I’ve had an opportunity recently to indulge in a pleasure that has evaded me for a couple of years. I’ve been baking Christmas goodies.
I love to cook and even have a separate file box containing recipes I make only during the holidays.
Among them is a fruitcake cookie recipe my sister gave me more than 40 years ago.
The recipe is long on ingredients and pricey to make because it includes candied cherries, pineapples and loads of pecans.
If you’ve priced any of these items in grocery stores, you know they are pricey. But as a newlywed, at about the time I first started making these, I found an old Farmers Cookbook at the library with a recipe for them. So, October I would dirty up the kitchen by simmering pineapples and cherries in hot liquid syrup and leave them to dry.
Last year, however, I was lucky enough to find some on the reduced aisle, even though the expiration dates were a year in advance, and I kept them in the pantry.
I also made a note that before I candied pineapple again I would use that dried kind you can find with fruits and nuts. I felt
certain it would emit the same texture and flavor. Because they are relatively less expensive one could indulge by buying the candied cherries.
The cookies turned out great. I made an enormous batch, a large portion of which I will share. But, I plan to save some for myself to enjoy with coffee on a wintery day.
My daughter came along just as I had finished making Scandinavian almond bars. She called later for the recipe because they were so yummy.
I found that recipe in a vintage Better Homes and Gardens “Cookies for Christmas” book, listed as one of the editor’s favorites. Beth and her husband concurred.
Next, came chocolate cherry bites.
Let’s just say that my success with these was limited.
They tasted great but looked like flat rounds of chocolate with a dollop of frosting with a lone cherry sticking up in the middle: long on taste but short on presentation. I won’t be trying them anymore.
Lastly, I tackled spritz.
Spritz are butter cookies named after the German word “spritzen,” meaning to squirt.
The recipe is relatively simple.
The trick comes when shaping them with a cookie press.
I have had good luck making these in the past until this year.
I rolled the dough into the pastry tube at room temperature, as instructed, but the cookies would not hold their shape when pressed.
I was reading suggestions online about how to fix this problem when my husband, Tommy, came along.
Intrigued by the cookie press itself, he inquired about its purpose.
When I told him I was thinking about writing an article about how frustrating it was and donating the press to the 10th person who contacted me, he suggested, “Maybe, you want to donate it to the fifth person because after reading how frustrating it is you might not have 10 requests.”
If you would like to become the owner of a slightly used, yet in very good condition, cookie press or want recipes for any of the above, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will happily share any of the recipes above and give the fifth person who uses the word “cookie press” in the subject line my castoff and deliver it within a reasonable distance.
Happy baking, everyone.
’Til next week.