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It's time for Christmas cookies

It's time for Christmas cookies. Today I'm giving you some of my favorites - the ones we bake year after year. I know you'll love them. These really are Aunt Clara's cookies - not my Aunt Clara but someone else's. I used to make thumb print cooki...

It's time for Christmas cookies. Today I'm giving you some of my favorites - the ones we bake year after year. I know you'll love them.

These really are Aunt Clara's cookies - not my Aunt Clara but someone else's. I used to make thumb print cookies and loved them then, but once I tasted these, they've been one of the first ones I bake every Christmas - they're just right!

Aunt Clara's Thumb Print Cookies

1 cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar


2 egg yolks (don't discard whites)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

Coconut and/or chopped nuts

Mix butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and vanilla.

In separate bowl and whisk the flour and salt and add to the first ingredients, mixing well.

Roll dough into small balls and then dip in lightly beaten egg whites and then in nuts or coconut. Pop onto parchment-lined cookie sheets and press thumb into center of each ball.


Bake at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes, then fill depression in ball with cherry, jelly or nut. Finish baking until cookie is lightly browned - no need to bake until dark brown or anything like that or the cookie will be dry. Let it be a little moist inside.

I usually mix cookies by hand. I mix the shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a larger bowl. Then I whisk the flour, salt, etc. in a smaller bowl. This method works especially well when making several kinds of cookies like I do for Christmas. I can keep it up for quite a few batches - until my arm gets sore.

This lady was a good friend of my mother's. She was a wonderful cook. This recipe makes lots and lots of cookies, but everyone loves them, so they really disappear. I usually sneak some into the freezer and pull them out when I get depressed in February. Yum.

Vina's Spritz

1 pound of butter (room temperature)

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

4 ½ cups flour


¼ teaspoon salt


Almond extract

Mix your nice soft butter with the sugar (I use my mixer for this one). Add egg and then salt and flavorings. Add flour and mix well. I mix by hand. Put on gloves if you're going to add your red or green coloring by hand, or your hands will be colored for days, no matter how you wash them.

Use that handy dandy, fun cookie press for these. Bake at 350 degrees until very lightly browned around the bottom edge - don't bake them brown all over.

How about a Greek cookie recipe? Here's a good one.

Greek Kourabiedes

1 cup butter, nicely softened


? cup powdered sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons brandy (or 2 teaspoons vanilla or mixture of vanilla and almond extract)

½ teaspoon vanilla if you use brandy

2 ¼ cups flour

? cup walnuts or almonds, chopped finely

Beat butter with mixer. Add sugar and baking powder, then brandy, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix your flour and nuts and then add to bowl and stir in by hand.


Shape cookies into 1 inch balls and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. They won't be brown all over either. Cool well and then roll in powdered sugar a couple of times until they look like little snowballs.

This is one of the nicest doughs I have made. I sometimes take a shortcut for Christmas and make my tea cakes and crescents from the same dough. I divide the dough in 3 pieces, make balls and add walnuts or almonds to one for the Greek cookies, make balls and leave plain for tea cakes, and leave plain and form into crescents for the other. Makes a pretty cookie plate presentation, and who will know they all started the same?

I got this recipe years ago from a lady named Julie Mattson. It has become a family favorite and "have to make" too.

Swedish Nuts

1½ cups skinless almonds

2 cups walnuts or pecans or a mixture of both

½ cup butter

2 egg whites


1 cup sugar

Dash of salt

Use a combination or just one type of nut for these. Sometimes it's fun to use mixed nuts. Mix the nuts in a cake pan and brown in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Remove from pan and cool while doing the next step.

Melt butter in pan that nuts were in. Beat egg whites stiff and add sugar and salt slowly (if your nuts were salted, don't bother with more salt).

Fold cooled nuts into whites and spread in the buttered pan. Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees, turning at least every 5 minutes. Bake until all butter is absorbed. This will burn easily, so turn often and be sure to watch the corners and keep them moving. I like to make them as white as possible but they usually turn out pretty tan.

These nuts may be Swedish, but everybody loves them. They make nice gifts too - pop them into a little bag and top them with a pretty red ribbon.

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