Last minute cookie gifts
With just a few more days until Christmas and some of us may still have a couple of gifts to get for the special people in our lives. For me, and for many others, I have found that a homemade gift means more than something we may buy just because we think we have to.
And what says Christmas more than Christmas cookies! All of my nephews, siblings, some of my friends, my niece and many others expect cookies every year from me, so I always save a day or two to go on a cookie baking spree.
The kitchen will be cluttered with measuring cups, bowls, cookie sheets, parchment paper, and all the ingredients I need to make a variety of two- or three-bite cookies.
Last week, I wrote about refrigerator cookies. This week, it’s filled cookies, whether with dates, raisins, or jelly or jam. Biting into such a cookie and finding a special treat is delightful and downright delicious. And making and giving your very own homemade cookies, whether they are filled, shaped, refrigerator or dropped, is far and away ahead of the store-bought kind.
Here are a couple of my favorites.
Raisin or Date Filled Cookies (about 3 dozen)
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup milk
about 7 cups flour
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped dates or raisins
one-half cup sugar
two-thirds cup water
2 tablespoons flour
To make the cookies, beat together the sugar, shortening and eggs. Beat in the milk, then add the cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and about 6 and one-half cups flour. Stir well, adding a little more flour if necessary.
To make the filling, place the dates or raisins, sugar, water and flour in the top of a double boiler. Mix, stir and cook until thickened. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, roll out the cookie dough to one-eighth inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut into rounds.
Place rounds on parchment paper lined cookies sheets. Place 1 teaspoon of filling on each, then cover with another thin cookie round. Pinch edges to seal.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.
Sprinkle each cookie with sugar, if desired. Colored sugar makes these delights more festive.
Thumbprint cookies may be filled with jelly, jam, raisins or a nut mixture. I use jelly or jam because I preserve a lot of it each season.
Thumbprint Cookies (about 3 dozen)
1 well-beaten egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
one-half teaspoon baking soda
three-quarters cup sugar
two-thirds cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
one-half teaspoon salt
1 jar jam or jelly
1 egg white
two-thirds cup finely chopped walnuts
Combine and thoroughly mix together the cookie ingredients. Shape into 1-inch balls, roll in egg white, then in the finely chopped nuts. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets about an inch apart. Gently press the center of each cookie ball to make an indentation. Fill with a favorite jam or jelly. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
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