Christmas Traditions: Time to Bake the Cookies!

For the last several years I wrote about our Christmas cookie baking days and the posts were hits with our friends.  You can read the previous posts by clicking 2014, 2015, or 2016.  Notice that this post is going up after Christmas.  I thought about writing about the cookies, then decided I had written about it enough.  But several people mentioned they were looking forward to the post and wanted to know what we baked this year.  So, in keeping with Christmas traditions, here is this year’s post on baking Christmas cookies.

My sister, Julia, called me in November to let me know she was taking Fridays off in December.  Specifically, she wanted to be sure I scheduled cookie baking for one of those December Fridays.  No problem – happy to have more help baking!  She brought two batches of dough already mixed to our first cookie baking day.  The first batch were Peanut Butter Blossoms, although not our traditional recipe.  She mixed up peanut butter cookies, coated them in sugar, and then we put a Hershey’s kiss in the center.  They looked like the traditional cookies, but they were moister with a little more peanut butter flavor.  Even better than my recipe – using this one from now on.

The second batch of cookies was for Ginger Snaps.  Julia said they were just like Grandma Clymer’s Ginger Cookies but they didn’t taste the same to me.  I am really picky about those particular cookies because they are one of my dad’s favorites.  They were good, just different.

We mixed up a double batch of the Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies but something happened along the way.  I’m not sure if they turned out wrong because I forgot an ingredient while I was mixing them up or because some of our ingredients were different brands.  We used fair trade cocoa and unsalted butter.  The cookies looked right but they didn’t taste right.  Mom mixed up another batch on her own and they turned out fine.  Tom and John were happy to get their favorite cookie.

Jackie asked for a new cookie this year so we made Strawberry Cream Cookies from Taste of Home for her.  They were very good:  not as sweet as our other cookies with an almost shortcake taste.  They had a dollop of strawberry jam in the center and we could have used a little bit bigger holes.  It was hard to get the strawberry jam in them.  But this is a very good, easy recipe and I’m sure I will make it again.

I brought a new brownie recipe.  I’m always in search of the perfect brownie, and I might have found it this year.  I used the Triple Chocolate Brownie recipe from Brownies, Blondies and Bars.  The brownie batter was so rich I decided against using the ganache frosting.  The brownies were fudgey, moist, and delicious.  We only needed a bite to satisfy our chocolate cravings.

Our final recipe for the first day of baking was Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls.  I know that isn’t a cookie, but the recipe makes so many that I wanted to make them when I could give most of them away.  I sent a pan of them home with Julia, left a pan with Mom and Dad, took a pan to John and Jackie, and brought a pan home for Tom and me.  And these were 9 x 13 pans.  Cinnamon rolls are always best fresh out of the oven, so we all tried one immediately and then saved the rest for later.

Six recipes on our first baking day.  We were tired when everything was done.  Of course, cookie baking isn’t over until the dishes are done, so that was included in the baking.  Mom made chocolate chips, marble squares and  “doggie treats” on her own, although she always generously shares these.  Some of these recipes themselves are family Christmas traditions because we only make them at Christmas.

Last week Mom and I got together to bake a couple more recipes.  We made a batch of Grandma Clymer’s Ginger Cookies and they turned out perfectly.  I love how chewy and tasty they are.  I only make them at Christmas because otherwise I would eat them all the time.

Our final recipe for this year was the Brown Butter Oatmeal Raisin Bars from the Brownies, Blondies and Bars cookbook.  I love oatmeal raisin cookies and the brown butter gives these a caramel flavor that is delicious.  They also have a cream cheese frosting and this time I added the frosting.  Tom and my mom aren’t big fans of raisins but both of them agreed the bars were very good.  I loved them and will certainly make them again.  Bars are good for RV living because you don’t have to have cooling racks all over.

We enjoyed our Christmas traditions of baking cookies together.  I tried to talk Mom into one or two more recipes but she was adamant that we had enough cookies.  When the family got together at Christmas we enjoyed one more of our many Christmas traditions – eating all the Christmas cookies down to the crumbs!

  • Brenda Ferguson

    After reading all about your baking & great recipes, think I’ll head to the kitchen & see what’s left in our cookie containers:). The strawberry creams sounded so good!

    • revkaren54

      What did you bake this year? I love all the different kinds of cookies people bake together.

  • Brenda Ferguson

    Ricotta cheese cookies – a favorite, nut crescents, some of the same old-fashioned ones I do every year:)…so many share their supply w/us & with getting ready to lv, we were giving them away!

    • revkaren54

      Sounds delicious!