Christmas cookies are a big part of the holiday season here at my house. I have some favourites, the tried and true. And then there are new ones, I usually like to try at least one new Christmas recipe every year.
The other thing I love to do each Christmas is to host the annual Christmas Cookie Exchange. I don’t even remember how it all started many, many years ago but it’s a staple now (only missing last year because it was a little busy here in our house).
This year there were eight of us participating. The way the Christmas Cookie Exchange works for us is we each bake one kind of cookie – and enough so everyone gets one dozen each. Since there were eight of us this year, we each baked eight dozen (which includes a dozen to keep for ourselves).
The goodies get packaged up into one dozen allotments and on the day of the bake exchange we each swap our goodies and get one dozen of everyone else’s! This means you go home with eight dozen cookies of various varieties… and all your Christmas baking DONE!
This year the cookies were outstanding!
Clockwise from top left: Kransekage (Marzipan Cookies), Brandied Eggnog Cookies (recipe follows), Whipped Shortbread Cookies, Pfeffernuse, Chocolate Drizzled Macaroons, Skor Cookies, Classic Crinkle Cookies, White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies.
I’ve included the recipe for my cookies below. I’ve made these Brandied Eggnog Cookies a few times now and they are always well received.
Do you bake at Christmas? Is there a special cookie or cake that is made especially at this time of year? How do you get all your Christmas baking done?
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extra
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup plus two tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extra
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add the egg, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and salt and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. At low speed , add the flour and mix until combined. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat it into a rectangle and wrap it up. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until firm (or up to 3 days).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top lightly with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Using a 1-½ inch fluted square or circle, cut out as many cookies as possible. Cut out centres of half the cookies (I used an inverted icing tip). Transfer cookies to baking sheet, place tops and bottoms on separate sheet as the tops will take a minute or so less than the bottoms. Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, for 9-11 minutes. I don’t like to let mine brown. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the 3 tablespoons of butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners sugar, brandy and vanilla extract and beat until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase speed to high and beat until the filling is creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Spread about ¼ teaspoon of the filling on the bottom of one of the whole cookies. Top with one of the cut-out cookies, right side up, and press the cookies lightly together. Repeat with the remaining cookies and filling. Grate a bit of nutmeg on top of eat. Serve cookies at room temperate.