Christmas is the time for…
Universal – Trees, lights, carols, warmth, presents
British – Mince pies, Christmas pudding, mulled wine, bobbles, citrus, Father Christmas, Christmas crackers
American – cinnamon, last-minute sales, Santa, pumpkin pie, and COOKIES!
My family never really had a tradition of making a specific kind of cookie during the Christmas season but we did always make some to share with people. Kiss cookies (peanut butter cookies with a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle) and oatmeal chocolate chip were always made in the Peterson household.
David’s mother made sugar cookies. To this day he still talks about the Christmas sugar cookies that his mom makes. She even has those little Christmas cookie stamps with santa, Rudolph, and other characters. Speaking of my MIL, she just sent us our Christmas package and inside she sent this adorable cookie tin. It has all of the 12 Days of Christmas on it.
Different countries have their own cookies: Biscotti (Italy), madeleines (France), lebkuchen and springerle (Germany), kourabiedes (Greece), and shortbread (United Kingdom) just to name a few.
For this week’s cookie I decided to go Jewish. David and I are having a gentleman over from the department and I had a brisket in my freezer to cook. So, my train of thought was: Oh! Jewish brisket…Jewish themed meal…side side side…never made or eaten kugel…veggie loaded kugel…dessert?…Christmas…cookies!…(research)…hamantaschen…needs chocolate! This is how my menu planning goes inside my head. I should warn you, hamantaschen are usually served during Purim not Hanukkah. Purim is the Jewish holiday which is centered around the story of Esther and I read that these cookies are suppose to resemble Haman’s ear. Yum.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Hamantaschen (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
4 oz/8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3oz/6 tbsp cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups plus 1 1/2 tbsp flour, more for dusting
5oz/10 tbsp cream cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
To make dough: Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and beat until well incorporated. Add egg, vanilla, and salt and mix well making use to scrape down bowl. Mix in flour. The dough will be a little sticky. Wrap down in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for at least in hour.
Prepare filling: Cream together cream cheese and brown sugar. Stir in chocolate chips. Set in the refrigerator. The most important step with making the filling: LICK THE BOWL CLEAN!
Preheat oven 350F/175C. Roll dough out to at least 1/4 inch thickness. Be sure to use flour to prevent sticking. Using a 2 1/2-3 inch diameter cookie cutter cut out 24 circles.
To form cookies. Place a tsp of filling in the middle. Fold three sides of the circle to form a triangle and be sure to pinch the three tips.
Bake 20 minutes. Let cool.
What are your favorite holiday cookies?