Monday, December 23, 2013

Treat of the Week: 2013 Christmas Cookie Edition

As this dreadful year finally draws to its much-needed conclusion, I must admit, I have been enjoying the end-of-year festivities.  Among them, are the annual Christmas cookies which my mother makes.

Sunday with my parents began with a lovely and light frittata with a salad of broccolini, chickpeas, tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes with crusty rolls.  

As much as I enjoyed that, it was with much anticipation that I awaited the unveiling of the cookies.

One batch of cookies from scratch is a lot of work, but to do this many is nothing short of miraculous. Each cookie and piece of candy is carefully planned, prepared and decorated. 

Let’s take a look at these delicious masterpieces.

We have chocolate-dipped Sugar Squares.  These tender sugar cookie squares are dipped in white and dark chocolate and then adorned with sprinkles for a wonderful candy-like kick.

Joining these are Pecan Tassies drizzled with melted milk chocolate.  These tarts begin with a delicate cream cheese dough, filled with chopped pecans, brown sugar, bourbon and chocolate chips. A true Southern delight!

Among my favorites are the Praline Cookies: Chewy sugar cookies with a nutty flavor are topped with glorious pecan pralines.

The annual battle for the Butterscotch Cookies has begun.  Each year we fight over who gets the last of these beautiful butterscotch cookies. Soft and delicious, they’re iced with a melt-in-your mouth butterscotch frosting, adorned with sanding sugar.

A decades-old tradition--“Aunt Ida” Cookies: my mom has been making this cookies since she was a little girl. Cream cheese dough pillows are filled with alternating mixtures of assorted nuts, chocolate, brown sugar, cinnamon, apricots, cranberries, raisins and cherries. Dusted with cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar, these are a family tradition that’s eagerly awaited each year.

I also have fond memories of Chocolate Icebox Cookies.  In fact, most of my memories are food related.  But, I recall eating these rich chocolate rounds as a child.  I was just as delighted by them then as I am now.  The chocolate dough is formed into a log which his then rolled in chopped walnuts.  After they're baked and cooled, they are topped with a thick later of melted dark chocolate. 

Gingerbread Cookies: For as long as I remember, my mother’s famous gingerbread cookies have graced the Christmas table. Trees, bells, Santas, reindeer, and people of assorted sizes, my mother decorates each one by hand. Each little person has his or her own personality. It’s almost a shame to eat them—almost.

Shortbread Cookies: Tender, wonderful shortbread is decorated with sprinkles and dark chocolate—cut in the shape of Westies like my Bertie. Chocolate shortbread Scotties are a perfect companion with their ribbons of white chocolate. This gives “dog biscuits” a whole new meaning. 

Pinwheels Cookies are new this year.  These cinnamon swirled drizzled in white glaze and chocolate are a tender delight.

The Plum Bobs have made a comeback!  A favorite from years past, these nutty-buttery tarts are dotted with centers of plum jam.

Pfeffernussen  are German spice cookies with a distinct peppery flavor. Ground pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and clove create a delightful sharp note which contrasts with the confectioners' sugar with which they are snowily dusted.

Pralines: Pecans suspended in fudge or the traditional brown-sugar praline mixture, this is one of my favorite candies. I’ve been known to eat as many as I can get my little hands on.

Peppermint Bark: My mother’s homemade peppermint bark is always a treat. Dark and white chocolate punctuated with crushed candy canes—nothing says Christmas more.

Assorted Sweetmeats: Made in festive molds, these candies of dark, milk and white chocolate are filled with nuts and fruit making for a sweet, tender, crunchy, chewy, glorious snack.

Assorted Candies: In the shapes of stars, toys and rosettes, these candies of dark, milk and white chocolate have a colorful surprise on the reverse—a lush coating of brilliant sprinkles.

Here's hoping that the end of this year is as delicious for the rest of you!


Beth Ann said...

Amazing! I am in awe of the work!

Gene said...

Cookies from scratch......I dream of the day. They look very good.

Barry said...

How grand! Happy Christmas!

April said...

Christmas cookies as they should be!!!

Angelo said...

Too good to leave for Santa

Bonnie said...

I wish I had so much talent!

Sam P said...

Oh, I just wish I had some cookies. 10 of each and an assorted bag of candy.

Matt said...

Works of art! Merry Christmas.!!!

Kathy said...

All of this takes such skill and patience. This is the work of a master.

Susan said...