Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On the ninth day of Christmas...

This post is part of a joint recipe share with some of my dear bloggy buddies. We decided we would all be making Christmas cookies at some point, and were interested in hearing about new experiments or family favorites from others. Can't wait to see what everyone else cooked up. Go over and visit Heather at This is the Day, mep at Not to Brag and Carabee at Land of Bean to see for yourself!

Our cookie making day took place at Grandma and Grandpa's house! We always go there at some point during the holiday season to make the rolled out sugar cookies I've been making since I was a little girl.

Here's some photos of the process:

We always do colored sugar and sprinkles rather than frosting, but my mom and I agree that we actually like the way frosting ones taste better.

O. bailed out early on, in favor of helping Grandpa construct the bird feeder kit we bought him for his birthday. Here they are in Grandpa's basement workshop.

And with the finished project!!
O. came back for the last couple of pans, and mostly enjoyed painting the egg whites on.
And look who else woke up!!
We had also planned to make some cookie press cookies -- J's favorites. We already made a batch a week ago, but they go quickly, and we wanted some more. I mixed up the dough while my mom held L., and loaded up the cookie press. I'm still not exactly sure what happened, but the whole mechanism got jammed up, and I ended up breaking my cookie press. This is not the first one I have broken. I'm pretty sure I'm on my third cookie press. I have no idea why I am incapable of making these cookies. Like I said, I made them with no problem a week ago. The dough seemed a little dry this time.
Possible culprits -- egg yolks that sat out too long, a portion of the butter replaced by margarine, or suspect cheap flour bought by my mom in a rush trip to the closest supermarket. (she also had two different recipes not work out as intended the next day, so who knows).
Whatever the case, I abandoned the cookie press and decided to make my other favorite instead. The dough is identical -- you just roll it into balls, flatten slightly and fill the dent with currant jelly before baking. These are called Banberry Tarts, and the recipe is my Great-great Aunt Margaret's. She was a renowned baker -- she worked as a cook for a wealthy family, and was the sweetest sweetest lady I've ever known. I cherish the items I have that were hers, including a spatula that works perfectly for removing cookies from a cookie sheet.
My sweet dad spent a good half hour trying to reassemble my blown out cookie press. He got it all back together and seemingly functioning. We'll see if it actually can shoot dough.
In all the mayhem, I didn't get any photos of completed product. The banberry tarts were not quite right -- far too crumbly. But they all taste good.
The sugar cookie recipe we use comes straight from our standby, the Betty Crocker cookbook, but here's the recipe for the Banberry Tarts.

Banberry Tarts
3/4 lb. butter (this works out to 3 sticks)
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
3 1/2 cups flour
vanilla (I use quite a bit -- almost a tablespoon)
Red currant jelly
Walnut or Pecan pieces (optional)

Mix together, make small rolls the size of a marble (a big one); dent with thumb. Put tart jelly in dent. Top with walnut or pecan (I omit these and they are good either way). Bake 20 min. at 350 degrees. Makes 8 dozen.

Do not chill this dough before baking! (that's the little note written in sharpie by my grandma on the original recipe card)


mep said...

I loved this little glimpse of holiday goodness and especially seeing your parents as the sweet and proud grandparents they are!

My mom makes something similar to Banberry Tarts, but with raspberry jam.

And, alas, I should have consulted Betty Crocker for a sugar cookie recipe. Too bad that cookbook is packed up in my crawl space as of last January since, you know, we were supposed to be moving. Urgh.

If only we could actually exchange our cookies, right?!

Heather said...

Yep, a REAL cookie exchange would be far better, but this will have to do for now.

LOVE the pictures! My sister made our grandpa's recipe for spritz cookies with the press, and they were delicious. I opted out this year...they are such a pain to make!

Your little guy looks so sweet all snuggled up in his seat :)

Stacia said...

If it makes you feel any better, I don't even know what a cookie press is. Thank goodness for handy dads and family recipes with sharpie notes in the margins! =>

CaraBee said...

I have never once attempted a cookie press. I have a feeling things would not go well for me either. I have terrible luck with such things. In fact, my cookie luck has been pretty bad lately. Which is why I'm that much more pleased with the success of the cookies for this endeavor!

Love the pictures of the kids, N and O are becoming such KIDS and L, my goodness, wasn't he just born? Got the announcement, btw, SO CUTE! They make things fun, for sure.

Have a very Merry Christmas!