Friday, January 04, 2008


It had been a few holiday seasons since I had really made Christmas cookies. This year seemed like a good time since Little A likes to help me cook! I made a pretty extensive list of ideas and then cut it down to the ones that had some similar ingredients. I really wanted to make my Grandmothers authentic Scottish Shortbread...but it required some special ingredients and measurements that seemed like they needed a day of their own to explore.

I browsed through a couple cookbooks to come up with my list...

My New Favorite is
Martha Stewart's Chocolate Crackle Cookies

These tasted like little chewy brownie cookies - they were amazing! The hardest part of making them was rolling the dough into balls since it was so sticky...but the end results were well worth it.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

These are always a big hit in my family. I don't think that they lasted anywhere close to a week because they were eaten so quickly. I was interested to see that Hershey has packaged a new brand of Kiss this holiday season. It was a bag of kisses that were already unwrapped so that you could quickly make the cookies. But since I had Little A helping me - we opted for the wrapped kisses which kept her busy while I was making the peanut butter balls and baking them in the oven. She took her job VERY seriously!

Thumb Print Cookies

Martha's version of the cookie calls for almonds - we always used chopped walnuts. I imagine whatever kind of nut you had on hand would be fine. I used an organic raspberry jam for the filling and it was incredibly tasty. It had a nice tart tang to it which was a good compliment to the plainness of the cookie dough.

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

This was the second time that I made biscotti. I used the silpat when I baked this and it worked the best to help achieve the right biscotti shape for the cookies. I will certainly try biscotti - I am not sure I will use this recipe again though. It had a lot of cornmeal in it for texture and I am not sure if I care for that the best. They are all gone though - I was surprised that my husband ate them quite a few times with coffee and tea.

We did not get to make Mexican Tea Cakes or Cut-Outs this year for Christmas. But we certainly got to eat lots of them anyway.

Cookie Flops
I did have two recipes that I tried this year that I did not care for. Both the Chocolate Pretzels and the Almond Pignoli cookies that I made from Martha Stewart recipes did not turn out as I had hoped.

The chocolate pretzels lacked any real taste - they kind of tasted flat. I also did not have the right sugar to make them look so pretty. I used sugar in the raw. These were just really plain. I am wondering if I did something wrong because Martha's look really tasty.

The almond pignoli cookies were hard to make as the dough was almost too sticky to work with. It made a nice chewy cookie - but the almond taste (which I normally love) was overwhelming. They are still sitting on my counter...time to toss them!

Cookies I would like to try out in the new year include:

Pizzelle - the only trouble is that I don't want to own an appliance that only serves one function. So I have been peeking on ebay for one like this or this. Maybe as an Easter treat!

Grandma's Scottish Shortbread - made with rice flour

Rainbow Cookies - I had these once here along with some other tasty cookies...but wouldn't mind being able to make them myself.


All Things Jennifer said...

How brave to show your flops! ;)

My flops are hardly ever picture worthy! Ugh, I tried chocolate covered coffee beans! Ick! And almost anything I make with oatmeal comes out disastrous.

Mmmm cookies!

I saw those Kisses a few years ago without wrappers, but I usually buy my kisses at the 75% off Halloween Sale, and they come with wrappers.

Oh and the Martha thumbprint recipe that I use (not really) involves toasted hazelnuts. That Martha must have Cats in Her Beer! I like yours much better.

Dayna said...

well - ya know good with the bad.

That is funny about the oatmeal...who knew it could be so finicky - perhaps a try with the silpat will change your streak!

Ohhh I did not think about Halloween kisses on closeout. I agree once the wrapper is off - there is no telling. Awesome! I also found that if you are going to decorate with candy corn at Thanksgiving (think turkey sugar cookies) you best buy them at Halloween too.

Jess said...

I've been subjected to a Martha cookie recipie that flopped as well - the checkerboard cookies, which looked so cute and tasty. Not so much...

I'd love the shortbread recipie, if you don't mind sharing - that was on my list to make this year, and I never got around to it!

Dayna said...

Funny that you mention another MS cookie flop. Her empire is so much about perfection that when something flops I instantly assume it must have been on my end. I watched a movie made about her once (Martha Inc or something like that) where a woman approached Martha in a Kmart demo to tell her that she tried a cake and it didn't some out to which Martha bitingly responds it is your fault their is nothing wrong with the recipe. Cracks me up to think about it! Honestly the near unattainable perfection is why I like to try her projects...because if I get it right I feel like I have really struck it right! It feels like an accomplishment...a tad sick maybe - but thrilling none the less.

I will get you the Shortbread recipe soon!