Mmm, Holiday Baking

My post yesterday about doing some holiday baking has become my obsession. After reading everybody’s favorites and family traditions I began to crave–and I mean pregnant lady CRAVE–some of the recipes I used to make with my mom and sister as a little girl. I’ve made most of them as an adult, and many with and for my kids, as my oldest son enjoys baking with me, but there are a couple I don’t make often as I’m not quite sure that I’ve got the recipe down right.

I, too, usually make fudge at Christmas, three varieties from traditional creamy, to Rocky Road, to peanut butter.  I also make Spritz cookies, roll out sugar cookies which we frost and decorate, an amazing melt in your mouth cream cheese horn with a bit of jam at the end, apricot bars, Butterscotch ‘scotties’, and the recipe below for peppermint spirals. Growing up, my mom whose family is Southern also used to make the most wonderful pralines (had to make them on the very dry, cold days so they’d set) and then my grandmother Porter made divinity. I don’t make candy other than those easy fudge recipes but wish I did when it’s this time of the year.

Now, with my mouth watering and my fingers itching to begin measuring flour and sugar, I’m posting one of my favorite recipes, one that I’ve made for years. This cookie tastes best when its baked a little crisy and then to make it absolutely perfect, chop up a candy cane and sprinkle each pink and white spiral cookie slice with crushed peppermint before baking. That way hhen when it comes out of the oven, it sparkles and is as festive as the season itself.

You are the most wonderful group of women. I wish I could have you all over this weekend for a good old fashioned tea and a holiday cookie exchange. It’d be such fun to get us all in my living room talking around the Christmas tree! Enjoy my recipe and if you’ve got one to share and you’re not shy, do!! I love hearing from you and learning new things.

Peppermint Spirals

1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 ½ c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp peppermint extract
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
red food coloring

Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and peppermint extract; beat well.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture, beating just until blended.

Divide dough in half; tint one portion with desired amount of red food coloring. Cover and chill both portions.

On sheets of floured waxed paper, roll each portion to a 16 x 8-inch rectangle. Invert plain dough directly on top of red dough. Roll up jelly-roll fashion, beginning with long side, removing wax paper while rolling. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into ¼-inch slices and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes (check after 6-7 min.—they burn quickly!). Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: about 5 dozen. (Or 3 doz. Bigger cookies)

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