Christmas Cookies Galore… Take Two

Like I said, last night I baked up a storm. 
I finally have them all organized and packaged.  Some ready to ship… Some ready to hand out… And some ready to just drop on the counter at my parents house tomorrow!  
Oh my did I bake a lot of cookies. 
Let’s just say I’m giving cookies to four families – two of which will serve more than five people. 
Next year, I’ll start baking in July…

Here are the cookies I made last night.

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped (reserve 2 Tablespoons of liquid from cherries)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 drops red food coloring
2 teaspoons shortening
White nonpareils, sprinkles, and/or red edible glitter (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well reserving 2 Tablespoons of cherry liquid for later.
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender (or 2 forks), cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. You could also use a food processor here or use your Kitchen Aid Mixer. Stir in drained and chopped cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped white chocolate. Stir in the 2 Tablespoons reserved cherry liquid, almond extract, and food coloring. Mixture will be very dry and look like crumbs. Don’t worry. That’s normal. Using your hands, knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.
Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. The cookies do not spread much so make sure your balls are well formed. Having slightly damp hands helps here. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Do not overbake! Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. You could also do this in the microwave, melting in 30 second intervals stirring in between. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in sprinkles and/or edible glitter. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. 
 
Spiced Sugar Cookies
 Recipe adapted from McCormick

2 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cookie Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat granulated sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed.

Refrigerate dough 2 hours or overnight until firm.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface* to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into shapes with favorite cookie cutters. 
 

Place on greased baking sheets.

Bake 8 minutes (I like my cookies soft and chewy – I found that cooking any longer than 8 minutes, when the edges start to brown, result in a crunchy cookie). Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

For the Icing, mix all ingredients. (Stir in additional milk as needed to thin icing or more confectioners’ sugar to thicken, if needed.) Place small icing in a squeeze bottle.  Squeeze icing back and forth across cookies.  Sprinkle with colored sugar.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies
 Recipe from Bakergirl

2 (7-ounce) boxes Jiffy raspberry muffin mix

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 tablespoons butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, butter, shortening, and brown sugar, until just combined (I beat mine until it was completely smooth, but still had little chunks of cream cheese). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the muffin mix and using a wooden spoon, mix until incorporated. Stir in the white chocolate chips and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease baking sheets and roll dough into tablespoon-size balls. Place 2-inches apart on baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until just turning golden around the edges. Cool five minutes on baking sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely. 
Snickerdoodles

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For rolling:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.

In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

Let dough rest in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the cinnamon for the topping.

Take about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dough and roll it into a ball (I used my cookie scoop).  Roll dough ball in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and press it onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Repeat for the remaining cookies.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies may seem undercooked, but will continue to develop after they are removed from the oven.

Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling rack.

Well, I’m off to finish laundry, cleaning and wrapping presents.  Oh and packing. 
I feel I haven’t gotten anything done today!  Where has the day went?!  Yikes!
Time to get on the ball… definitely want to be in bed at a semi-normal time tonight!

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