Baking Christmas & Holiday Cookies
Traditions & Memories
No matter how diverse our holiday rituals, baking is a time-honored tradition that creates lifelong memories. Think back to your childhood–what do you remember most about holidays? Chances are, at least part of those memories revolve around food–eating it or the time spent making it with your loved ones.
Enjoy those traditions and consider making some new ones. Set aside time to hang out with your favorite people. Bake together. Eat together. Sip some eggnog. Laugh. Gathering for a day of baking will create the kinds of experiences and memories that just can’t be bought. Plus, your home will be filled with the familiar aromas of holidays past.
Planning the Day
Just a little pre-planning is all it takes to make your day stress-free. Here are a few things to consider:
- Choose your recipes. Include the must-make favorites but consider adding something new.
- Determine your space. Don’t invite 20 people if you have room for 5.
- Establish who will be helping. If there will be kids, do you need to include simpler recipes?
- Consider groceries. Will you be footing the bill or will your helpers contribute?
- Clean-up. PLEASE let people help. Shouldering the aftermath by yourself can turn a fantastic day into a bad memory.
Remember, things don’t have to go perfectly. Keep in mind… those little mishaps might be the fondest memories of the day.
Try this for fun. Make the recipe below as directed, but before you pop them into the oven, poke a small hole near the top of the cookies. After they’re baked and cooled, attach a ribbon for hanging.
Preserve Your Baking Memories
For a wonderful way to preserve your favorite recipes along with the memories you make while baking them, start a journal. Try a preprinted one made specifically for this purpose or simply jot down the recipes and memories in a spiral-bound notebook.
You’ll never regret the memories you make with loved ones. So gather your people for a day of fun.
Stained Glass Cut-Outs
INGREDIENTS (Makes 2 dozen)
1 C. unsalted butter, softened
¾ C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
2½ C. flour, plus more for rolling
Small hard candies such as Life Savers or candy canes, crushed
Cream the butter in a mixing bowl on medium speed and gradually beat in the sugar. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and salt until well mixed. Stir in the flour, ⅓ at a time, until incorporated. Divide the dough in half, flatten, wrap in plastic, and chill overnight.
Once the dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray; set aside.
Remove one chilled dough portion from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface; let stand 10 minutes to soften slightly. Lightly flour the dough, cover with a sheet of waxed paper, and roll to ¼-inch thickness. Remove the paper and use a cookie cutter to cut shapes from the dough; transfer to the prepped cookie sheets. Remove the centers of the cookies using a smaller cookie cutter. Reroll scraps and repeat.
Fill the cut-out part of each cookie with some crushed candy (make sure to get all those nooks and crannies filled too) and bake for 10 minutes, until the edges start to brown and the candy is melted. Cool at least 10 minutes then transfer to cooling racks covered with waxed paper. Repeat with remaining chilled dough.
Store cookies on waxed paper to prevent the candy from sticking.
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