Sugar plums — a candy made of a mixture of dried fruits and sugar — are not in vogue right now, but there are plenty of treats that dance through children’s and adult’s minds through the holiday season. Christmas cookies are somewhere near the top of the list. They are tasty and they are portable — two features that make them perfect for holiday giving and eating.
Sometimes friends or families put together a cookie exchange. Each participant makes a large batch of one or two of their favorite recipes and the group gathers together and shares what they have made, trading so that everyone gets some of everything. Everyone is happy with fewer messes to clean up and fewer ingredients to purchase.
Here are some good holiday cookie recipes to help with the exchanges, gift giving or just enjoying on your own.
Homemade Oreo Cookies
1 box chocolate cake mix
2/3 cup shortening
2 tablespoons water
Mix all ingredients together. Put by spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for eight to 10 minutes. Spread on frosting of choice and stick cookies together.
Throw Together Cookies
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup walnuts or other nuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup butterscotch morsels
1 1/3 cup (3 1/2 ounce can) flaked coconut
1 1/3 cup (15 ounce can) sweetened condensed milk
Pour melted butter on bottom of pan. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over butter. Sprinkle nuts over crumbs and morsels over nuts. Sprinkle coconut evenly over morsels. Pour sweetened condensed milk over coconut. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until lightly brown on top. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Cut into bars.
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup thick sour milk or buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon soda
Cream shortening and sugar. Add beaten egg and sifted dry ingredients. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.
Brown Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
Brown butter in saucepan over low heat. Blend in powdered sugar. Beat until thick, then thin with cream if necessary.
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
Combine brown sugar with milk and heat to boiling. Cook over low heat for three minutes. Stir in two cups powdered sugar.
1 cup sugar
1 cup sorghum molasses
3/4 cup oil or lard
1/2 cup hot water
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon ginger
6 or 7 cups flour (can use 1/3 whole wheat)
Combine sugar, oil and molasses. Use hot water to rinse molasses out of cup into dough. Add eggs and mix well. Stir together dry ingredients. Mix into moist ingredients. Refrigerate dough for two hours to two days. Roll out and cut with cookie cutter. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. May be frozen for later use.
Holiday Cookie Surprises
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
Approximately 48 assorted bite-size candies, like chocolate, candy-coated chocolate pieces, jelly beans or gumdrops
Colored sugar or sprinkles
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well. Add combined flour, oats and salt. Mix well. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Press desired candy piece into center of each ball. Shape dough around candy so it is completely hidden. Roll cookies in desired decorations until evenly coated. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 14 to 17 minutes or until cookies are set. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store in a tightly covered container.