As I write this post on what would have been my grandmother’s birthday, I am reminded of her artistic talents and how much we all enjoyed her cooking.
My grandmother’s cooking roots actually started with baking. So I have included a couple of her simple, yet really good Christmas cookies and angel food cake recipes.
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Vanilla Pudding
These cookies are usually a happy medium between fluffy and chewy. I love the texture the vanilla pudding adds to the cookies.
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (room temperature)
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package vanilla instant pudding
1 package (or 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugars, vanilla pudding mix, and vanilla. Beat until it has a creamy texture. Gradually beat in the eggs. Gradually add the salt, baking soda, and flour. Stir in the chocolate chips. Then, CHILL DOUGH IN THE REFRIGERATOR FOR AN HOUR.
Remove the dough from the fridge. Drop dough by about a tablespoonful for each cookie – about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly brown on the edges.
Cool cookies slightly and then remove the cookies from the cookie sheet. AFTER EACH BATCH, RUN THE COOKIE SHEET UNDER COLD WATER & DRY before placing the next batch of dough on it.
Cinnamon Sugar Angels
(I used this recipe from the “Spirit of Christmas”- Baker’s Dozen by Leisure Arts, Inc.)
¾ cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 container (15 ounces) creamy vanilla frosting
½ cup coarse decorating sugar
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium until it has a fluffy texture. Gradually mix in sugar, followed by the egg and vanilla. Continue beating well. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and then gradually add to the butter mixture. Shape the dough into a ball and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Use an angel shaped cookie cutter and carefully transfer the gentle dough to lightly greased baking sheets.
Bake 6-7 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool. Microwave the frosting on high for 45 seconds, and then spoon frosting on top of the cooled cookies. Sprinkle with coarse decorating sugar and let dry.
Grandma’s Cocoons (Pecan Cookies)
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
2 cups sifted flour
5 heaping tbsp. powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans)
In a mixing bow, cream the butter, flour, and sugar together
Add vanilla and nuts to the mixture
Work into a stiff dough
Form the dough into egg shaped cookies
Roll the cookies in powdered sugar (My addition: If you brush the cookies with light corn syrup, the powdered sugar will “stick” better)
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
Grandma’s Angel Food Cake
1 package yellow cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding
¾ cup cooking oil
¾ cup cream sherry (Sherry cooking wine)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Mix all ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes
Pour mixture into a well buttered angel food / Bundt cake pan
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes (Check with a toothpick)
Let it cool, remove cake and sprinkle with powdered sugar
Green tip: Package cookies in mason jars, tins, or something like a cute holiday kitchen cloth, tied with a ribbon. By using reusable gift packing for your homemade gifts, you avoid wasting materials. Plus, such gift packaging can be reused and enjoyed by its gift recipient.
More Christmas cookies and baking recipes to follow! Happy Holidays!