Kate and I will start baking our Christmas cookies this week when she’s home for Thanksgiving. Actually, we’ll be doing this baking on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as we will be putting up our tree and decorating the rest of the house on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. I’d imagine the traditions and expectations around our Christmas Decorating are similar to those in your family. We’ll have our favorite Christmas music piping through the house and have a plate of cookies set out to keep us fortified during the frenzied fun. We will also have a spread of cheese, meat and other noshes as the meals on Friday will be of the ‘grazing’ variety since I will be way too busy to cook.
We easily make 8-10 different cookie recipes each holiday season so that each member of the family has several favorites to choose from. It’s fun to look back and see how each cookie came to be on our Christmas cookie list. Just as we bring furniture and pictures to a marriage, favorite family cookie recipes come too. Terry grew up with the Peanut Butter Blossom, which were new to me. My Grandma made the double chocolate cookies and the pizzelle maker I use is the one she used 40+ years ago. I’ll be curious to see what cookie recipes my kids take with them when they set up a home of their own.
Some of our top favorites include:
Amaretto Butter Cookie
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Brown Butter Shortbread
Raspberry Jam Thumbprint
Sugar Cookie Cut outs
A recent addition to the line-up has been a Rosemary Shortbread cookie that was offered at a Cookie Swap I attended several years back. While I loved this recipe, I was anxious to take it up a notch by using browned butter. Browning butter takes an already yummy kitchen staples to serious new heights. Its nutty, caramel flavor is perfection in short bread cookies and over pastas where it doesn’t have to compete for attention on your palate. I used Irish butter because its higher fat content makes it just that much more flavorful. And while brown butter is outstanding on its own, adding some rosemary to it makes you question the adage ‘you can’t improve perfection.’ Thus was born Brown Butter Rosemary Cookies.
Rosemary in a cookie? Don’t knock it until you try it! In this recipe, the sweetness from the sugar is complemented by the caramel of the browned butter. Salt and a hint of pine from the rosemary adds just enough pleasant surprise to your taste buds to make these very distinctive Brown Butter Rosemary Cookies work into your cookie repertoire.
Just a note, you can’t just brown the butter called for in a recipe that didn’t specifically call for browned butter (yeah…I found that out the hard way…twice!) Browning the butter causes some evaporation (like 20%), so you need to accommodate by adding more butter. There’s your fun fact for the day.
So, Let The Cookie Games Begin!!!! This is the time of the year when I’m prepared to not eat lunch so that I can eat more cookies and treats and when, despite my efforts, I know I’ll add a few pounds…and I’m really o.k. with it. Here’s my seasonal spin on a quote I’ve seen bouncing around Pinterest. I don’t know who first coined it, but it makes perfect sense to me:
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