Every year I put together a list of cookies that I’m going to bake and give out to my friends and family. I call it my Christmas Cookie Tray. Truthfully, my list is long, and I never find the time to make each cookie recipe on the list. I do have a standard list of cookies (old faithful I call them) that I make each year, but I always get ambitious and add others that I would love to make like Venetians (layered Italian cookies) and macaroons. It never happens. I usually bake my cookie tray over a weekend, sometimes in just one day. I start around 8 a.m. and finish about 8 or 9 p.m. It’s a long day, and I find that I scratch cookies off the list as the day turns into night. Occasionally, I’m real ambitious, and I add a couple of fudge or home made candies to the mix!
I do try to make a little of everything. My favorites are cookies that I can scoop out of the bowl and drop on a cookie sheet. It shortens the amount of time I spend prepping ingredients and decorating cookies. My kids and grand kids like the chocolate crinkle cookies the best, and they won’t leave me alone until I agree to bake them first. My daughter also loves vanilla glazed ricotta cheese cookies and Italian butter cookies. My mom’s favorites are nut butter balls (Italian wedding cakes) and jam thumbprints. There’s a little more work involved with the thumbprint cookies than just dropping the dough on the cookie sheet. I bake them early and fill them with raspberry jam later in the day. My dad loves sugar cookies and the kids like to decorate them with Christmas colored sprinkles. It’s not Christmas without sugar cookies, so these are a must bake cookie. He also loves the anise biscotti, Italian egg biscuits, and the Amaretti biscotti with almonds. Sometimes I use a cookie press when I make sugar cookies then I dust them with colored sugar. I would love to make traditional iced sugar cookies, but I’m not willing to invest the time. I have a large collection of Christmas cookie cutters, but I rarely use them. I take them out every year and wash them, gather everything I need for the icing, then cave at the last-minute and drop small balls of dough in green and red holiday sprinkles. Perhaps one day my list will be more reasonable and I could fit in some much-needed decorating time. For me—My favorite cookies are the pignoli amaretti and pizzelles, but I will eat just about any of them. Clearly.
I put together my long list of cookies early this morning. I added four new cookies to the list and dropped off two others. Maybe not. Thursday is Christmas Eve. I still have Christmas shopping to do. I’ve already pushed baking off until Wednesday. My standard cookie tray is winning out over the new recipes. Maybe I’ll make a few changes next year.
What cookies are on your Christmas cookie tray?