Dec. 19, 2011 update: I posted this recipe last year, but after baking cookies with these people again Saturday, I couldn't resist reposting it. This time, we used peppermint extract instead of almond, and the result was so good. Yum. I highly recommend these.
Original post: Dec. 14, 2010
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is an annual cookie-baking day with my sister and two family friends, Sally and Don Wolf of Paxton.
We think we've been doing it about 18 years. It started when my parents were going to my dad's company holiday party, and they asked Sally and Don if my sister and I could spend the night. They agreed, and we made Christmas cookies. We've continued the tradition ever since, and I have vague memories of things that were going on during different years. I recall a long discussion about amoeba, which Allison had been studying the year she was in eighth grade, us getting our driver's licenses and then going off to college. My sister and I have both been working professionals for several years now, but we still bake cookies with Sally (Don helps, too) each year. Sometimes we have to bake in January, but we always manage to get together.
The tradition always includes plenty of dough for nibbling, all kinds of cool sugars and sprinkles for decorating and plenty of lively conversation. We tend to make snickerdoodles, chocolate-chip cookies, roll-out sugar cookies, this delicious oatmeal-raisin-cinnamon-chip cookie recipe from the back of the cinnamon-chip bag, among others.
We baked this year's cookies Saturday, and for the first time, we tried making spritz cookies. These are another example of how delicious a baked good can be when you start with a pound of butter. Here's the recipe, which was originally from late Paxton resident Lois Watkins. Sally had clipped it out of the Paxton Record years ago.
1 pound butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
5 cups flour
Cream butter. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add extract, then gradually mix in flour. Put through cookie press. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for six to eight minutes. Makes 12 dozen.
Photo is from this website. I took my camera, fully intending to take photos for this blog post. The result? Only a few photos, none featuring cookies.