Christmas Cookies the Easy Way

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

So I am not sure that I am totally into baking a bunch of cookies this year for Christmas (Yes, my middle name is Scrooge!).  There is so much work involved.  Yet, I want to have some cookies at my disposal in case I need to make a tray of them to take to an event.  So I have started making dough and freezing it!  This is working well.  All I will have to do is pull out the dough a few minutes before I am ready to bake. 

There are three types of cookies in my book: sliced, dropped, and cut-out (sounds like a horror flick, doesn't it? LOL). For sliced cookies, I am rolling up the logs and wrapping them in plastic wrap and foil to put in the freezer. Slice and bake later.  For drop cookies, I am putting balls of dough on wax paper on a cookie sheet, letting the dough balls freeze and then placing them in Ziploc bags in the freezer for later.  For cut-outs, I have read that you can roll out the dough, cut out the shapes, put them on wax paper on cookie sheets and freeze.  Peel them off the wax paper and place in a freezer container.  You can then pull them out and bake when needed.

Here are some of the cookies that we are doing this year by freezing the dough now and baking later.

Thumbprint Cookies

1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup PLANTERS Chopped Pecans
1-1/4 cups raspberry preserves

HEAT oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add flour, baking soda and pecans; mix well. Refrigerate 30 min.

SHAPE dough into 1-inch balls. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Indent centers.

BAKE 10 min. Fill each cookie with about 1 tsp. preserves. Bake 8 to 10 min. or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets 2 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Orange and Chocolate Checkerboard Cookies (These are cool looking!)

Gingerbread Cookies

1/2 C sugar
1/2 C shortening
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/3 C buttermilk
1/2 C molasses
2 1/2 C flour

Combine all ingredients, except flour, in a large mixing bowl. Beat at low speed for 1 minute. Gradually add the flour and mix for 1 more minute. (Dough may be a little gooey, you could add a little more flour) Refrigerate over night, covered.

Roll out on floured surface, using 1/3 of the dough at a time, keeping the remainder of the dough refrigerated. Bake cut out shapes @ 375* for 5-8 minutes.

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