So to my family, whom I love very much, I apologize for the snapping and slapping of little patties away from the cookie stash. Just give me the room and time to get all your favorites done and I promise you will be able to eat them to your heart's delight without fear of being scolded. Now that my annual disclaimer has been published, I will tell you of the varieties of cookies and candies I make for Christmas.
Tradition in my family goes back to the Struffoli that Grandma Julie made. Little Italian fried honey balls mounded into a conical shape piled high on her silver platter and liberally sprinkled with multicolored nonpareils, you know those tiny little round sugar sprinkle balls. Not being one for most Italian pastries, it was nice to be able to enjoy something sweet at the Italian relatives' houses. Over the years I also learned that the "flag cookies" or "rainbow cookies" are simply almond cookies with layers of raspberry and apricot jam, and frosted with semi-sweet chocolate--definite winner in this house! Somewhere along the years my mother got a recipe for Ricotta cookies, and as they say, that was "all she wrote".
I have made spiced tea mixes, and hot cocoa mix from scratch as gifts. This year I am putting together a few "brownies in a jar" mixes for gifts. And I am in four college classes, which don't break until the 26th of December. Okay, I am stressing myself as I await the last 1/2 dozen of the 8-1/2 dozen ricotta cookies I baked today to finish. then its time to frost them. maybe I picked a good time to do this, as not one cookie has disappeared yet. With some luck I'll get them all done and stashed before anyone gets home. I'll post photos of the completed cookies. But, for now, here's the recipe for Grandma Ann's famous Ricotta Cookies. Well, maybe not worldwide famous, but in this family they sure are!
Drain 15 oz ricotta in a fine mesh strainer for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
1/2 lb unsalted butter softened to room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla (pure, please)
Grated rind of one orange-no white pith please
4-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream the softened butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl (I use the Kitchen Aid® stand mixer). Add the eggs and the vanilla. Mix well. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to batter in increments--don't just dump all of it in at once, just about a cup at a time, just until all mixed--be careful to not over mix the batter- you know the drill it will make the cookies tough if the flour gets over worked.
Drop dough by heaping teaspoons (a measuring teaspoon) onto a greased cookie baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 9-10 minutes. You are looking for a slightly browned edge of the cookie only. Remove from the oven, cool one minute, then transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely before glazing (recipe follows). I got 8 1/2 dozen from this recipe today! Yay!
2 cups confectionery sugar (powdered sugar)
1/4 cup butter softened
3 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients well, working out all lumps of the sugar until smooth. drizzle over cookies and then sprinkle with multicolored sprinkles or nonpareils. Let glaze harden before trying to store in a covered container.
As promised here's a photo:
Want more cookies? Just let me know!