I’m making this post just in time for Christmas (barely)….
Baking Christmas cookies has been a family tradition since, well, since I can remember. It normally involved a baking frenzy that started about one week before Christmas. I have so many great memories of being in the kitchen with my mom and grandmother; I owe all of my interest in baking and cooking to them really. Our Christmas cookies weren’t necessarily your typical mix. They included press cookies (aka Spritz cookies), chocolate chip cookies, sand tarts, Michigan rocks, maple nut drops, and in the later years, double chocolate drop cookies. My personal favorite is the maple nut drop (perhaps you see that sneak onto the site in the next week).
Everyone loved my grandmother’s cookies. And she would make hundreds to give them as gifts to everyone during the holiday season. When she was in her seventies, she would actually bake for about 4 months straight just to make enough to give to everyone. She was like the Santa Claus of sandtarts 🙂 My mom and I have continued the tradition of baking Christmas cookies and giving them as gifts to loved ones and friends. In some ways, it’s our homage to my grandmother (Frannie).
For this recipe, you will need:
3/4 c. palm shortening
3/4 c. ghee
2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
2 T. vanilla
1 1/4 c. tapioca flour or arrowroot starch
3/4 c. coconut flour
1/2 c. almond flour
green food coloring
green sugar crystals
silver edible balls
cinnamon red hots
This recipe is super easy to make. One batch makes about 100 Christmas trees.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, cream the shortening, ghee, vanilla, and sugar. For the sugar, you can use granulated sugar cane, powdered sugar, or palm sugar. You could probably use honey too, but then you’ll need to add a bit extra tapioca flour to your flour mixture.
Add the egg and mix well.
Mix the flours and salt in a medium bowl.
Add the flour and salt mixture in several additions, ensuring the creamy sugar mixture is thoroughly combined with the flour before adding more flour mixture.
Add green food coloring (don’t shy away from tweaking the food coloring with a little blue for that perfect evergreen!).
For the tiny trees, load your cookie press with batter and make sure that the tree pattern is loaded in your press.
I love the old fashioned cookie presses. I’ve had one of the newer automatic Wilton cookie presses and it broke in like 15 minutes. My mom has had her old school cookie press since I was like 4 years old and it has lasted decades. I’m well over 30 – you do the math 😉
Here’s the tricky part with the cookie press – you have to find the right amount of pressure to get a nonblobby Christmas tree. Play around with it, try a few until your find that sweet spot.
Now, on an ungreased nonstick cookie sheet, press away until the cookie sheets are filled. These cookies will puff a bit, so you need to give then a little room, but I generally fit three to four cookies across my cookie sheets.
Now, for the decorating – this is a ton of fun, especially with kids 🙂
Sprinkle on some of the green sugar crystals, then the multicolored sprinkles. This gives the effect of multicolored ornaments on the tree. Finally, lightly press either a cinnamon red hot or silver ball onto the top of the tree (like where you might put a tree star). And viola – you have little Christmas trees 🙂
Now place the cookie sheets in the oven and bake for approximately 8 minutes. The edges should be golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool on a rack for about 5-10 minutes before removing from the sheet.
Merry Christmas! 🙂