Some of My Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes

The holidays always make me think of baking cookies with my mother.  Although these are not the same cookies of my early Christmas’s, they are some of the favorites I make for my family today.  I no longer remember where I originally found the recipes, but I know they are available on various websites. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

 

Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

Makes: 64 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate mini-morsels
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried cherries (you could use dried cranberries, dried appricots instead)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add powdered sugar, beating well.

Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate mini-morsels, cherries, and vanilla.

Line an 8″ square pan with aluminum foil, allowing foil to extend over edges of pan. Lightly grease foil and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Press dough into pan.

Bake at 325° for 40 minutes or until golden. Cool the shortbread 30 minutes or until slightly warm in pan. Use foil to gently lift the shortbread from pan. Cut shortbread into 1″ squares using a sharp knife. Roll shortbread squares in 1/2 cup granulated sugar if desired (I omit this step). Yield: about 5-1/2 doz

 

Double Drizzle Pecan Cookies

MAKES: 42 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups chopped pecans
  • CARAMEL DRIZZLE:
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE:
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape dough into 1-in. balls; roll in pecans. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets; flatten slightly. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small saucepan, bring brown sugar and cream to a boil. Remove from heat; whisk in confectioners’ sugar. Immediately drizzle over cookies.

In a microwave, melt chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cookies. Let stand until set. Store the cookies in an airtight container. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.

 

Cranberry Swirl Biscotti

MAKES: 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup cherry preserves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • GLAZE:
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°. Place cranberries, preserves and cinnamon in a food processor; process until smooth.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.

Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough into a 12×8-in. rectangle. Spread each with half of the cranberry mixture; roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side.

Place rolls 4 in. apart on a lightly greased baking sheet, seam side down. Bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Carefully transfer rolls to a cutting board; cool 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the rolls crosswise into 1/2-in. slices. Place slices upright on lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until centers are firm and dry. Remove from pans to wire racks.

In a small bowl, mix the glaze ingredients. Drizzle over warm cookies; cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container. Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen.

The Secret Life of Passwords

Passwords – we all have them. It can be a point of stress for many of us, but we can’t get away from them.  I came across this interesting article, The Secret Life of Passwords by Ian Urbina in The New York Times. It’s rather lengthy but well worth the read both for entertainment and for information on how we choose to protect our information.

CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS By Susan Wiggs

Candlelight Christmas

Logan O’Donnell owned a successful insurance business that he started to be near his son Charlie in a small town in upstate New York. However, when his ex-wife’s husband was transferred Oklahoma, he only gets to see Charlie during the summer and holidays. Logan sold his insurance business and bought a ski resort in Avalon, a town on the shores of Willow Lake. Though Logan has had his share of dates since the divorce, he is not ready for a serious relationship.

Darcy Fitzgerald is still reeling in the aftershock of her divorce from her unfaithful husband, Huntley Collins.  She is not ready for involvement with another man, especially one with a child, but when her best friend India introduces her to her brother Logan, Darcy cannot deny she is attracted to him.

The Fitzgerald’s and the Collins’ families go way back and they vacation and do holidays together. Darcy’s sister is married to her ex’s brother, and Darcy cannot bring herself to celebrating the holidays with her family since Huntley will be there. When India invites her to spend the holidays with her family, she accepts.

Will their pasts drive Logan and Darcy apart, or can the romantic backdrop of the wintry ski resort and the spirit of creating a Christmas to remember for Charlie and his cousins allow them to drop their guard?

This is a delightful read. Susan Wiggs is a master storyteller, and CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS is no exception.  Her characters are very believable and the plot has enough detail to keep interest high without overwhelming the reader. It is a quick read, just right for the busy holidays.

Susan-Wiggs-photo-by-Susan-Doupe You can read more about Susan and her books on her website Susan Wiggs, her Goodreads author page, FaceBook author page, her blog The View from Here, or on Twitter.

To buy CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS or any of her other books, you can visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM, Powell’s, or your favorite indie bookstore.

Christmas Board Books for the Very Young #3

This is the third and final installment of Christmas Board Books for the very young. I hop you found something to your child’s liking.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

HO! HO! HO!

By Charles Reasoner

 

I loved this rhyming story.  Santa eats too many cookies and gets stuck in the chimney. A little mouse saves the day by pushing Santa down the chimney.  The pictures are in Charles Reasoner’s style – very colorful and with enough activity in each picture to keep a young child’s interest high.

 

Bear Stays Up for Christmas

BEAR STAYS UP FOR CHRISTMAS

By Karma Wilson

Illustrations by Jane Chapman

 

This was a really cute book.  Bear can’t stay awake, so his friends get him up so he doesn’t miss Christmas.  When they go home, Bear stays up and works on surprises for his friends.  When they wake up it is Christmas and Bear and his friends share their surprises.  Bear gets a quilt that is “just his size” and snuggles up and falls fast asleep. This little book explores the joy of giving.

 

Duck & Goose - It's Time for Christmas

DUCK AND GOOSE IT’S TIME FOR CHRISTMAS

By Tad Hills

 

In this delightful Duck and Goose tale, Goose wants do nothing more than catch snowflakes, go sledding, and just have fun playing in the snow.  Goose constantly reminds Duck there is no time for that. “It is time for Christmas.”  With cute little characters, aka Duck and Goose, and pictures that leave plenty of room for a child’s imagination, DUCK AND GOOSE IT’S TIME FOR CHRISTMAS will please the youngest reader through preschool age.

 

The Mitten

THE MITTEN

By Jan Brett

 

THE MITTEN is a Ukrainian folktale adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett. A boy named Nicki wanted white mittens, but his Baba said they would be hard to find in the snow. Nicki lost his mitten and the animals helped him find it in an unconventional way. If you ever read a Jan Brett book, you already know what a fantastic job she does illustrating her books, and this is no exception.

 

Just a Snowy Day

JUST A SNOWY DAY

By Mercer Mayer

 

Mercer Mayer’s JUST A SNOWY DAY is one of my favorites.  Though this isn’t a board book, it is a wonderful storybook and one of the Golden Touch and Feel books.  I remember sitting with my sons reading this and watching them complete the activity found on each page.  Because the activities on each page involve precise dexterity, I would recommend this to children aged 2-4.

 

Happy Reading!

Autumn’s Last Gasp

macjam47:

Do you mourn the end of one season, or do you happily await the arrival of the next. Colleen over on Silver Threading gives us a last glimpse of fall.

Originally posted on Silver Threading:

2014-12-07 07.46.50

Autumn breathes the last gasps of the season,

as leaves of brown and gold drift from the treetops –

a blanket of decaying warmth.

Grey skies steal the color from the day,

mourning the end of another time of year.

The darkness envelopes and caresses

lulling the earth to sleep,

held in the cradle of the slough.

Winter awaits.

2014 © Copyright-All rights reservedwww.silverthreading.com

Thanks for stopping by to see me today. I always enjoy our visits.

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Christmas Board Books for the Very Young #2

Reading Christmas stories to my children when they were young was part of our Christmas tradition.  Who can resist a cute Christmas board book for their little one?

Bright Baby Merry Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS

A Bright Baby Touch and Feel book

 

This little Christmas picture book identifies various winter pictures for the youngest reader.  There is a snowman, Santa, reindeer, sleigh, and many more to delight a child two and under.

 

God Bless Our Christmas

GOD BLESS OUR CHRISTMAS

By Hannah C. Hall

Illustrated by Steve Whitlow

 

GOD BLESS OUR CHRISTMAS is a beautiful book about Christmas time activities and ends by reminding children that Christmas is the day Jesus was born.

“The baby Jesus has been born!

A star shines big and bright.

Through Jesus’ birth, God came earth/

God bless our Christmas night.”

I recommend this book for all preschool and toddler aged children.

 

Peek-a-Boo Reindeer

PEEK-A-BOO REINDEER

By Charles Reasoner

 

This is a cut-out board book, with shaped pages and cut-outs or peek-a-boo holes.  I didn’t find the story to be very engaging, but the illustrations are colorful and the cut-outs are fun. It is definitely a book for the very young to page through and explore the shapes and peek-a-boos.  With Santa, snowmen, reindeer and other forest creatures, the book is well suited to Mom or Dad to embellish the story.

 

PeekaBoo Elves

PEEK-A-BOO ELVES

By Charles Reasoner

 

This is another cut-out board book, by Charles Reasoner.  Once again the pictures and the cut-outs will engage young ones is a cute story.  I preferred this story to the PEEK-A-BOO REINDEER.  The elves are making toys and packing up Santa’s sleigh for the big night.

Christmas Board Books for the Very Young #1

 

Christmas stories are always a popular to prepare for Christmas. Children love the magic of Christmas and enjoy reading the many Christmas story books available.  Still looking for a gift for a little one?  Check out the books on this blog.  There will be two more postings on this topic this week.

 

Frosty the Snowman

FROSTY THE SNOWMAN

By Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson

Illustrated by Rebecca Thronburgh

Who doesn’t remember listening to FROSTY THE SNOWMAN.  Whether reading the story or singing the song, or watching the video Frosty has brought smiles to children’s faces over the years.

“Frosty the snowman was alive as he could be,” are magical words to a young child. This beautiful little book with its colorful illustrations is just the right size for toddlers to handle.

Have Yourself a Furry Little Christmas

HAVE YOURSELF A FURRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS

By Naomi Kleinberg

Illustrated by Louis Womble

Elmo and the rest of the Sesame Street gang are getting ready for a Christmas celebration. Each of them attends to different tasks until all the work is done and they are ready to party.  The boldly colored illustrations of the Sesame Street characters will positively delight all little Sesame Street fans.

Our Little Deer

OUR LITTLE DEER

By Sandra Magsamen

OUR LITTLE DEAR is absolutely darling! Not only are the illustrations attractive to a very young child, the book has soft antlers sticking out the top.  It is just too cute!  The story is full of warmth and love for a little deer/dear.

“You fill our home with so much love.

You’re an angel sent from up above.

We love, love, love you, little deer.”

I would definitely recommend this for children 2 years old and under.

My Santa Claus

MY SANTA CLAUS

By Lily Karr

Illustrated by Jay Johnson

MY SANTA CLAUS is a cute book in verse about Santa and his elves delivering presents. The illustrations are boldly colorful and Santa is depicted as the traditional Santa children know.

Elmo's 12 Days of Christmas

ELMO’S 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

By Sarah Albee

Illustrated by Maggie Swanson

Elmo and the Sesame Street gang sing The 12 Days of Christmas with a Sesame Street spin. This book is filled with lots of pictures of children’s favorites, most especially of Elmo.

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

MY WHISPERINGS By Just Patty (Patty van Delft)

My Whisperings

This is the second book of poetry written by Just Patty. Patty delves into deepest emotions in her poetry.  MY WHISPERINGS is a collection of dark poetry, though some of her poems have a more positive note.

One that struck me as being particularly dark and deeply painful is “PTSD”.  The last verse is a good example of the entire poem.

Silently drowning

In a sea of unshed tears I shout

I am chocking

I’m hurting!

Just want to end it

But… I can’t find a way out

“Vengeance” is another of her poems that is very dark as illustrated by the following verse from it. In this poem Just Patty explores revenge.

Ruthless

Ice cold justice got served

In my heart, there’s no compassion

You got what you deserved!

One of my favorites of her poems is “The Warrior” which is more uplifting as Just Patty portrays steadfastness and positive thinking.

Times are hard, life is tough

I know that you think you had enough

Don’t give up, you can still win

Bring out the warrior from within

Though my first choice in poetry is to read uplifting and joyous verse, I enjoyed reading this collection of poetry very much, especially when the poem spoke of redeeming qualities rather than ending just as dark as it began.

About the author:  Just Patty is the poet name used by the Dutch writer Patty van Delft.  She has also written another book of poetry, MY WINGS.

Just Patty is a very talented poet. She is a staunch supporter of suicide prevention and anti-bullying. You can follow her on her blog Petite Magique, on Facebook Just Patty Author Page on Twitter Just Patty, or on Google+ at Just Patty.

You can buy MY WHISPERINGS on Amazon.com.

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

PASSING THROUGH PERFECT by Bette Lee Crosby

Passing-Through-Perfect

In 1946, the war has ended and Benjamin Church is headed home to Grinder’s Corner, Alabama and his father. He arrived home to find his father unable to run the farm properly by himself, and being a dutiful son, he stayed to run the farm.

Then he met Delia, a preacher’s daughter, and fell in love at first sight.  Her father disapproved of the relationship, disowned her, and forbade her mother to visit their only child.  Benjamin and Delia got married by a justice of the peace and settled down in Grinder’s Corner.  When their son Isaac was born, Delia was determined they should leave Grinder’s Corner and move north where a black child had better opportunities and could go to college.  Benjamin refused. He was happy with his life, until a horribly tragic event occurred on one rainy night – an event that changed life as he knew it, forever.

When Benjamin finally decided to leave and head north he passed through Wyattsville, Virginia, where he met Sidney and Carmella Klaussner and their boy Paul Jones, and his sister Jubilee, all people we met in JUBILEE’S JOURNEY. The Klaussner’s showed their gratitude to Benjamin for rescuing Paul from a burning auto by helping him get on his feet and making the right connections for him.

This is an intensely moving story of a Southern black man and his quest for a happy life for himself and his family from his Southern roots to a promising future away from the racism he encountered in the South.

The third book in the Wyattsville Series, PASSING THROUGH PERFECT did not disappoint me.  Bette Lee Crosby’s storytelling ability has never shown brighter. A Southern gal herself, Crosby had an insight into the trials and tribulations of Southern living, and therefore her depiction of the towns and life situations were believable.  PASSING THROUGH PERFECT, with characters that jump right off the pages and into your heart, is a book you don’t want to miss.

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby’s books are “Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.” – Midwest Book Review

The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby’s writing is, “A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures.”

Samantha from Reader’s Favorite raves, “Crosby writes the type of book you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down.”

“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include: The Royal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal, Reader’s Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer’s Choice Award.

Crosby’s published works to date are: Blueberry Hill (2014), Previously Loved Treasures (2014), Jubilee’s Journey (2013), What Matters Most (2013), The Twelfth Child (2012), Life in the Land of IS (2012), Cracks in the Sidewalk (2011), Spare Change (2011). A Cupid inspired romance, Wishing for Wonderful, is scheduled for release in November 2014 and Book Three of The Wyattsville Series, Passing through Perfect, will be available in January 2015.

 

Please click the link to visit the author’s website Bette Lee Crosby Words Wit and Wisdom.

Follow Bette Lee Crosby on these websites:

Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

 

To pre-order PASSING THROUGH PERFECT  or buy any of Crosby’s other novels please go online at iBooks, AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Kobo.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.