Monday, December 13, 2010

Cyber Cookie Exchange!

Believe it or not,  I have never been to a Christmas cookie exchange; however, I did come very close this year. Justin and I were invited to a sugar cookie decorating party that friends of ours host every year in Chicago. My friend Melissa (also known as my partner in baking), spends weeks making a variety of adorably shaped sugar cookies for all of her friends to come and decorate together.  So fun! I was so excited, because the stars had aligned and Justin and I were actually going to be in Chicago for the party!  Unfortunately, much to my dismay, the party was cancelled due to the host and hostess coming down with a bad case of the flu :( I hate you Haemaphilus influenzae! 

Other than a freak case of the flu, I attribute my lack of Christmas cookie parties to being in pharmacy school, finals week, and the chaos leading up to finals week. But, since I am in the middle of my Christmas baking marathon, it seems only fitting to have a cyber Christmas cookie exchange!

Here's how it will work. I will start by posting a yummy cookie recipe, of course!  Then, in the comments section, you can either share one of your favorite cookie recipes, or even just list your favorite holiday cookie (who knows, maybe it will show up as a post later ;)

Anyway, spread the joy and good treats!

Photo by Meg McCluskey

Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry or Triple Berry Filling:


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup pecan halves
2 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pur vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup of jam of choice


To toast pecans preheat oven to 350. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Meanwhile, sift flour and baking powder together into a bowl. Remove pecans from oven and place in a food processor. Pulse pecans, confectioners sugar, salt and cinnamon until finely ground.* Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.

Add butter and granulated sugar; beat on medium speed until fluffy**. Mix in vanilla and egg. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Halve the dough, shape into two disks, and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (up to two days).  

Preheat oven to 375. Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit for five minutes. Then, roll out one disk at a time on a lightly floured surface to  approximately 1/8 inch thickness. Cut circles (or squares depending on your flutted cutter***) and cut out centers of half the squares (the linzer cutter set that I use is posted on my amazon widget). Place cookies on parchment paper and refirgerate for 20 minutes.  Remove from refrigerator and bake for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.  

Meanwhile, heat jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced and thickened (about 7 minutes), let cool. ****
Sprinkle cut out cookies with confectioners sugar. Spread jam onto uncut squares and top with cut out squares. 

Photo by Meg McCluskey

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days, refrigerated for 5 days, or place in the freezer for 1 month (just be sure to separate each layer with parchment paper). 

* Be careful not to pulse too much or else it will turn into a paste 
** I advise that you scrape the sides of the bowl while mixing the butter, vanilla, eggs an flour in order to make a homogenous mixture. 
*** You can normally find flutted cutters pretty easily around the holidays  I found this set at Michaels
**** When I heated my jam it reduced, but it didn't really thicken that much until it had cooled.  However, I only heated mine for 3-5 minutes, but it worked perfectly! 

Ok now its YOUR turn!  Start sharing those yummy recipes!!! :)


  1. I am so impressed with all your creations!
    I'm very proud of you....Keep studying ;-)

  2. Grandma Florence’s Pumpkin Cookies – A Christmas Tradition
    2 Cups Solid Pumpkin
    6 Cups Flour
    3 Cups Sugar
    1 tsp. Salt
    3 tsp. Baking Powder
    2 tsp. Cinnamon
    1 ½ Cups Crisco
    4 Eggs
    3 tsp. Vanilla
    3 tsp. Baking Soda

    Mix eggs, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin together, then add remaining ingredients. Mix well in mixer.

    Fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1 cup of chopped walnuts, if desired. Drop cookie dough on greased cookie sheet, or line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    Bake 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes

    This recipe makes several cookies! I always make a full batch at Christmas, but half the recipe if I make them throughout the year.

  3. The cookie I can never seem to stop eating at Christmas time is actually called a 7 layer cake. It's made and baked like a cake and then cut up into bite size cookies. I don't have the recipe here at school, but I will try and get it over the break :)

  4. Ally's Chocolate Chip Cookies

    3 cups rolled oats
    1 cup milk
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup margarine
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak the rolled oats in the milk for at least ten minutes.
    2.Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the margarine, brown sugar and white sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Add the sifted ingredients, and mix well. Then stir in the oat mixture and chocolate chips.
    3.Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are golden brown. Cool on baking sheets or remove to cool on wire racks.

  5. What a great alternative to the botched cookie party! Next year's will have to be a complete blow out to make up for it. After all, you'll be in Chicago then anyway, so we can join forces.

    Here's the best sugar cookie cutout recipe I've found. My twist? Add 1 tsp almond extract in addition to the vanilla bean. They're flaky, buttery, and hold their shape well in baking. Yum!

    16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room
    3/4 cup sugar
    3 egg yolks
    1 piece vanilla bean, about 2 inches long
    1 tsp. almond extract
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    Colored sugars and decorating pens

    Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and, using a small, sharp knife, scrape the seeds into the butter mixture. Mix well.

    In a sifter, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the flour mixture directly onto the butter mixture. Reduce the speed to low and beat until well mixed.

    Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball, then flatten the balls into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (The dough can be prepared up to 3 days ahead.) Let it soften slightly at room temperature before continuing.

    Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

    On a lightly floured work surface, roll out a dough disk 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. Transfer the cutouts to the prepared baking sheets. Gather up and reroll the scraps and cut out more cookies. Repeat with the remaining dough disks.

    Bake until the cookies are golden on the edges, about 8 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Decorate the cookies as desired with colored sugars and decorating pens. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Makes 24 to 30 cookies, depending on cutter size.

  6. Melissa, next year will be epic! Can't wait!

    Thanks for all of the posts ladies! I can't wait to try some of these yummy recipes :)

  7. I know I'm five days late.. but I thought I'd share anyways.. haha.
    I LOVE these cookies we make at Christmas where you take a mini resse's cup and surround it with peanut butter cookie dough and roll it into a little ball. You bake it however the dough recipe says to. They are delicious!!