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Pink Carnation Cookery: Holiday Cookies

It’s Pink Carnation cookery time! In honor of the holidays and The Mischief of the Mistletoe, Christine has whipped up something rather more edible than Miss Climpson’s mince pies. (Don’t get Sally started on those.)

Instead, we’ve got… holiday cookies!

And now over to Christine for a cookie recipe to put us all in a festive mood:

Mistletoe_cvrThe Christmas holidays play a big part in both The Temptation of the Night Jasmine and The Mischief of the Mistletoe. I had every intention of making a Christmas pudding for this entry, but the recipes were… well… gross. Suet and sugar just doesn’t work for me. So I looked for inspiration elsewhere. Then it hit me while watching Holiday Baking Championship on the Food Network (is it just me or is the Food Network all competitions these days?). On the first episode, the contestants made cookies and some of them were required to make spritz cookies. All of a sudden, I HAD to have a cookie press. My best friend, being the wonderful person she is, sent me a cookie press as an early Christmas present.

The recipe I used (with one minor adjustment) is the one that came with the cookie press’s instruction booklet from Oxo.

Ingredients:
– 3 sticks of butter, room temperature
– 1 cup of sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon of salt
– 2 large eggs, room temperature
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used almond extract, and other options include lemon extract, orange zest, etc.)
– 4 cups of all purpose flour
– decorating sugar and sprinkles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cream together butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
3. Add extract and eggs, one at a time, continuously beating.
4. Gradually add flour, beating until well incorporated.
5. Using cookie press to place cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until cookies are golden brown around the edges. Rotate the sheet halfway through baking time.

The recipe yields about 12 dozen small cookies, and I baked for about 9 minutes. If you’ve never used a cookie press (this was my first time), keep pumping until you feel resistance for each cookie. I also used an assortment of sprinkles and sugar that I got in a mixed pack from Target. I think it’s been well documented in this year-long journey through baked goods that decorating stuff isn’t my strong suit, but the cookie press made some adorable little cookies.

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Our Pink Recipes have almost come to an end. The only one left is The Lure of the Moonflower, to come next month. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the recipes so far, and happy holidays to all!

Thank you so much, Christine! Those are so dainty and delicious-looking. I’ve enjoyed both the recipes and the commentary, and I’m so looking forward to seeing what you whip up for The Lure of the Moonflower.

Every December, my little sister and I make the gingerbread cookies off the back of the Grandma’s molasses bottle (which appears to no longer be on the back of the molasses bottle) and sugar cookies, with varying recipes, since I’m still looking for a recipe I really like. Last year, Tasha Alexander, baker extraordinaire (as well as amazing writer) shared her sugar cookie recipe with me, and this year I’ll be trying Betty’s.

Do you all have any holiday cookie favorites?

Happy holidays, all!

10 Comments

  1. Suzanneh on December 20, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Isn’t it amazing how we are culturally conditioned? Here in Australia we make a traditional Christmas pudding, suet and all, and everybody loves it. I think my family would divorce me if I didn’t make it one year. I know a few people who make it with butter instead of suet and it just tastes like cake. It doesn’t have IT as far a Christmas pudding goes. With suet it just works so much better. Just like pastry works much better with a mixture of butter and lard (same thing, different animal) than if you use just butter.

    Does anybody else make Christmas pudding? If not what do you have instead? One of my friends in the US has pumpkin pie. Now pumpkin eaten sweet is something we can’t get our heads around here. Interesting isn’t it?

    • Lynne on December 21, 2014 at 12:39 am

      I’m that pumpkin pie girl and love it, but Suzanne described her Christmas pudding recipe to me awhile back and I confess it’s a great deal like our fruit cakes. And ladies – fruit cakes made from scratch with the right ingredients are quite divine. Christine’s cookies do sound delicious – thanks for the post, Lauren.

    • Christine on January 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      I’ve been meaning to reply to this forever and I’m just getting to it. Funny how you mention cultural influences. As the child of immigrant parents, I didn’t have a lot of “traditional” American foods growing up. The first time I ever had sweet potato casserole with the marshmallows was at a work function 2 years ago, and I can’t see the appeal. It was so overly sweet but this was a potluck so I choked down the rest of what was on my plate to be polite. I actually just saw a clip of One Direction on Jimmy Fallon where they talk about how they don’t like Christmas pudding and are thoroughly confused by sweet potato casserole.

      Oddly enough, when I travel I insist on having all kinds of local foods but I’m much less likely to try things that sound odd at home.

  2. Suzanneh on December 20, 2014 at 2:23 am

    PS. I forgot to ask, what do you have against mice pies? They are fabulous and eaten by the trillions every Christmas. True, the original recipe had suet in it but unlike Christmas pudding you can get away with substituting here, and most people do these days, as they start to be eaten way before Christmas and suet is hard to get until December. I use grated apple to lighten the fruit mince instead.

    • Lauren on December 20, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Nothing against mince pies in particular (which I like), but just against Miss Climpson’s mince pies. You know those people who can start out with a perfectly edible cake recipe and come out with a leaden lump? That’s Miss Climpson. You do not want to even think about her rock biscuits….

  3. jeffrey on December 21, 2014 at 6:40 am

    I’m the baker in our household and yesterday was ‘cookie’ day. My very favorite is brown sugar shortbread. Three simple ingredients but it is the t-e-c-h-n-I-q-u-e that makes them special. We also baked up raspberry ribbon cookies, white chocolate/macadamia nut cookies, and candy cane swirl cookies.

    On my “to try” list? Why, gingerbread of course! I’ve never tried it but am looking forward to that treat next year…

    Merry Christmas!

    • Suzanneh on December 21, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      Last Christmas I tried Nigella’s recipe for gingerbread muffins. They were divine and dead easy. I was also delighted to find that they freeze really well.

    • Lynne on December 22, 2014 at 12:22 am

      Oh, Jeffrey – do try gingerbread cookies! They’re wonderful but a bit more labor-intensive than most. And prepare for a messy kitchen when done. But they’re worth it!!

  4. Betty S. on December 29, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I am late getting to this post – too much Christmas; we have had three! I would be interested in your Christmas pudding recipe, Susanne. I make mincemeat pie at Thanksgiving for my husband – he is the only one who likes it, but I buy a filling, so not much effort. We all love pumpkin pie for both holidays – I think it may go back to the native Americans who shared pumpkin with the English settlers.

    Also, I’m getting ready to bake a gingerbread cake, but from a mix. I frost it with a homemade vanilla frosting. Think tangy carrot cake!

    Happy New Year to all!

  5. Suzanneh on December 29, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Betty, if you send me an email on [email protected] I will send it to you.

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