While I love this time of year I must admit that it stresses me out! I start to get bogged down in the to-do lists and parties and gifts and travel arrangements and forget to savor the season and really focus on Christ and the miracle of his birth and the wonder of it all! I’ve been trying to reinforce with my kids that Christmas isn’t just presents, Santa, cookies and Jingle Bells, but I’m not being the best example by stressing out about all of those things. Does anyone else have this problem?! Any advice on how to find balance?
Today is the last day of preschool before Christmas break and I’ve tried this year to keep things simple for teacher gifts. A cookie tray and a gift card to one of their favorite stores.
All of the cookies on this tray can be made ahead of time and frozen for at least a couple of weeks which makes them great for the craziness of this time of year.
Here is the link for the Molasses Cookies and here is the Rosemary Pecan Shortbread. Both of these are wonderfully spiced and amazingly delicious. My husband does not like sweets and the molasses cookies are some of his favorites.
And here is the Spritz recipe! It’s a family recipe that my mom, aunt and grandmother used. These are straightforward butter cookies. If you don’t have a cookie press you could maybe roll them in to balls and then roll them in sugar, but I haven’t tried that before. Don’t be scared of a cookie press, though! My mother in law passed down to me the one pictured below a few years ago and I just now worked up the courage to use it. I wish I’d not waited so long!
A few tips:
- Use an ungreased cookie sheet! I used parchment for my first batch, which was a mistake. The dough didn’t stick to the parchment, it just stayed on the press! Very frustrating. There is enough butter in these that sticking shouldn’t be an issue 🙂
- Watch these carefully in the oven. If they burn they’re just not very good.
- Place the red hots on the cookie in such a way that they’re not too close to the edge. If they get too much heat from the metal of the pan they’ll melt.
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- coloring (optional)
- red hots or sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Cream butter and sugar together thoroughly. Add in the egg and extracts and beat well.
- Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together, then add to the butter mixture and beat until combined. At this point you can color some of the dough if you want to. The green trees have always been a favorite of my family!
- Fill cookie press with dough and fit with a plate. Force dough out according to the directions for your press on to an ungreased cookie sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart. Press red hots into cookies if using.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes. You may need to rotate them if you oven bakes unevenly.
- Cool and serve. These freeze very well.