Tis the Season of Christmas Cookies at the Garver House

The Christmas season is fast approaching, we see decorations in the stores already and Thanksgiving has not arrived yet. Now is the time I dust off the Christmas cookie file and decide which cookies to make. How did the Christmas cookie tradition come about in the Cline household? After I married Al and moved to Michigan from New Jersey where I grew up I suddenly had no family around. My sister Christa who was the main supplier of the family Christmas cookies did not want to ship cookies to Michigan every Christmas, and so it began a Cline family tradition, the making of the Christmas cookies.

I started off slow with just sugar cookies that the Cline kids could decorate. Every Christmas the dining room table became a mess with dozens of cut-out sugar cookies, multi colors of icing and 101 Christmas sprinkles. Yes we made a mess but we also made memories and some really good cookies.

After a couple of years I started adding to my cookie recipe collection through magazines, cookbooks, friends and some of my sisters recipes. I got pretty darn good at making cookies, any one of my children or Al will tell you! A few times I hosted a cookie exchange party at my house, at church we made Christmas cookies and sold them as a fundraiser for youth programs. I made 10 different kinds of cookies for our son John’s wedding and transported them to Peru, Indiana for the wedding. So now after 29 years of marriage and 4 children, 2 daughter-in-laws, and one beautiful grandchild I have collected quite a few cookie recipes. Everyone around here knows they can count on Mom for Christmas cookies. I have also instilled the art of cookie baking with all my children, they have the recipes and they are all pretty good bakers!

Now I will share some of my favorite recipes with you. Happy baking….

Christmas Sugar Cookies – The Very First of my Christmas Cookie beginning!!

2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar (10X sugar)
1 cup butter (no substitutions)
2 Tablespoons milk

Combine: Flour, sugar, salt and sift into bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly.
Add: egg, milk, and vanilla. Mix until dough holds together. Press into ball, wrap in saran and chill.
When chilled cut dough in half and roll half of dough at a time onto lightly floured surface about 1/8 ” thick.
Cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool and ice.

Icing

2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
dash of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla or orange extract (I normally use orange)
Light cream
Food coloring

Sift sugar and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add extract and enough light cream to make
icing painting consistency. When you get icing the right consistency you can then separate
into smaller bowls and add food coloring to make different colors. To ice cookies paint with
a small paint brush or the back of a plastic spoon (one for each color). Let set and icing
will harden. Makes 3-5 dozen cookies depending on what size cookie cutters you use.

Mexican Wedding Cakes – So easy! (Recipe given to me by Regina Howard at a cookie exchange)

Cream together: 1 cup softened butter
2 cups finely chopped pecans

Add: 4 Tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour

Roll out about 1 teaspoon of dough into “fingers” and place on cookie sheet.
The cookies can be crowded onto cookie sheet because they do not spread!
Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes or until slightly browned on bottom.
Cool slightly then carefully roll in sugar and let cool completely.

Well that is it for now, I will give you a few more next week. Happy Baking!

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