Last year I wrote a bit about some of the cookies and candies I enjoy making every Christmas. I made all of those again this year while also trying out some new recipes. If I was smarter I would save all these things up and do a Christmas baking countdown next year, but I guess I’m not that smart.
Chocolate nut caramels. These are one of my Christmas favorites. I often struggle even with a candy thermometer to get these to come out just right. This year was perfect. Even after all these years I still don’t feel like I have a knack for cutting them though. I feel like when my mom makes them she always manages to cut them into perfect little squares where mine always wind up all kinds of shapes and sizes. Oh well at least this way people know they’re home made I guess.
These cookie cutter sugar cookies are the ones I truly think of as Christmas cookies. They are of course the most labor intensive and with trying so many other cookies this year on top of having the neverending cold of doom since Thanksgiving I only made half as many of these this year compared to what I usually bake. A number of people have told me this is the best recipe for this kind of cookie that they’ve ever had, so apparently it’s a winner.
Good old Betty Crocker’s spritz recipe never lets me down. These are another holiday staple for me and it’s nice that they’re pretty easy to make. Plus I like any cookie I feel like I can deploy red hots on. Though I’m a bad wife because I refuse to make them with almond extract instead of vanilla like my husband prefers.
The final recipe I make every year is again another Betty Crocker recipe for Russian Tea Cakes. All the previous Christmas treats are things I make because my mother always made them at Christmas. Russian Tea Cakes are my own addition to the holiday baking routine as they are one of my favorite cookies. I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of these before I boxed them up for storage, but you can kind of get an idea of how many I made from this pic.
As I mentioned I tried out some new recipes this year. Some of them I will definitely make again perhaps even outside of Christmas, while some were disappointing and I won’t bother with again. First up in the disappointing category was this recipe for Praline cookies from the Pampered Chef. I ran across it on a blog I read and the blogger was exclaiming about how these were the best cookies she ever had and everyone at her father’s office raved about them. They’re ok, but certainly far from the best cookie I have ever eaten. I won’t be making these again, but they weren’t so horrible that I didn’t deploy them into people’s gifts.
Same goes for these red velvet, white chocolate chip cookies. I thought red velvet, white chocolate chip cookies would be extremely festive. However, as you can see they didn’t turn out very red despite adding way more red food coloring than the recipe called for. Additionally, the flavor was just so-so. If I’m going to essentially wind up with what looks like a regular chocolate white chocolate chip cookie I have better recipes for those than the way these turned out.
Now onto more successful recipes. Even though I refuse to make the spritz cookies according to my husband’s specifications I’m not a completely horrible wife because I did make peanut butter blossoms for him because they are his favorite. Despite generally like the chocolate peanut butter combination these have never been one of my favorite cookies and thus I’ve never made them before. Since I was trying out so many new recipes this year I thought it would be nice to add this one for my husband. There are a thousand versions of this recipe out there. I went with the Betty Crocker one because between it and the Hershey’s Kiss one it had the higher rating. Note that this recipe is for cookie exchange quantities, so I actually halved it and still wound up with almost 4 dozen cookies.
I made cookie bags for all my student workers, so I wanted to make a recipe that dished up a large number of festive cookies with minimal effort. I have made this recipe for home made funfetti cookies before and decided it would work well for this purpose. Last time I made them for a Halloween party and used orange and black sprinkles. For Christmas I of course got some red, green, and white Christmas sprinkles.
I have had this recipe for salted chocolate covered caramel cookies rolling around for awhile but had never made it before. It sounded delicious and I decided it was finally time to give it a whirl. The cookies turned out just as delicious as they sound. I will definitely be baking these again.
Finally, I tried out these chocolate covered cherry cookies. I’m pretty sure I snagged the link for this recipe from my friends Pete and Sarah, and if this isn’t the recipe they use than at least the idea for these cookies came from them. They are absolutely delicious and I will certainly be adding this to my regular holiday baking routine. I might even make some more when I get to my family’s for Christmas because I think they would be a big hit.
For now all the cookies and caramels have been boxed and bagged up and either given our or are waiting to be mailed to their intended recipients. All the baking is a lot of work, but it’s something I love doing so I don’t mind. Hopefully all the tasty treats will bring some Christmas joy to everyone who gets to eat them.