One of the best things about being married, besides getting to be married, has been my discovery of my love of cooking. While initially intimidating (and really, it still is at times), I have really grown to love making meals for my husband, friends, and family, when there’s a chance; and I must say, it is a good feeling to make good food. I love using whole foods, real ingredients, and taking the time to make things myself from scratch instead of buying food “products” sold in grocery stores.
As the Christmas season started kicking in this year, the thought of showering my friends and family with delicious homemade gifts and treats just thrilled me. Visions of handcrafted vanilla extract, herb-infused olive oil and stovetop butterscotch danced in my head… but then life got away from me… actually, the month of December hit, too. Have you ever noticed how quickly the month can go by? And admittedly, I am the type of person who shops during the week preceding Christmas and never has everything organized the way I’d like it. So basically… I didn’t do anything that I imagined I could do to make other people’s Christmases special.
But I’ve decided that it’s better late than never. So yesterday I made Christmas cookies for the second time this season, here at Willy’s parents’ house in Twin Falls. I like to try recipes that are either new to me or fairly original, so in this case I went with a butter cookie recipe. I’m pretty sure that butter cookies have been around for awhile, but I had them for the first time this fall at the Moscow Food Co-Op
and loved them. They’re pretty similar to rolled-out sugar cookies, but with less overall sugar and definitely more butter. (1 lb, I believe!) I found a quick recipe for icing that worked really well, and I had a fun time decorating cookies with Willy’s sister Emily and nephew Brock. (I probably should’ve taken pictures…) The other cookies that I made a week ago were a cookie version of peppermint bark. I thought they were really good, but Willy and I only ate about two each before we gave them away for a cookie exchange at his office Christmas party. It seems almost unfair since we spent all of an afternoon making nearly eight dozen of these cookies. Oh well though; we’ll just have to make them next Christmas! I wanted to share the recipes here in case anybody had a cookie urge. In my opinion, post-Christmas cookies are just as good as the ones made on time.
I hope you all have had a great and relaxing holiday! I have missed being with family and being home in Illinois too, but I love my in-laws and feel very blessed to be so thoroughly included in their family and blessed to have my husband as well. Stay warm out there, wherever you are! 🙂
- 1 pound butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 whole egg yolks (save the whites if you want icing)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla; mix well. Beat in the flour and salt. Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour in the refrigerator. After taking dough from fridge, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough between 1/4 and 1/2 inch and cut into shapes. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet for 10-13 minutes or until very lightly browned on the bottom and/or cooked through on top. Keep a close eye on these, because they are not nearly as tasty when they get too brown.
to make icing: use (four) leftover eggwhites; beat until foamy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually add approximately four cups confectioners sugar until desired consistency is achieved. Add food coloring and wa-la! Icing!
Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies, via epicurious.com
As I am running short on time, below is the link for this recipe. My only changes were to make the shortbread base in a larger pan than 9×13 – according to the reviews, this made it easier to cook through all the way.