Readers share favorite Christmas cookie recipes

Perfectly spiced gingerbread men are a holiday must. Courtesy art/Daily

From sugar cookies to gingerbread men, date treats to brownie cookies, try these sweet Christmas cookie recipes submitted by Northern Virginia Daily readers:

SUGAR COOKIES

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

Bake at 325 F for nine minutes. Cool and add icing.

(Recipe by Elizabeth Lewis, of Front Royal)

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GINGERBREAD MEN COOKIES

3 cups flour

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 sticks butter, slightly softened

3/4 cup molasses

2 Tablespoons milk

Combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Then mix in the brown sugar. In another bowl, mix together the molasses and milk until evenly combined. Cut up your butter into tablespoon pieces and sprinkle them over your flour mixture. With a pastry blender or knives or even with your fingers, work the butter into the dough until it resembles a fine meal. Then add a third of your molasses/milk mix to the bowl and combine. Repeat two more times until all the molasses/milk is incorporated into the flour.

By now, you should have a soft, even dough. Gather it into a ball and divide it in two. Place one half of the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll it to a 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat with the other dough half. Stack the two plastic wrap sandwiched dough sheets on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Once the dough is firm, remove it from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take one sheet of dough, flip it over and peel off the bottom piece of plastic wrap. Place the plastic wrap back on and flip it all back. Now peel off the top sheet of plastic wrap and begin cutting out your cookies with your cookie cutters, placing the cookies onto the parchment-lined trays as you cut. Bake the cookies for 8-11 minutes, depending on how large your cookies are (8 minutes for 3-inch shapes and up to 11 minutes for 5-inch shapes).

(Recipe by Tiffany Akers Hockman, of Strasburg)

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DATE TREATS

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1 beaten egg (I have also used four egg yolks from meringue puffs, and they worked just fine)

¼ teaspoon salt (I don’t add this if I’ve used salted butter)

8-10 oz. chopped dates

1 teaspoon vanilla 2 ½ C. Rice Krispies

Shredded coconut – l bag

Put the stick of butter on the “warming zone” (if you have one) on the stove until it just melts. Then add sugar, dates, egg and vanilla. If you don’t have a warming zone, melt the butter either in the microwave or on very low heat. The issue is when you add the sugar and eggs and dates you don’t want the eggs to scramble.

Stir the mixture constantly and heat on medium heat on the regular part of the stove until it’s all melted and comes to a boil. Boil for one minute.

Remove from stove and add Rice Krispies. Stir quickly.

Using 2 teaspoons (one to get the mixture, the other to push it into the coconut), roll the dough in the coconut and form it into a ball. You will get the hang of this after a while so you don’t burn your fingers. However you have to work quickly because the mixture stiffens up as it cools.

This recipe takes maybe 15 minutes start to finish.

(Recipe by Anne Boyd Earle, of Front Royal)

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REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUP COOKIE

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

3⁄4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 1⁄4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 box (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding.

1 cup milk chocolate

Chips – 20 to 25 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Preheat your oven at 350 F. Peel and cut the Reese’s into fourths. Don’t chop them. You don’t want them to fall apart. Tip: As soon as you are done cutting, put your peanut butter cups in the freezer and leave them there while you make the rest of the cookies. This will make them firm and they won’t melt away when you add them into your dough.

Beat soft butter, brown and white sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the eggs, beat well until creamy. Add the rest of your dry ingredients including the instant pudding. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Now it is time to take out those delicious chunks of peanut butter cups and add them to the batter. Stir it gently with a wooden spoon. Don’t over do it – you want to see and bite into those small chunks later.

Drop the batter by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. Bake for eight minutes. The first batch always takes an extra minute. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Cookies will get harder as they cool down.

When they are baked remove them from the cookie sheet to a wire rack. Enjoy!

(Recipe by Tina Lewis, of Stephens City)

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ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE CHIP BROWNIE COOKIES

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

3 large eggs

1 1/8 cup sugar

2 teaspoons instant coffee granules

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a double boiler (a small pan set within a larger pan of simmering water), combine the unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of chocolate chips and butter, stirring until melted. Remove the smaller pan containing the chocolate from the double boiler and set it aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs, sugar and instant coffee granules on high speed until very thick and mixture forms a ribbon when whisk is lifted, about three3 minutes.

Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the bowl, whisking just until combined.

Turn off the stand mixer. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and stir just until combined. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Portion heaping tablespoons of batter about 2 inches apart on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are cracked and puffed on top. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.

(Recipe by Tina Lewis, of Stephens City)

Share your recipes

 

Share your favorite slow cooker and classic comfort food recipes with our readers by Dec. 28 and Super Bowl recipes by Jan. 17. Email them to amiller@nvdaily.com