Holiday Cookies – More on the Marathon

Every year, right around Thanksgiving, while everyone else is out struggling for parking spaces at the mall or fighting over limited quantity bargain gifts, I begin my Holiday Cookie Marathon in the relative safety of my kitchen. I spend each weekend making 3 or 4 batches of cookies and storing them in air tight plastic freezer bags in the freezer and logging my progress into a spreadsheet. Yes, I am a nerd.

I have found that the easiest way to do it is to make cookies which use similar or complimentary ingredients at the same time. It makes shopping for ingredients easier and simplifies the whole process. I make all the cookies which will require melted chocolate to decorate the top in the same day or weekend. I also consider which cookies will use egg yolks and which will require egg whites, making them at the same time as well.

Here is the current annual cookie line up.

First Weekend: Make Honey Almond Shortbreads, Cinnamon Stars, Orange Almond Macaroons and Almond Cookies.
Second Weekend: Make and Lemon Bars with Coconut Crust, Thumbprint Cookies and Mexican Wedding Cookies.
Third Weekend: Make Linzer Hearts, Viennese Cookies, Rum Balls and Basler Brunsli.
Fourth Weekend: Make Ginger Molasses Cookies, Cherry Winks and Corn Flake Wreaths.

Here’s a recipe to get you started. Happy baking!

Almond Cookies
from Baking Pure and Simple by Laura Arendsen Rowe – available soon

1½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature

1½ cups sugar

3 egg yolks

2 teaspoons almond extract

¼ cup water

5 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar for rolling cookies in before baking

1 cup whole raw almonds

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, almond extract and water to creamed mixture. Sift flour, baking powder and salt and add to mixture. Blend until combined. Shape dough into 1¼-inch balls, roll in sugar and place on a non-stick cookie sheet. Press to flatten with the flat bottom of a short wide glass dipped in sugar. Press a whole almond into the center of each cookie. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Makes 5 dozen.

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