How to make the best Christmas cookie ever!
Hi, it’s Sally and I am going to show you how to make the best Christmas cookie ever! (Making this cookie is a family tradition, started many years ago by my Mom.)
John posted some photos of this process on his Facebook page, and now people are asking for the recipe of the cookies they saw. I’ll share it with you here, along with some instructions on how to make, and why we do this holiday recipe every year.
What really caused my head to turn, was when John posted the early photos and his friends wrote back, “Is Sally from the South?” I thought, “What does THAT mean?” I should tell you up front that these cookies are fruit cookies. And I AM from the south – Memphis to be exact.
When I was growing up I remember dreading the fruit cakes that my Dad would get at Christmas-time from his customers. I never could see the fascination with fruit cakes.
However, my mother made the following recipe for fruit cookies, and they were as yummy as any young child could want. Warning: they are a lot of trouble to make, but it is surmountable. They keep very well. They are delicious with just the right mix of spices. It is, in fact, the spices that make these cookies memorable. I think we could do just the dough, with no fruit, and come up with a great spice cookie.
Every December we children would enjoy these spice and fruit cookies, along with an assortment of sugar cookies made into stars, trees, angels, santa and reindeer, and perhaps some almond-sugar crescent cookies.
We also had pies and special breads. I think we were not wanting for sweet treats! As we grew up, we moved to far off places and we no longer had these fruit/spice cookies, unless my mother sent them to us, which she did from time to time.
About 10 years ago I began to make these cookies from my mother’s recipe, and give them to my brothers and sister at Christmas-time. Their reaction was memorable – “Sally is making THE Christmas cookies! Aren’t they really hard to make?” They wanted more! It was like a tug of the heartstring – not only were they delicious, but they evoked so many memories of hearth and home. Isn’t that what Christmas does? Evoke our childhood memories? I was able to bring our childhood Christmas memories back to my siblings.
Where did this recipe come from? It comes from an old fashioned church bazaar! Does anyone remember church bazaars? We had them at our church and school, and one lady would bring these cookies, and they were so loved that my mother asked for the recipe. She gave it willingly, in the spirit of Christmas. Ever after, we had these cookies at Christmas.
Now I will share them with you. (Thank you Gaggenau for our wonderful new oven!)
Christmas Fruit Cookies
- 1 stick butter
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- 2 beaten eggs
- 3 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon soda dissolved in ½ cup warm water.
- 1 ½ lbs. chopped dates
- ¼ lb. candied red cherries
- ½ lb. dried pineapple, chopped
- a small handful of dried apricots, chopped
- a small handful of dried cranberries or dried raspberries
- 6 – 7 pieces candied ginger, chopped
(You can add chopped nuts if you like, but I don’t)
First, sift together the flour and spices and salt in a bowl and keep handy. Second, in a mixer cream together the butter and sugar.
Then add the beaten eggs and vanilla. Third, add to the beaten mixture a little of the flour and spice mixture, followed by a little of the warm water with soda. Continue adding these alternately until all the flour and all the water mixture is blended into the creamed butter/sugar mixture.
At the very end add in all the dried fruits and mix. At this point the batter will be very stiff, sticky and a little hard to handle. Even our KitchenAid mixer is put to the test!
Have your oven preheated to 300 degrees F. Prepare your cookie sheets by greasing them, then putting a layer of wax paper over the cookie sheet, then grease them again, on top of the waxed paper. Then you can drop the cookie batter in large chunks onto the cookie sheet. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet immediately upon removal from oven. Replace wax paper with each baking, and grease again. You can tell by the slow cooking temperature and long baking time that these are like little cakes! Makes about 3 dozen.
You may also enjoy reading our recent post with Holiday Table Setting Tips.
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