Black Friday Christmas Cookies

Forget shopping on Black Friday! You couldn’t drag me to the mall today. The amount of people and chaos can never make up for any fabulous deals the stores may try to entice me with.

For years, the day after Thanksgiving has been Annual Cookie Baking Day for my family. This continued after I got married. Here are four of our favorite recipes that we tend to make year after year. It doesn’t feel like Christmas without them:

Lemon Kiss Cookies
(Nean’s ultimate FAVORITE!; recipe from a friend)

  • 1+1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon extract
  • 2+3/4 cup flour
  • 1+1/2 cup almonds (finely chopped)
  • 14 oz bag chocolate kisses
  • powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp shortening
  1. Beat butter, sugar, and lemon extract until light and fluffy.
  2. Add flour and almonds and beat at low speed until well blended.
  3. Cover, refrigerate at least an hour for easier handling.
  4. Shape scant Tbsp chilled dough around each kiss, covering completely. Roll into ball.
  5. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until bottom edges are light golden brown.
  6. Cool 1 minute; remove from sheets; cool completely.
  7. Lightly sprinkle cooled cookies with powdered sugar.
  8. In small saucepan over low heat, melt choc. chips & shortening, stirring to smooth. Drizzle over cookies.

(Makes aprox. 6 dozen)

Soft Ginger Cookies
(So much better than hard ginger snaps; from “Taste of Home” Magazine)

  • 1+1/2 cup shortening
  • 2+1/2 cup sugar (divided)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  1. Cream shortening and 2 cups of sugar. Add egg, molasses and vanilla; mix well.
  2. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  3. Chill for about an hour for easier handling.
  4. Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in remaining sugar.
  5. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Cool on wire racks.

(Makes aprox. 8 dozen)

Eggnog Snickerdoodles
(Mmmmm… a festive twist to an old PA favorite; from “Country Woman Christmas”)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1+1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp rum extract
  • 2+3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Cream first five ingredients
  2. Mix last four ingredients and gradually add to creamed mixture
  3. Chill for about an hour for easier handling.
  4. Roll into 1 inch balls and into a mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsp nutmeg
  5. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

(Makes aprox. 6-7 dozen)

Cranberry-Orange Oatmeal Cookies
(Holiday twist to my dad’s & hubby’s favorite cookies; adapted from an Oregon Extension recipe)

  • 1+1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 6 cups oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups crasins
  • zest of one orange
  1. Cream wet ingredients
  2. Gradually add dry ingredients
  3. Drop by rounded tsp on cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

(Makes 9 dozen)

We’ll make others from time to time (like Peanut Butter, Pumpkin, or whatever other nifty new recipe we come across), but these are the tried and true!

Happy Holidays! May your holiday be sweet!

Happy birthday, Kiddos!

Zoë’s birthday was yesterday and Dante’s birthday will be on Monday. So we had a bunch of family over this evening to celebrate by eating cake (blueberry at Dante’s request) and opening gifts (even though they were all told they didn’t need to bring any). Unfortunately, Zoë has been teething and just got her one year shots today, so she was miserable. Dante has been fighting a cold/allergy thing with an ear infection for the past couple weeks that decided to flare up again this afternoon too, so he was a bit hyper-sensitive too. Over all, it was a good evening though. Now we’re happy to have the kids in bed and a few moments to breathe. 🙂

Hubby was so good to me today. When I returned from taking Zoë to her appointment this morning, he’d already baked the cake and vacuumed all the floors for me. Then, this afternoon, he let me take a nap while he ran out to the Apple Store (real chore for him, I’m sure) to replace my laptop cord that one of the kiddos tripped over or pulled on too hard this past week.

Moments like this make me really proud of the wonderful family that God gave me!

Big brother shows baby sister what to do with this birthday cake thing.
And Baby Girl is NOT impressed!

They grow so fast…

Well, the kids are growing and changing so fast and I’m horrible at keeping this blog updated for some reason. Here’s a quick update on how they are doing, because I frequently have people asking!

Dante is as precocious as ever at nearly five-years-old. He’s highly sensitive and a perfectionist (taking after mommy), as well as highly intelligent (taking after daddy). He’s got a fair mix of our personalities including the obligatory OCD tendencies. And he talks… a lot. So much it’s hard to get a word in with him around. He’s reading at a 2nd or 3rd grade level, and his current favorite television show is “Sid, the Science Kid”. He loves to ask questions and learn anything and everything about the world around him. Obviously his brain NEVER shuts off as he wakes us at about 6:00-ish every day with a whole new batch of “Why does…?” questions. He loves to play on the computer and still loves to do crafts with mommy (even though we don’t have as much time for this as we did before the little one came along). He’s adjusting really well to having a sibling, but is at an age where he is having trouble expressing his feelings, so he becomes frustrated and melts down or starts picking on his sister. We’re working on trying to implement some one on one time when we can… sadly not as often as any of us would like. Please pray for Dante’s health this winter as his allergies and asthma have already made him extra-sensitive to colds and respiratory stuff.

Dante helping Daddy lower the crib for Zoë

Zoë is growing so fast and it’s hard to believe that she’ll be a year old in a couple weeks. She’s got two adorable little teeth on the bottom with two more on either side not far behind, I’m sure. I don’t know what happened to the top teeth, but they aren’t coming in yet. She’s now pulling herself up to stand fairly regularly, but I haven’t caught her letting go yet or taking any steps. She loves to bounce in her swing, and dances when there is music on. She’s got a couple words in her vocabulary (the typical “mama, dada, baba-bottle, and Ba-boo for peek-a-boo. I think she’s trying to talk to Dante when she says “Didi” She also says “nana” which is either Nana, night-night, or banana in context. She’s starting to actually communicate and understand us. The other day at lunch, she looked from me to the fruit bowl and back and asked, “Nana?” When I told her she had to eat her other food first, she promptly cleaned up her tray and asked again! I was rewarded with a huge grin when I placed the banana on her tray. Please pray for Zoë’s health as well this winter; no one wants a sick baby!

Look what Zoë can do!