Dainty Holiday Cookies

Dainty Holiday Cookies
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When I was younger I helped an older friend of mine to make cookies for the holidays. I had always baked traditional oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies since I was a child, but her delicate cookies impressed me with their elegance. She served them with tea, and boxed them up for guests to take home. It made each guest feel important and special. Unfortunately I did not get her recipes, but through the years I have gathered these that are reminiscent of those dainty festive cookies.

Almond Crescents


1 1/4 cups unblanched almonds

1 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups sifted flour

granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind almonds fine. Cream butter and sugar together. Stir in ground almonds, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Lightly grease baking sheets. Break off walnut size pieces of dough and roll into sticks 1/2 inch thick. Bend sticks into little crescent shapes. Place on prepared cookie sheets. leaving 1/2 inch or so between crescents. Bake 15-20 minutes until cookies are dry but not brown. Cool slightly and roll each cookie in granulated sugar. Makes about 36. Nesting Star Cookie Cutters (Set of 6)

Cinnamon Stars


2 1/2 cups blanched almonds

1 lemon

1/3 cup room temperature egg whites 2-3

pinch of salt

3 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 250 degrees. Butter and flour baking sheets. Grind almonds to a powder. Grate 1 1/2 tsp. zest from the lemon and squeeze about 2 tsp. juice. Beat eggs whites and salt until foamy. Add 1/8 tsp. lemon juice and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 3 cups sugar and continue beating until whites form stiff peaks. Save 1/2 cup of this mixture. Stir almonds, cinnamon and zest into remaining whites. Gradually knead in up to 2/3 cup sugar to make a manageable dough. Sprinkle work surface with more sugar. Roll to 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2 inch star shaped cookie cutter, stamp out cookies. Gather and reroll dough until it all has been used. Place on cookie sheets spacing 1 1/4 inches apart. Gradually stir up to 2 tsp. lemon juice into reserved egg-white mixture to make it spreadable. Spread a thin layer of icing on each star. Add more juice if icing starts to dry out. Bake cookies until they are beginning to brown and are crisp, but chewy, 20-30 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes about 50 cookies.

Candy Cane Cookies


1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. red food coloring

1/3 cup finely crushed peppermint candy

1/3 cup sugar

Cream shortening and butter in a large bowl until fluffy; add the next 6 ingredients and mix well. Divide dough in half; add food coloring to one portion, mixing well. On a lightly floured surface roll a tsp. of each dough into a 4 1/4 inch rope. Place ropes side by side, and carefully twist together; curve one end down to resemble a cane. Repeat with remaining dough. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 9 minutes or just until edges begin to brown. Combine candy and sugar; mix well. Remove cookies from pans while warm and coat with candy mixture. Makes about 4 dozen.

Snowflake Cookies


2 sticks, 1 cup, unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

mini nonpareil decorating candies

Spritz-cookie gun with tips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until blended. With mixer on low speed, beat in flour until blended. Spoon dough into cookie gun. Press cookies out on lightly greased cookie sheets (follow directions on Spritz gun for best results). Place a candy in the center of each cookie. Bake 8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 80 cookies.



1 cup butter

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 cup crushed pecans, or finely chopped

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt butter until light brown in color (be careful not to scorch). Pour into a small mixing bowl; chill until firm. Cream browned butter with sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour until blended. Stir in pecans. Chill several hours for ease in handling. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes. Remove to wire racks. While still hot, roll in confectioners' sugar.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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