The Christmas cookie standards have a place in many people’s hearts and psyche. A beautiful spritz cookie, a green food-colored-corn-flake wreath complete with cinnamon dots, and a cinnamon-y snickerdoodle can evoke warm and happy memories for many of us. The Betty Crocker Cooky Book was a bible to many mid-century home bakers, and the images in this book might look hokey compared to today’s ubiquitous professional food photography, but so endearingly charming.
If you enjoy holiday baking, sometimes it’s fun to break away from tradition and try something new. New memories are important, too! Try modernizing some of your favorite recipes to give new life to old classics.
Now: Dipped Gingersnaps
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-1/2 cups canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Additional sugar
- 2 packages (10 to 12 ounces each) white baking chips
- 1/4 cup shortening
- In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Beat in eggs. Stir in molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
- Shape into 3/4-in. balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until cookie springs back when touched lightly. Remove to wire racks to cool.
- In a microwave, melt chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip cookies halfway into the melted chips; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set.
Then: Melting Moments.
Now: Peppermint Meltaways. Beautify this cookie that can sometimes have a homely appearance with the addition of pretty crushed candy canes. Tip: use disc candies instead of candy canes.
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons 2% milk
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies
- In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. In another bowl, whisk flour and cornstarch; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes or until firm enough to handle.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in milk, extract and, if desired, food coloring. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread over cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container.
Then: Spritz Cookies.
Now: Spritz Nutella Sandwich Cookies.
- 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2/3 cup Nutella
- Gold pearl dust
- Preheat oven to 375°. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, milk and extracts. In a separate bowl, whisk flour and baking powder; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
- Using a cookie press fitted with a Christmas tree disk, press dough 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake until set (do not brown), 8-10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- Spread Nutella on the bottoms of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies. Brush tops with pearl dust. Store in an airtight container.
Gingerbread men (and women too, dammit!) certainly fall under the “traditional” Christmas cookie umbrella. But how about if we think out of the box a little bit in terms of how they are decorated? Here’s some inspo on how to modernize your Gingerperson or GingerReindeer!
images via tasteofhome, pinterest, brewinghappiness