calling all cookies: let’s party!

Well, December is finally here, and that can only mean one thing:

COOKIES! (Please scroll down to the wreath to see all the recipes.)

This just might be the best part of the holidays for me. You can take all the gross materialism and office parties and stress and noise and pressure to be “happy.” Just leave me alone with my cookies!

I’m not bragging here. But cookies are what I do best. I like baking in general, but I’m always on the lookout for more cookie recipes. That’s because the cookie is probably the most egalitarian of all foods. Whether you like your cookies rolled, dropped, frosted, sugared, cut into bars, or shot out of a press, there is a cookie just for you. Eat an old fashioned oatmeal with a cold glass of milk, or nibble on some rich shortbread in your kilts. We’re talking endless variety, comfort, and a direct line to childhood.

To put it simply, when a man is tired of cookies, he is tired of life.

December is Cookie Month here at alphabet soup, and you’re invited to the party! I’ll be posting my favorite tested cookie recipes each week, but I want to know what kind of cookies you bake. Is there a favorite recipe you make with your children every Christmas or Chanukah? Or a special cookie you usually take to a party, or wrap up as a wonderful homebaked gift? What about a beloved cookie from your childhood, a family recipe? Bring it on!

You can either post your cookie recipe on your blog, then leave me the URL/link in a comment at any of my upcoming cookie posts, OR, you can send me the recipe via email, and I will post it. I’ll then round up all the recipes so everyone can access them anytime by clicking on the COOKIE PARTY link in my sidebar. My email address is readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot com). We’ll be partying all month long, so feel free to post at your convenience.

To start things off, here is my all-time favorite recipe. It makes a lot of cookies, guaranteed to get lips smackin’ and people hollerin’ for more. I’ve been making these for over 30 years, and have never met anyone who didn’t like them. It’s my brother’s favorite recipe, too. When I left Hawaii to seek fame and fortune overseas, he didn’t miss me all that much, but he did miss these cookies.

(feeds an army)

3 blocks butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla

1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add vanilla, then stir in dry ingredients which have been sifted together. Add nuts and mix well.

2. Shape into 3 logs, wrap well in waxed paper or saran wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

3. Slice thin and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 7-1/2 minutes or until brown.

4. Store in a tightly covered container or tin to maintain crispness.

Tips:  Creaming the butter and sugar well is crucial for a beautiful texture. You can make this ahead and refrigerate up to a week, then bake as needed. Logs can also be frozen.

Here are the Cookies who’ve come to the party so far:

1. Walnut Icebox Cookies (behind the cut). My all-time favorite.

2. Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies (from Becky’s Book Reviews). She includes a holiday soundtrack to go along with the cookie bakin’!

3. Molasses Cookies (from Barbara O’Connor). Arf Arf!!

4. Bada Bings! (from Linda Urban, crookedperfect). A luscious recipe prepared by Zoe’s Dad in a Crooked Kind of Perfect.

5. Peanut Blossom Cookies (from lisa_schroeder). Definitely a cookie to fall in love with!

6. Cookie Cutter Cookies (from liz_scanlon). Something sweet to fill your pockets.

7. Sugared Cranberries (from jeannineatkins). No celebration is complete without beautiful cranberries. A nice balance between the sweet and the tart.

8. Lumberjacks (from kellyrfineman). Ginger and molasses with a decidedly poetic flavor.

9. Dreamy date bars. A favorite recipe from Hawaii that will help you make friends and influence people.

10. Oatmeal Coconut Crisps (from Sara Lewis Holmes). Totally captivating!

11. Chocolate Crinkles (from Sylvia). A red carpet cookie!

12. Thumbprint Cookies (from Sylvia). On your way to stardom.

13. Gingerbread Men. Chase your cookies and work off some calories.

14. Peanut Clusters (from Mary Lee Hahn). Invokes squeals of delight!

15. Graham Cracker Crisps (from Mary Lee Hahn). These yummies are in the bag!

16. Pecan Cookies (from Candice Ransom). A treasured memory enhances the flavor of these gems.

17. Mary’s Sugar Cookies (from lisa_schroeder). The Queen of Love shares another sweet treat.

18. Stained Glass Cookies (from Wendy Betts). For the artistically inclined.

19. Flying Spaghetti Gingerbread Monsters (from Wendy). Strictly for those with an extraterrestrial palate and a penchant for FUN!!

20. Time out! Enjoy some photos of Mary Lee Hahn’s cookie decorating activity in her classroom!

21. Christmas Trees and Orange Crisps. Two cookie press recipes just in the nick of time!

22. Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies (from kellyrfineman). Something utterly sublime to go with your tea. Indulge!

23. Andrea’s Fudge (from Kris Bordessa). Rich, creamy chocolate at its best!

24. Cookie poems in 15 Words or Less (from laurasalas). Bite into these zero calorie delights.

25. Chocolate Bark and Chocolate-covered Pretzels (from Vivian, aka HipWriterMama). Two decadent, yet simple recipes celebrating the joy of chocolate — white, dark, and semi-sweet. Great gift idea.

26. Christmas Cookie Recipes From Around the World. A great link for any time of year!

Leave me the link to your favorite cookie recipe in the comments, or email the recipe to me at readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot com)!

Cookie ‘on down!!   

28 thoughts on “calling all cookies: let’s party!

  1. Peanut Blossom Cookies
    1/2 cup each solid vegetable shortening and peanut butter
    1/2 cup each granulated sugar and firmly packed brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    2 1/2 – 3 dozen chocolate candy kisses
    Beat shortening, PB, the 1/2 cup sugar and brown sugar until creamy; beat in egg and vanilla. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to shortening mixture, blending thoroughly.
    Place the 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets.
    Bake at 350 for 10 minutes; meanwhile unwrap chocolate kisses. Remove cookies from oven and quickly top each cookie with a kiss, pressing down until cookie cracks around edges. Return to oven and bake for 3-5 more minutes until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Transfer to racks and let cool completely. Makes 2 1/2 – 3 dozen.


  2. peanut butter cookies
    Lisa, I’m glad you posted these — now I won’t! But they are a must in December at our house. I love putting those kisses in — though, in the true holiday spirit, used to let my daughter do it (now she’s off at college…)


  3. Re: peanut butter cookies
    Aren’t they just so delicious, as well as fun to make? My grandma on my dad’s side used to make these every year. Now I make them, and my boys love them.


  4. Tis the Season: Sugared Cranberries
    How can you not love a blog called Alphabet Soup: A Children’s Writer Offers Food for Thought and Fine Whining?
    And this month I’ve been enjoying Jama Rattigan’s cookie festival. know this is no season for cheaters, and I love chocolate, sprinkles, and about every kind of cookie, but I’m going to put in plea for Sugared Cranberries on the side because they are glittery, pretty, red, sweet with great sour undertones and what other food group can they go to? They’re not a main course, they’re not cake. Crisp on the outside, chewy within, they pop in your mouth and make December a slightly warmer and happier month.
    Here’s the recipe I clipped from a magazine, maybe Martha Stewart, but it’s only got two steps!
    2 cups granulated sugar
    2 cups water
    2 cups cranberries
    ½ cup superfine sugar (or you can put granulated sugar in a food processor for a minute)
    Combine gran. sugar and water in a sauce over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer (do not boil, or cranberries may pop when added.) Remove from heat and stir in cranberries. Put in bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
    Drain cranberries in a colander. Place superfine sugar on a plate or waxed paper. Roll cranberries to coat. Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet and let stand an hour or until dry. These are best that day but keep in a container for a few days.


  5. Re: Tis the Season: Sugared Cranberries
    Thanks so much, Jeannine. You’re really tempting me now. I LOVE cranberries, and they are very good for you, too. Once I made a cranberry wreath using halved toothpicks, and sticking them into styrofoam one by one. It was so much work, and when my husband tried to hang the wreath on our door, he dropped it, and it broke in half. Since then, I prefer to eat my cranberries rather than decorate with them!


  6. Lumberjacks
    My personal favorite of the Christmas cookies over the years. It’s a molasses cookie, only in my family we undercook them and they are soft and chewy.
    Lumberjacks (makes 7 doz.)
    1 c. sugar
    1 c. shortening (I use butter, can use margarine or even Crisco. Yes, really)
    1 c. molasses
    2 eggs
    4 c flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp ginger
    Cream sugar & shortening. Add molasses and eggs, then the dry ingredients. Chill (at least 2 hours). Have a small dish of sugar at hand (regular sugar, not colored or powdered or anything fancy). Dip fingers in sugar, pinch off a ball of cookie dough and roll. Place on ungreased tray and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. “Underdone” at 12-15 minutes.
    (My actual instructions are even shorter than what’s here, but I figured I’d try to have them make sense for people who didn’t grow up making them!)


  7. This is hard. I’ll have to think on my favorite cookie.
    But thank you for “when a man is tired of cookies, he is tired of life.” HOO HA, I laughed out loud.
    Jules, 7-Imp


  8. I love to make these. A friend gave me tiny little Christmas-shape cookie cutters especially for them.
    2 c flour
    1 1/2 t baking powder
    1/4 t salt
    6 TB butter (or margarine, if you must)
    1/3 c shortening
    3/4 c sugar
    1 egg
    1 TB milk
    life savers or similar hard candy in various translucent colors, finely crushed. (Separate the colors)
    Stir together dry ingrediants, put aside. Beat butter and shortening together until softened. Add sugar and beat til fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat well. Add flour mix and beat til well mixed. Divide dough in half, cover and chill at least 3 hours.
    Roll dough 1/8″ thick. Cut with cookie cutters. Cut out small shapes in the middle of the cookie. Place on foil-lined cookie sheet (very important!!!) Fill the holes with different colored crushed candy. (Or use multiple colors in one hole, for an interesting effect.) Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes. The candy will melt for a stained-glass window effect that is very cool (and tasty.)


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