because for only the second time in my life, I made her Christmas cookies. At least I think they are Christmas cookies. Maybe when my dad was growing up they were whenever cookies, but when I was a kid they were reserved for Christmastime only.
These cookies have a hint of orange, and a hint of lemon. They are kind of like a scone, but kind of not. They are not too sweet, but just sweet enough. They are like nothing that I have ever had anywhere (except maybe a relative’s house, but that doesn’t count—same recipe). Unique and delicious.
Once you see the recipe, you’ll understand why this is only the second time that I have made them. It’s a big recipe. And it makes a lot of cookies. A lot. Twenty-five dozen or so. It’s not like I can crank these out after Molly gets home from school for an afternoon snack. Nope. These take awhile.
But they are worth it.
Here’s the recipe. In case you want to make them. I even took pictures. Big surprise.
- 5 pounds flour
- 2 1/2 pounds sugar (almost 6 cups)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 pounds Crisco (Crisco? Yuck, I know. But trust me, your heart will be fine.)
Mix these ingredients together in a large container. My Grandma used a big turkey roasting pan. I don’t have one that big so I got creative.Yes, that is a big Rubbermaid container. Trust me, you’ll need something that big.
In a separate bowl, mix the following:
- grated peel from 3 oranges
- juice from 1 orange
- 1 dozen eggs
- 6 Tbs. vanilla
- 1/2 C milk
Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg mixture.
It will be worth it in the end. Promise.
You have to let the dough sit for an hour or so. Not sure why, but Grandma said so in her recipe and you don’t want to mess with Grandma.
Take this time to prepare your counters. You will need a lot of room for cookies to cool and be decorated. Grandma used to cover the counters and kitchen table with aluminum foil, so that’s what I do, too.
Now that the dough has rested, it’s time to shape the cookies. Grandma was so good that she could just grab the correct amount of dough and shape the cookies to a uniform size. I am not. I use this large cookie scoop.
There are three basic shapes. The first one is the “S” shape. Get a ball of dough, roll it into a snake (yes, with your hands again) and shape it into an “S.” Fill an entire sheet, leaving room for them to spread.
Could you do other shapes? Ummm….no. That’s not the way it’s done. If you want to tempt fate, you go right ahead and make other shapes. But I’m not. It just wouldn’t be right.
Now it’s time to bake.
Bake cookies at 400 degrees for 3-4 minutes on the bottom shelf of the oven, then move the pan to the top shelf and bake for another 3-4 minutes.
I start my baking with one tray on the bottom rack. After 3 minutes, that tray moves to the top rack and a new pan goes in the bottom. Another 3 minutes and top pan comes out, bottom pan goes to the top rack and new pan goes in on the bottom rack.
Baked tray comes out--bottom tray goes to top--new tray goes in—empty /cool /refill tray. Repeat. A lot. This is marathon cookie making, folks.
For the glaze, you will need to mix:
- the juice from 4 lemons (or the equivalent in bottled lemon juice)
To decorate you will need :
- nonpareil sprinkles
- candied cherries
This must be done in the following combination:
- S-shaped cookies get nonpareil sprinkles
- O-shaped cookies get candied cherries
- Bar-shaped cookies get walnuts
I mean you could go and get crazy and mix it up, but my Grandma is watching from heaven. Just sayin’.
Half of the cookies were sent to my parents in Colorado. My dad has fond memories of eating these when he was a little boy. My mom has fond memories (or maybe nightmares) about making these cookies with my grandma year after year after year after year.
I knew they would enjoy a big box of cookies (which cost me more to mail than it did to purchase all of the ingredients). And they did. And probably will for the next couple of weeks since they have 13 dozen.
I would like to say that I am making this my new holiday tradition, but golly, I don’t know if I have that much motivation.
But we had them this year and they were de-lish. Dad even gave me a big stamp of approval….said they were spot-on perfect! Just like his mother’s. And that made it worth every
second minute hour it took to make them.