Sunday, December 18, 2011

A weekend of Christmas Cookies!

Greetings dear readers!

Yes, I was bad! I caved to the holiday rush and I missed both Friday and Saturday's cookies, so I have decided to have a extravaganza of cookies today... count them 6!!! Recipes and for baring with me, a couple of candy recipes! I also have to share with you the absolutely DARLING ornaments that I got in the PAFA swap! My partner Barb, from Heartstrokes, sent me two adorable ornaments--a painted snowman and a big jingle bell! I love them so much and truth be told, I have always wanted one of those big bells!

Aren't they cute??? so they are happily joining all my other ornies on our tree and will have a special place there! Thank you again sooo much Barb!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!! for being my swap partner--it was wonderful getting to know you!!
On to cookies and other goodies!

Coconut Balls

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla 
1 Tablespoon water
2 cups sifted enriched flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Thoroughly cream butter, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in water. Add the flour and mix well. Stir in nuts. Shape in 1-inch balls. Bake 1 inch apart on ungreased cooky sheet at 300* about 20 minutes, or till firm to touch. Cool thoroughly before removing from pan. Dip cookies in Confectioners' Frosting and roll in tinted coconut. Makes 4 dozen.

Confectioners' Frosting
Add enough light cream to 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar to make of spreading consistency (or less cream to make of piping consistency). Add dash of salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. 

These cookies I believe are from my paternal Grandmother, since they are typed on an index card, and hers always were! These sound sooo yummy! I can just see them, nestled on one of the tiered display dishes all prim and proper with light green and pale pink tinted coconut... hmmm I think I may have to whip up a batch before Christmas myself!!

Another family favorite--Russian Teacakes... I know these are known by many names, but they all mean yummy in my book! We would make snowdrifts of these--or at least it seemed that we did--and grab them off the hot cookie sheets and into brown paper lunch sacks full of confectioners sugar they would go! Then when they would cool, be re rolled so they are lovely and white, and no finger prints! 

Russian Teacakes

1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla thoroughly. Sift together flour and salt; blend in. Mix in nuts. Chill dough. Heat oven to 400* (medium hot). Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet. (Cookies do not spread). Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. While still warm, roll in confectioners. sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again. Makes about 4 dozen 1 inch cookies. 

Here is another yummy one, and one just perfect for those stressful pre Christmas shopping days! Bourbon Balls! yummy and need to be made before Christmas so they can ferment for a while.. and be sure to make extras for 'testing' to make sure they are ready for the cookie trays!! These are also why Nilla wafers exist! 

Bourbon Balls

2 1/2 cups or 1 12 oz package finely crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup bourbon
3 Tablespoons corn syrup 

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. With hands, roll mixture into 1 inch balls and then into granulated sugar. Makes 36. 

Quick, simple and oh so good. Also, a great way to work out stress, with crushing the vanilla wafers. We always found a ziplock to be a good bag to use and a rolling pin when crushing the wafers. Much easier than crushing by hand. 

So, 3 cookie recipes, so I think 3 candied nut recipes to go with! 

Candy Coated Nuts

Butter sides of heavy 1 quart saucepan. In pot mix 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream. Stir until sugars melt. Cook to soft ball stage. (236*) 
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, heat until mixture begins to thicken. Add 2 1/2 cups walnuts, pecan halves or filberts, stir until well coated. Turn out on a greased platter or cooky sheet; separate at once into individual pieces. 
Makes 1 pound

Sugared Walnuts

Heat 2 1/2 cups walnut halves (or filberts) on 370* for 5 minutes, stirring once. Butter sides of heavy 2 quart saucepan. In pot combine 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoons salt, dash of cloves and nutmeg. heat and stir until sugar disolves and mixture boils cook without stirring to soft ball stage (236*). Remove from heat. Beat by hand 1 minute or until mixture just begins to get creamy. Add 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and the warm nuts. Stir until nuts are well coated and mixture becomes creamy. Turn out on buttered platter or cookie sheet. Separate at once using 2 spoons or forks. Makes about 1 pound of crunchy sugared walnuts. 

Crystallized Nuts

1 1/4 cup golden brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whole walnut halves or almonds

Combine sugar, cream, butter, cinnamon and salt in a 2 quart saucepan. Mix well. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook to firm ball stage, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla and nuts. Continue stirring until candy coats nuts. Spread on greased cookie sheet to cool. Makes about 1 1/4 pounds. 

Can you believe that Christmas is a week from today?? EKK!! Where has the year gone... I just don't know! I wish I had more time--but I really do love this time of year. Tree is all decorated, house too, and I am going to finish up my shopping and wrapping here on Monday or Tuesday, and then sit back and enjoy! Just 3 days of cookies left and I am already contemplating next year-the 12 days of holiday breads perhaps??  I am a baker by trade so we shall see--anything is possible! If anyone has a hint or thought about next year, just let me know!! Well, till tomorrow! Well--I guess I ended up with 3 cookies and 3 candied nuts! What fun!

And lest I forget! I have everything in my Etsy store on sale for 20% off! Just use the coupon code ELVES20 when you check out---also, the items I have at the Olde Primitive Peddlers are also 20% off! Get them before they are gone!

Be safe, happy crafting and even happier baking!!