Every year my family and I make way too many cookies for the amount of people eating them! It’s one of my favorite parts of the holidays. I love seeing the table decorated with platters of beautiful cookies stacked a foot high. There are a few that we ALWAYS make and then a few that we add differently each year. Usually we make chocolate chip, Italian seed, pecan snowballs, butter pressed cookies, snickerdoodles, and a healthier gingerbread cookie. This year, for my grandma, I made the Italian seed cookies two ways. I made half the batch the normal almond-vanilla, but I made the other half flavored with her favorite: anise! To make my normal chocolate chip a bit more festive, I tinted some white chocolate and drizzled it on top with a fork. The snickerdoodles and pecan snowballs are from my mom's cookbook: The Great Big Cookie Book. The base of the sesame seed cookies are from a local Italian chef's book called Rosalie Serving Italian.
Pecan Puffs (we call them snowballs)
-1/2 c unsalted butter
-2 tbsp sugar
-pinch of salt
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 c pecans
-1 c AP flour
-confectioners sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 300
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add salt and vanilla.
3. Grind nuts in food processor and add both flour and nuts to the butter.
4. Roll the dough into marble sized balls in palms of hands.
5. Bake in oven for 45 minutes.
6. While puffs are still hot, roll in confectioners sugar.
-1/2 c butter
-1/2 c sugar
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/4 c milk
-3 1/2 c AP flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-(for coating) 5 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Beat butter until fluffy, add sugar and vanilla and beat a few minutes more. Beat in eggs and then milk.
2. Sift flour and baking soda over butter and stir to blend. Refrigerate for 15 minutes and then preheat oven to 375.
3. Roll the dough into balls and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place 2 in apart on baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Italian Sesame Cookies
-1.5 cups four
-pinch of salt
-1 1/4 tsp baking powder
-1/4 c butter
-1 egg and 1 yolk
-1 tsp anise, (or use 1/2 each of vanilla and almond)
2 cups sesame seeds
1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients.
2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Gradually add the flour to the wet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Roll into logs and then cut into little 1.5 in pieces.
3. Dunk into the milk and roll into the seeds. Place the little logs onto the baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.
These cookies are great for making in advance (up to 4 days!). They are deliciously soft or nice and chewy depending on how long you cook them. For chewy cookies, cook 1-2 minutes more than for soft cookies. You can ice these cookies with a simple piped powdered sugar and milk icing.
¼ c pure stevia extract
¼ c brown sugar
½ cup applesauce (cooked down to ¼ cup for richer cookies or just use ¼ c applesauce)
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
½ tsp nutmeg or cloves
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp black pepper
2.5 c whole-wheat flour
Mix on medium speed the sweeteners and applesauce for 5 minutes. Add the egg whites and beat for 2 minutes. Sift the rest of the ingredients together and gradually beat into the wet. Mix for 1 more minute and scrape down the sides to mix thoroughly. Dump unto the middle of a piece of parchment and place another piece of parchment on top. Flatten and roll to about 1/4 – ½ in thick. Chill for a half hour. When set cut with floured cookie cutters. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. You can also make these slice and bake. Instead of rolling and flattening out, roll into a log and chill for an hour. Slice ½ in thick and bake. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes depending on size and thickness of cookie.