Cookies are among the foods most capable of stirring emotions. The smells of vanilla, cinnamon, butter and sugar warmed by the oven make powerful perfumes. The sight, the crunch, the comfort of an old favorite can transport the mind to a happy time. That’s why this week we bring you not one recipe of the week but three nostalgic Christmas Cookie recipes just waiting to be baked.
Animal Cracker Cookies
This recipe comes to us from cookistry.com. Whose heart won’t melt at the sight of this darling, edible menagerie?
The chef uses these Pop Out Animal Cookie Cutters to get the signature look. But, because the cookies don’t rise or spread much, any animal cutters will work.
These are the cutest cookies you will ever make.
- 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature 8 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
In a medium bowl, cream the butter, sugar and salt.
Add the vanilla extract and continue beating until combined.
Add the flours and mix until combined. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten to a disk, and refrigerate until chilled – or for several days, if desired.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, lightly flour your work surface, and have baking sheets standing by.
Working with portions of the dough at a time, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch and cut with cookie cutters as desired. Right out of the refrigerator, this dough tends to be a little brittle and tends to crack apart, but as it warms slightly, it's easier to roll. If it does break apart, you can just gather up the pieces and mash them together.
Place the cookies on a cookie sheet. Parchment paper is fine, but you don't need a greased cookie sheet. You can re-roll the dough scraps and cut more cookies, but if the dough gets too soft, it can be hard to work with as it sticks to your work surface and flops about when you try to pick up a cookie. If that's the case, just refrigerate it for 10 minutes or so, to let it firm up, then continue rolling and cutting.
Bake the cookies at 350 degrees until lightly browned on the edges, about 14 minutes.
Let the cookies cool on the pan for a while before you transfer them to racks to cool completely. They're a little fragile when warm, but they'll firm up as the cool. These are still slightly delicate when completely cool, so don't plan on putting them in a box and shipping them across the country.
Chewy Ginger Cookies
This recipe comes to us from Brittany’s Pantry. A woman after our own hearts, Brittany has found a way to bring the spice of ginger into a cookie in a way that is altogether sensuous.
In addition, they’re simple–nearly foolproof–and freeze beautifully for those midnight cookie craving emergencies.
This simple recipe makes chewy, flavorful, zingy cookies that curb cravings. They freeze beautifully for cookie emergencies.
- 3/4 c butter
- 2 c sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c molasses
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 3 3/4 c flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Cream the butter, sugar, eggs, molasses and white vinegar.
Slowly add the remaining ingredients and mix until combine.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.
If desired, roll each ball in granulated sugar.
Bake for exactly 11 minutes.
Cool slightly on a pan then move to a cooling rack.
Mom’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
This recipe comes to us from Kathleen Flinn’s latest book, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family.
Oatmeal cookies are among the most nostalgic foods. (Incidentally, did you know that oats are aphrodisiac?) Everyone has an oatmeal cookie recipe but what sets this recipe apart is the extra step of cooking the raisins. Try it–you’ll get it!
What makes this oatmeal cookie recipe a stand-out is the technique for cooking the raisins.
- 2 cups raisins
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup chopped walnuts optional
Put the raisins and water in a large skillet. Cook slowly over low heat until tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove the raisins from the heat. Add the butter and let it melt through. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt and mix thoroughly. It will be a thick-liquid. Cool to lukewarm.
While the raisin mixture is cooling, preheat the oven to to 350°F (177°C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone liner. (If you make large cookies, you may need to do 2 batches.)
Add the eggs to the raisin mixture. Mix the oatmeal, flour, and baking soda in a large bowl until well blended. Add to the raisin mixture. Blend well. Stir in the walnuts if using.
Drop by teaspoonfuls for small cookies or use a tablespoon for larger cookies, leaving about 1/2 inch between spoonfuls as the cookies will spread during baking.uncooked cookies on baking tray
Bake according to cookie size, about 10 minutes for small ones and up to 18 minutes for larger ones. Let cool briefly before serving. Store in airtight container.
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