Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Cookies!

I may have mentioned before that I have been baking Christmas cookies with my friend Laura since we were in high school. That's a long time--I won't say how many years! We have found a mix of cookies that we like and that we think go well together--this is what we make every year with new ones coming and going occasionally.


Oh, wait!


I forgot one of the cookies! The ones in the back that look like snowballs are called Sandies, also known as Russian Tea Cakes. The green trees and red poinsettias are Spritz, the rolled cookies in the front right are Laura's Bachan's Christmas Cookies, Almond Crescents are the ones with the colorful sprinkles and Butterhorns are in the center.

I thought I would start with the Butterhorns recipe with some updates, since I had already posted it once and thought I could get it out pretty fast. Turns out I need to get back into my blogging mode again--everything is taking a lot longer than I expected! I will be posting the other recipes in the coming days--except for Bachan's Christmas Cookies, they are Laura's family's secret recipe and I respect that. The other recipes are readily found online if you need them right away.


Butterhorns are my family's favorite cookie. You might remember my son-in-law Mitchell wanted to make them for table favors for his and Karen's wedding. More details are on my Butterhorns! post.

Laura is a much better baker than I, and she prefers the cookie dough be cut by hand instead of using the food processor, and divided into 4 balls instead of 5. She thinks the dough is flakier when cut by hand and when the dough is divided into 5 balls, the cookies are too small. I always trust Laura when it comes to baking, that's why the directions are a little different than those on the Butterhorns! post.

Butterhorns

Ingredients: 

Dough
2 cups flour
1/2 lb. butter
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup sour cream

Filling
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1. Measure 2 cups flour and 1 cup butter into a large bowl. Cut butter and flour together until well-combined and butter is evenly cut into the flour.
2. Add 1 egg yolk and 3/4 cup sour cream. Combine gently with a fork until dough is mixed well.
3. Divide dough into 4 balls, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
4. Chop 3/4 cup pecans into small pieces and mix with 3/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. 
5. Take dough out of refrigerator, sprinkle a little flour on the dough ball and roll into about an 11 inch circle, using waxed paper on the top and bottom, flipping occasionally and sprinkling more flour as needed.
6. Spread about 3-4 tablespoons of the sugar-pecan-cinnamon filling on top of the rolled-out dough and spread it evenly almost to the edge of the dough. Cut into 12 even wedges, and roll, starting with the large end and ending with the point. Tuck the point under the roll, shape into a crescent and place on cookie sheet.
7. Bake at 375ºF for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.


***

This year, Laura and I had a lot of helpers and that made this year the most fun and the baking went fast!

Rick is becoming an expert at making Spritz.


This was Jessica's first time baking with us! Sometimes when I edit photos I see Rick in the background. He makes me laugh.


I was so happy Keith was visiting from New York and was able to come over to bake! I was just about doing The Happy Dance all over the kitchen when Keith walked through the door. He's a special one!


Keith's sister Lauren is a special one too. Since I saw her last she has traveled Europe, learned to make French macarons, painted her house and is working on the special effects for a new movie.

Hmmm...Maybe Lauren will be a Guest Blogger and make macarons for FOODjimoto someday...

Right now she is working on the Christmas Cookies. Lauren has retired from her photography business--I could use some tips from her. If you look closely at the photo, you can see that her hand is in clear focus, but her face is not. I like it when my face is in soft focus.


All day the kitchen was bustling with activity.

Here, they are dipping the Almond Crescents in chocolate and then dipping them in sprinkles--they're a lot of fun to make. Keith and Lauren are fun to be around. Looking at the photo below makes me want to laugh and hug them.

Rick and Keith both have my heart--they are helping to keep up with all the dishes without being asked! It was the funniest thing--I heard Keith ask Rick while wiping a utensil, "Where does this go?" Rick replied, "If you don't know where it goes that means you don't do dishes here often enough..."

We all had to laugh because that's what Keith's grandma used to say to me through the years when I baked cookies or ate at her house years ago, and that's what the kids have grown up hearing. Keith said that's what he says when friends do dishes at his house. I love that.

We had such a nice day baking together. It was "ii kimochi"--a warm, wonderful feeling. Next year I hope my daughter Karen will be able to join us as well as Laura's sister Cherie.

Laura and I have been friends since childhood. It's comforting to have a friend like her--a friend I can count on through good times and sad. Thank you, Laura, for always being there for me and for sharing your wonderful children!

Next time, let's be sure to take a photo together at the beginning of the day instead of the end of the day when I'm all tired-out. Like I said, I like it when I'm a little out-of-focus.

6 comments:

  1. Keith brought some of these goodies back to Brooklyn with him. DELICIOUS as they are lovely to look at. Thank you all!

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    Replies
    1. You are very welcome, Emily. I hope you will be able to bake with us too!

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