The End is Near
At least for this round of Christmas cookie baking! I made four different kinds of cookies over the last two days, and only one batch left to go.
Friday I made Chocolate Spritz cookies from an old Land o’Lakes butter ad that dates back to the early 90s. For some reason this year the dough was really stiff and hard to press, but it worked out. These are always tasty with their chocolate-almond combination. When I was little, Mom made a tree cookie like this, but I think it was from a plain dough with ground walnuts mixed in. We often put a cinnamon imperial candy at the top and sprinkled them with red or green sugar. I like using the multi-colored nonpareils on these chocolate ones.
Also Friday were the Triple Chocolate Caramel cookies from Taste of Home. These came out of a ToH cookie book I’ve had for a while and they’re a little bit of work, but well worth it. They’re good and rich and the caramel filling makes a nice touch. I make them smaller than the original recipe calls for – usually getting about 80 cookies out of the batch instead of just 3 dozen. Smaller is better when packing boxes to give away, anyway!
Saturday’s baking was another spritz cookie – Lime Jello Wreaths. This is another variation on a wreath done with Mom, though hers were based on a recipe of my grandmother’s and had almonds in them. I’ve used Grammy’s recipe, and it can be a pain. However, the recipe I used this year also turned out to be a pain! This was another Land o’Lakes butter recipe that I added a pack of lime Jello and some lime zest to. I used the Jello plus enough sugar to make the 2/3 cup called for, but I don’t think they had enough flour. The cookies didn’t want to stick to the pan and they didn’t want to separate from the press, which made the whole process last way longer than it should have! I ended up shaping the last of the dough by hand because I got tired of fiddling around with it, and partway through I forgot to put green sugar on one pan of cookies! Oh well!
Finally, Saturday afternoon I made what my family has always called Lebkuchen. This is a German spice cookie baked around Christmastime that can also include ground nuts, candied fruits, and honey. While our recipe is not traditional German lebkuchen, many of the spices are the same and they are a family favorite – moist and spicy and fruity, with a tart lemon glaze over the top.
And now I’m down to the last stick of butter – at least, the last stick that’s thawed out! I’ve had to keep the butter in a covered dish because certain kitties felt that it was necessary to try to taste-test it if it was left out on the counter. Even a fully closed package still in the outer cardboard was found tipped over with claw marks on it when I first took them out of the freezer! So today I’ll be making one last batch of cookies and probably some nut butters to give as gifts and then I’ll be done!