What are your favorite holiday traditions, new or long-standing? When it comes to Christmas there are a couple traditions we have that came about as something nice and then through repetition became part of our traditions. The first is hand made ornaments.
My mother, who is an amazing textile artist and the one who taught me to sew, makes an ornament for each of her grandchildren every year. We have two sons - the oldest of the grandchildren - who benefited from this wonderful tradition. I remember when she was trying to determine whether to have an end date for this tradition once she was making ornaments for nine grandchildren and our sons were adults. They loudly exclaimed their love of this tradition and she continues today making them for them even though they have now made us grandparents!Should I admit they each have over 40 ornaments? Shh.
And, yes, the tradition continues as I make ornaments for our grandchildren each year. This weekend I'll present them so they can hang them on their Christmas trees. I am inspired each year by ideas, happenings and the things our grandchildren enjoy. One concept always bubbles to the top, and that becomes the theme of my ornaments! This year, our 3 year old grandson became enthralled with the planets, galaxy, and spaceships. I found the cutest spaceship and planet ornament pattern on etsy (here is the link). I'm very happy with them!
You may be wondering why there is a cookie photo for our blog post. Well that leads me to a wonderful cookie theme for our holidays. My sister is the most amazing baker. Every year she spends an inordinate amount of time making a variety of treats and assembles them in gift boxes for our ever expanding family! There is always that one cookie that is a favorite. For me it continues to be the Kolaczkis! One of our sons likes the Snowballs he raided her freezer before they were packaged the year we visited in December! I remember the first year I opened her box and found a few of my favorites nestled in like treasures and exclaimed I would only waste my calories on them. Hubby was curious and I shared just one with him. He didn't have the reaction they deserved and I promptly forbid him to eat any more. Perhaps I love them because we only had them at Christmas. Maybe it's because they are such a good balance of pastry and sweetness. Who knows? Our recipe follows! Note that you can use a pastry filling rather than make your own. I use Solo almond or peach because they are my favorite. What is your favorite Christmas cookie?
For the pastry:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling*
- 3/4 cup dried apricots (or other dried fruit)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
* I use Solo brand pastry filling: Almond or Peach (actually, both!)
- Cream the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy
- Stir in flour and salt
- Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour
- Preheat oven to 350
- Roll out the dough by first dusting the surface (mat or countertop) with granular sugar
- Roll to 1/4 inch and cut into 2-inch squares.
- Place a teaspoon of filling (instructions below) in the center of each square
- Fold over opposite corners and seal well
- Bake for 15 minutes or until corners just begin to brown
- Cool on a rack and dust with powdered sugar
- Add apricots and water to a saucepan
- Add 2 tablespoons sugar
- Simmer until apricots are tender, about 15 minutes
- Mash or puree with immersion blender
Looking forward to hearing how you like them and to receiving your favorite cookie recipes too!