Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 - Dec. 8 Cookies

Christmas cookies have been a large part of my childhood Christmas traditions, in fact, I included a few of my favorites in the December 2nd Advent Calendar under the Holiday Food category. Considered a major part of the Holiday Food Pyramid, it might be sacrilegious not to share a couple of our traditional Christmas cookies.

Sugar cookie cut-outs not withstanding, a staple in our family Christmas cookie jar were the cornflake cherry dot cookies. All the rage during the 1960s, I believe these were my sister Michelle's favorite:

2-1/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup finely chopped, pitted dates
1/3 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries
2-2/3 cups crushed corn flakes cereal (crushed to make 1-1/3 cups)
15 maraschino cherries, cut into quarters

In mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In large electric mixing bowl, beat butter or margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs. Beat well. Stir in milk and vanilla. Add flour mixture, combining thoroughly. Stir in nuts, dates and the 1/3 cup finely chopped cherries.

Portion dough using a level tablespoon. Shape into balls. Roll in crushed corn flakes. Place on greased cookie sheet 2-inches apart. Top each cookie with a cherry quarter.

Bake at 350 degrees about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove immediately from baking sheets and cool on wire racks. Store in airtight container.

Pecan Sandies are another favorite that I looked forward to at Christmas time. I've tried substituting margarine for the butter resulting in a 'grade' of C-

1 cup butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. water
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugar; add 2 tsp. water and vanilla; mix well. Blend in flour and nuts; chill 4 hours. Shape in balls or fingers. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 325 degrees about 20 minutes. Remove from pan; cool slightly; roll in confectioners' sugar.

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