Joyful Christmas Baking

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Fill your home with the Christmas spirit by baking some of these great cookie recipes. Your children will love it, and it is a great way to spend time with you family this holiday season.

This time of year always brings me joy. This year, however, my feelings are tempered by the recent loss of my dear brother. I miss him terribly and my sadness will endure for a long time. I take comfort in the secure knowledge that I will see him again, and that is related to the reason we experience joy at Christmas. We celebrate the awakening of pure love and redemption into the world by the coming of our Saviour. This is manifested by our festive celebrating and gift giving.

Christmas baking has always been a part of my family’s Christmas celebrations. I recently baked Christmas cookies at the home of a good friend who has young children. Their joyful exuberance as they devoured the cookies fresh from the oven made me smile. I hope that you will try the recipes below and enjoy the cookies with your family this holiday season.

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Raspberry Filled Linzer Cookies

⅔ cup almond powder (small packages available ready to use in all Co-op grocery stores)

½ cup light brown sugar (divided)

2½ cups enriched Co-op all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cinnamon

1 cup d’Or unsalted Co-op butter

1 d’Or co-op egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. icing sugar

1 jar pure Co-op raspberry jam

Heat oven to 350°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl combine the almond powder and ¼ cup of the light brown sugar.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a large bowl beat the butter and the remaining light brown sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then reduce the speed and gradually add the almond mixture and the flour mixture just until combined.

Divide the dough in half, shape into balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

On a well floured surface roll out the cookie dough to a ¼ inch thickness. Use a round 2 to 2½ inch cookie cutter cut out rounds and place on prepared sheets.

Then use a ¾ to 1 inch cookie cutter to cut out centers from half of the cookie rounds you already prepared.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes rotating the sheets half-way through the cooking time.

Cool the cookies completely. Then spread the jam on all the whole cookies and place a cut out cookie on top gently pressing to secure. Sprinkle with icing sugar and eat them up.

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Brown Sugar Spiced Cut Out Cookies

¾ cup unsalted d’Or Co-op butter

1½ dark brown sugar

2 d’Or eggs

1 tbsp. milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

3 cups enriched all-purpose Co-op flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

⅛ tsp. ground cloves

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture a cup at a time until a soft but not sticky dough is formed.

Divide the dough into three equal pieces and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

On a well- floured surface roll each dough piece to a ¼ inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place on prepared sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes then cool until set.

Decorate with royal icing and sprinkles.

I took the easy way out and purchased prepared colored icing from the store and got some very decorative candies from Chapters bookstore.

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Nona’s Shortbread Cookies

2 cups d’Or Gold softened butter

½ cornstarch

1 cup icing sugar

3 cups enriched Co-op all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and beat until well combined then add the icing sugar ½ cup at a time beating after each addition. Add the salt and flour 1 cup at a time until well incorporated and fluffy.

At this point you can add some chocolate chips to the dough if desired. They can be rolled into 1- inch balls or piped onto the cookie sheets creating a whirl design and then decorated with candied cherries or sprinkles to make then festive.

Bake for 10 minutes.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Slice and Bake Cookies

1 cup unsalted d’Or Co-op butter

⅔ cup icing sugar

2 d’Or Co-op egg yolks

⅛ tsp. salt

zest of 2 fresh lemons

¼ cup poppy seeds

2 cups enriched Co-op all-purpose flour

Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, add the salt, lemon zest and the poppy seeds. Beat just until incorporated, then add the flour and beat again until well incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a piece of wax paper and form into a ball. Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Form each piece into a log that is 1¼ inch thick, wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

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Pecan Thumb Print Cookies

1 cup d,Or Co-op butter

½ cup brown sugar

2 cups enriched all-purpose Co-op flour

2 d’Or Co-op eggs separated

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. almond extract

2 cups enriched all-purpose Co-op flour

2 cups finely chopped nuts

1 cup pure Co-op jam (I used cherry but any flavour will work)

Preheat oven to 350°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, salt and almond extract and beat until light and creamy. Add the flour one cup at a time until well incorporated.

Beat the egg whites until frothy in a small bowl. Place the nuts in another small bowl.

Shape the cookie dough into 1- inch balls, dip each ball into the egg whites and then roll in the nuts.

Place 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets and make a small indentation using your thumb in the top of each cookie.

Bake for 8 minutes remove from the oven and place a teaspoon of jam into the indentation. Bake another 8 minutes and let them cool.

Using a sharp knife slice each log into cookies that are ⅓ inch thick. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets leaving a ½ inch space between them.

Bake for 13 to 14 minutes just until edges are slightly brown.

Log cookies are very convenient as they can be frozen for up to a month and you can prepare them fresh as needed.

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