake 10 dozen cookies and then the various cookies are assembled on trays and sold.  The Christmas cookie fundraiser usually raises several thousand dollars for the group.  I volunteered to make White Chip Chocolate Cookies.  They gave me the recipe to follow with very detailed instructions.  I was not to substitute anything, make a trial batch, and bake exactly as directed.  They even included a circle so I could measure the cookies and be sure they were big enough.

I made the trial batch and they turned out very well.  Tom liked them almost as much as his favorite chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips.  I gave some to Mom and Dad and Tom ate the rest.  When I made the triple batch for church, almost all the cookies got packed up and taken to church the next day.  Temptation was limited and out of the way quickly.

Fanny Farmer Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I love oatmeal raisin cookies and wanted to make some at Slate Run Living History Farm on a day we were working.  Unfortunately, there were always too many more pressing things to take care of:  peeling apples for apple butter, preparing tomatoes for canning, or using up the last of the pears.  I gave up and made the oatmeal raisin cookies at home and took them in to the Farm.  I used this period-appropriate recipe from Fanny Farmer’s cookbook.

The double batch of cookies I made were delicious:  chewy and soft with that wonderful brown sugar, raisin, oatmeal blend of flavors.  I took some in to the Farm the day after I made them and they were a big hit.  Even Tom liked them and he usually turns up his nose at cookies that don’t have chocolate.  I ate a couple and then put the rest of the batch in the freezer.  On our last day at the Farm (more on that in a future post) I took in the rest of the cookies in the freezer.  The farmers started eating them in the morning and they were gone by the time we left.  Obviously a hit.

Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Mom, my sister Julia, and I got together for a cookie baking day.  We made three traditional favorites, which I have mentioned before.  Reese’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips are the ones always requested by Tom and John.  The first batch of them, baked with Mom and Julia, were gone so quickly that John didn’t get any.  I made another batch a few days later and made sure Tom and John each had their own separate allotment of cookies.

Ginger Cookies

We also made Peanut Butter Blossoms and Ginger Cookies.  The Ginger cookie recipe is almost exactly like one that I found in the Farm cookbook, so I took several dozen cookies in to the Farm.  Again, they were very popular and most of them were gone.  I did, however, take some leftovers home.  The Ginger cookies are my favorite so I don’t want to have a lot of them around tempting me.

Baking with Mom and Julia

Julia also likes to limit sugar in her diet and she is a lot more adventurous than I am.  She made some soft pumpkin cookies using the sugar substitute Allulose.  The cookies were very good and not too pumpkiny, which I appreciated.  Julia also added a cream cheese/ yogurt frosting which made the cookies look beautiful.  Julia limits sugar because it eases her arthritis pain.  No sugar = no pain for her, so it is worth the sacrifice.

I tried using Allulose in the Taste of Home Strawberry Cream Cookies that I bake for Jackie every year.  Allulose recommends that you use 1.25 cups of Allulose for every cup of sugar.  Even though I followed that guideline, the cookies were not as good as they usually are.  But they were for Jackie, and she said they were good.  She also appreciated that they were sugar-free.

In addition to these cookies, I also made a triple batch of Spritz cookies.  My friend Chris gave me the King Arthur Baking Company Essential Cookie Companion book for my birthday.  It is an encyclopedia of cookie recipes – if you can’t find it in this book, the cookie hasn’t been invented yet!  The book had three different recipes for molded cookies and suggested using any of them in a cookie press.  I decided to try all three since they didn’t make a lot of cookies.

Raspberry and Vanilla Spritz cookies

The plain vanilla recipe turned out looking and tasting like Spritz cookies.  They are a little dry but have that crisp buttery flavor I love in a good Spritz cookie.  The second recipe substituted a Jello mix for the sugar.  They suggested using raspberry or strawberry.  I picked raspberry because I thought it would be redder.  Are they ever!  They look unnaturally red!  The raspberry flavor is so strong that it almost makes you pucker up.  The cookies also spread out a little more than I would like, so they were flat crisps.

Chocolate Spritz

The last recipe was a chocolate Spritz.  These turned out very well with cocoa powder substituting for some of the flour.  I had a lot of fun trying the different designs of my cookie press.  I especially liked the look of the cookies when the different colors of dough blended together.  The Cookie Companion also suggested that you can use any molded cookie recipe in your cookie press.  That opens all kinds of possibilities for next year.

I will probably bake a couple more kinds of Christmas cookie before the end of the year.  Cookies are so much fun and I can usually limit myself to one bit of deliciousness at a time.  I don’t feel guilty about baking or eating too much and I enjoy sharing what I have baked with others.