Every Holiday Season, I make cookies.
I always make a tried-and-true cookie (sugar, gingerbread, spritz, butterballs) but I also like to try a new cookie recipe each year. Some of the cookies I’ve baked in Christmases past have been a little outside-the-cookie box. One year I made Orange Candy Slice Cookies (perfect if you have those nasty, gummy candies languishing in your candy bowl), once I made Sage and Apricot Cornmeal Cookies and a couple years ago I made Guava and Blue Cheese cookies. This sounds like a very weird combo, but these were my daughter A.J.’s favorites.
This year I kicked off my not-your-mama’s-cookie baking with a recipe I found in Parade magazine for Campari Cookies. The photo looked beautiful and since I had all the ingredients, it was easy to accomplish. Campari is a red Italian liqueur, which is very similar to Aperol, the liqueur used to make Aperol Spritz drink.
The cookie is basically a shortbread, with a Campari glaze and Orange Sugar decoration sprinkled on top. The shortbread dough was very easy to make! It consists of butter, powdered sugar and flour and when it comes together, it’s light and fluffy, like a cloud. The dough is rolled, baked and then topped with the glaze and sugar.
Wyatt came over right after I’d made them and asked if he could eat one. I told him he could, but he might not like the taste since the icing had alcohol in it.
I’m not allowed to have alcohol.Wyatt said.
You didn’t really taste the alcohol once the cookie was glazed; the Campari (you could subsitute Aperol) just gave it a little tang and pretty color.
Since I wanted to try this cookie, but not eat the whole batch, I took it to my Pinecrest Garden Club’s Holiday Luncheon. They were a hit and the Italian-themed cookies went perfectly with the Pasta, Eggplant Parmesan and Chicken Marsala that was served. This recipe was published in the December 5th issue of Parade.
I hosted a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party at my house with my sisters Kelley and Elise and my Mom. It happened to fall on my sister Kelley’s birthday, so I made lunch to eat as we listened to Christmas music, exchanged gift and caught up. I served Butternut Squash soup in pretty tea cups, chicken salad on arugula lettuce and croissants and cakes from Cecile’s Bakery in South Miami.
The cookies we made to exchange were: Snickerdoodles from me, because my husband likes them, my Mom made Chocolate Chip Cookies, Elise made Chocolate Toffee Matzoh and Kelley made Key Lime Coolers. I love the idea of a Christmas Cookie Exchange because you bake one type of cookie and get three different kinds in return. We made three dozen cookies, wrapped in bunches of twelve and it was perfect!
My last fore into cookie-making this season was another recipe from Parade called Mix ‘n Match Thumbprint Cookies. This recipe appealed to me because I love thumbprint cookies and because this recipe suggested different fillings, so you essentially made one dough and filled the thumbprint with different fillings.
I made some with Chocolate sauce and crushed candy canes, some with Lemon Curd and sliced almonds, some with Brandied Cherries and some with Fig jelly. I then sprinkled the warm cookies with powdered sugar. It occured to me (after the fact) I could have also made some with guava jelly and sprinkled them with blue cheese, thereby recreating my daughter’s favorite Christmas cookie. The other reason I liked this recipe is because the variety of cookies look so pretty on a plate, like jewels sparking that are edible. I gave two plates away as Christmas gifts.
With all these cookies, milk would be good to drink, but I also tried a delicious Holiday Cocktail, also from Parade magazine, this one the November 21st issue. It wasn’t too strong or too sweet and I love the festive look of the sugared cranberries on a toothpick to garnish it. I think a pitcher of these would be a perfect way to kick off a New Year’s Eve party! Maybe next year, LOL.
Ginger, Orange and Cranberry MartinisCourse: CocktailCuisine: CocktailDifficulty: Easy
4 cups vodka
2 cups Grand Marnier
2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
7 limes, juiced
2 cups ice
1 cup ginger ale
- Combine vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice and lime juice in a pitcher.
- Add 2 cups of ice; stir 30 seconds.
- Stir in 1 cups ginger ale; strain into chilled martini glasses. If desired, serve garnished with Sugared cranberries or orange twists.
- You can use Light Cranberry juice and Diet Ginger Ale if you want to reduce the calories in this drink.
Speaking of New Year’s Eve, in Real Simple Magazine they suggesting creating a Sweets Board, instead of a Meat and Cheese board, this Holiday season. I love this idea! I usually put out all the sweets I’ve amassed for dessert in their individual containers, but putting them on one board, makes it seem thought-out and more festive. I didn’t have a board the right size, so I just used a platter.
Up Next: Year’s End Glitches