Christmas Cookies

Every year my mom would bake sugar cookies to bring to our elementary class parties and to give away to friends.  I remember her sitting at the table, spending hours elaborately decorating the cookies.  The last couple of years I have been baking and decorating my own sugar cookies.  They aren’t even close to as pretty as moms but with some practice maybe I will catch up!  This year I used a Michigan cookie cutter for some of the cookies and it was a big hit!

I also made walnut balls and the best ginger cookies ever.  See below photo for the recipes!  Both recipes are from Real Simple magazine.

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Makes 36 cookies

Hands-on Time: 25m

Total Time: 1hr 00m

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated or coarse decorating sugar

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves; set aside.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, then the molasses and oil.

3. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined (do not overmix).

4. Place the granulated sugar on a plate. Shape the dough into balls (about 2 tablespoons each) and, a few at a time, roll in the sugar to coat. Place 3 inches apart on baking sheets.

5. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges are firm but the centers are still slightly soft, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tip:  These cookies can be kept at room temperature, between sheets of wax paper or parchment in an airtight container, for about 5 days.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Calories 184; Fat 7g; Sat Fat 3g; Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 135mg; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 29g; Sugar 17g; Fiber 0g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 27mg

Walnut Balls

Makes 36 cookies

Hands-on Time: 25m

Total Time: 1hr 20m

Ingredients

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool. In a food processor, process the walnuts until finely ground.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the ground walnuts, flour, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and ⅓ cup of the sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.

4. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined (do not overmix).

5. Shape the dough into balls (about 1 tablespoon each) and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

6. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until just beginning to brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

7. Place the remaining ⅓ cup of sugar on a plate. A few at a time, roll the cookies in the sugar to coat, then dust with additional                     cinnamon.

Tip:  These cookies can be kept at room temperature, between sheets of wax paper or parchment in an airtight container, for about  3 days.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Calories 115; Fat 9g; Sat Fat 4g; Cholesterol 13mg; Sodium 54mg; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 8g; Sugar 2g; Fiber 1g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 9mg

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