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Christmas Cookies 2016

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I haven’t written a post since school started, but have written many many in my head. I’ll admit I’m pretty sad to have not kept up or written about things like Tabby’s birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, goings on in the coop (depletion), a statement about the lack of Garden Review (we didn’t do one this year), and more. Do I do a post for each of those things? One giant wrap up? Nothing? Yesterday was our annual Christmas cookie party and one of the guests remarked how she likes to read the post about it each year. Well here it is the morning after and you know what? That seems as good a place as any to start. So……

Paul made two kinds of cookies this year, both recipes (I think) that he got from Mary Berry, as we are fans of the Great British Bake Off. I swear the one cookie was like being in a technical challenge and missing instructions. The chocolatey minty “dough” had a delicious taste but was so much like crumbly sand it couldn’t stick together. Eventually he added a couple eggs to make it a wet dough and shaped them up into balls with a depression in the middle. He topped them some melted chocolate and a crushed candy cane garnish. They were delicious. The other cookie? ehhhhh It was meant to look like a little Victoria sandwich and there were some issues with size and so on. A plain sandy biscuit (so dry it sucked all the moisture out of your mouth immediately) sandwiched with jam and buttercream frosting. He just called them a sweet mess.
I made a new-to-me recipe from this month’s Family Circle. It was a pinwheel cookie made from a basic sugar cookie dough. One half was dyed and flavored with lime zest, the other half was flavored with coconut extract. They were rolled up and the log rolled in sparkling green sugar. The only problem there was getting the sugar to stick as I’d floured my surface so well. That said, check out how it looked when I sliced into the log:
Beautiful! Perfect! I couldn’t believe it.

They baked up beautifully.  I was apprehensive about the flavor (I thought the coconut extract scent was very strong) but it was quite good. A crispier cookie than I would have liked, but quite good.

For savory I made the now traditional cheese ball, as well as a warm broccoli cheese dip. I’m glad I made a double recipe of that because people hoovered it up. All browned and bubbly and cheesy, I highly recommend this recipe for an appetizer. Here’s the original recipe:
1 c finely chopped broccoli
2 T finely chopped onion
2 T finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 c grated parmesan
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 c sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c mayonnaise
pinch black pepper.
Mix everything up (do the creamy stuff separate and fold in.) Spread in a baking dish, sprinkle more parmesan over the top and bake at 375 until browned and bubbly. I include plain Greek yogurt in the mix-either a combo of all 3, or a substitution for the mayo or sour cream.

This year’s party featured some very festive Christmassy entries. It seemed like everyone was gunning for the “Most Christmassy” or “Best Looking” prize (The grand prize is the overall best cookie. One you want to eat a lot of.)

There were:
Christmas Wreaths: Wreaths made of cereal and gooey marshmallow, these were extra festive and Christmassy.
Christmas Presents: Bright red and green checkerboard sugar cookies with a candy bow. Beautiful presentation!

Snowmen: Darling! two thick circles of sugar cookie, decorated to be snowmen.
Salted Peanut Butter: Apparently this cookie only has something like 3 ingredients in it (peanut butter, sugar, eggs??) It had a great flavor.
Molasses Pumpkin Pecan: I love a molasses crinkle or a soft molasses cookie and this cookie was the exact right texture. Nice and soft and with lovely lumps of pecan. I must get the recipe from ML!
Millionaire’s Shortbread: a delicious 3 layer bar cookie of shortbread, caramel, and ganache.
Cocoa Crinkles: The baker of this cookie said she was going for appearance not taste, and even said “#notgonnawin”. She was correct and we agreed the flavor was….off.
Buckeyes: The classic peanut butter-confectioner sugar-dipped in chocolate confection. This was never anything we made at my house growing up, but something I always liked to have at other people’s Christmas things, so I was really happy to see it this year!

The Christmas presents won for best looking and the Wreaths won for Most Christmassy. The overall, Grand Prize winner was……Millionaire’s Shortbread! The winner will donate the $80 to a Kidney Foundation, which she she had seen at work this year and all they did, when her sister-in-law received a kidney transplant from her brother. So, well done bakers and charitable givers!


Merry Christmas to all!


About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

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