Tag Archives: christmas

Christmas Cookies from Cuizoo

We’ve hit the two week mark until Christmas. And because our house is on the market, the gifts I have purchased are stashed under beds, in the back of the car, and in between moving boxes in the garage.  I attempted to make sugar cut-out cookies the other day and realized my cookie cutters were already packed.  We improvised and used a gingerbread man template to hand cut the dough (which actually worked just fine), but I’m thinking my future baking will probably only include drop cookies.  That is, if I haven’t packed the cookie sheets yet.  Let’s just hope that the Amazon boxes (gifts) don’t make their way to the new house while the moving boxes (our stuff) sit nicely wrapped under the Christmas tree.  But come to think of it, maybe I could get lucky and gift myself the cookie cutters?

Here are some Cuizoo Christmas Cookie favorites.  Enjoy.  I’ll be over here making my house look like a catalog, packing boxes, and guzzling egg nog.

Crispy Brown Rice Skillet Cookies 

Rum Balls

White Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Spiced Whole Grain Pumpkin Seed Biscotti with Cranberries and White Chocolate

Whole Grain Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Coconut Oil

Cocoa Butter Chocolate Chunk Brownie Cookies

Whole Grain Orange Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Whole Grain Whirligig Cookies

Whole Grain Dark Chocolate and Dried Cherry Biscotti

Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crispy Oatmeal Cookies

Rum Balls

I planned to write this post detailing how it included my favorite things — rum and balls, of course.  And then I was going to integrate how appropriate Rum Balls are during the holiday season because of the infamous Pete Schweddy’s Balls.  And then I planned to go into the typical territory that we all need alcohol to get through the holiday season with the stress of busy schedules, travel, not enough money, and families that drive us crazy.  And don’t forget the dinner table arguments with Republicans.  (I kid because I love, Dad.)

But I’m not going to do that.

Because in the last three weeks, our family and friends have been crushed by loss.  A dear family friend and the mother of one of our best friends lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.  A friend lost her best friend to a heart condition.  We (and some of our dearest, old friends) lost a friend we went to high school with when he died of a sudden heart attack at 38 years old (with a wife and two boys, 10 and 7).  And now, another friend has lost her 44 year old brother (with a 2 year old and a baby on the way) to a sudden heart attack also.

So my thought is this:  please take the next few days and embrace those around you.  Tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you.  Don’t argue over whether someone bought a cheap bottle of wine.  Don’t worry that the presents aren’t wrapped yet (Cuizoo, I’m talking to you.)  If the pine needles haven’t been adequately vacuumed before the company comes, ignore it.  I have distinct memories of being a little girl with pine needles on the floor and in all of my presents.  It’s OK and it hasn’t scarred me or anything.  If you didn’t get the last two batches of cookies made, skip it.  Against all of my normal advice, go to the store and buy something pre-made.  I’m buying a deliciously non-organic, non-pastured, antibiotic-fed Honeybaked Ham for Christmas Eve.  So there!

As I was passing a fellow parent at school drop off today, she remarked that Christmas is only magical for kids because they don’t have to do any of the work.  True enough, I guess.  But we need to step outside all of the work and find the magic in simply being together, as contrived as that might sound.  We need to cut ourselves a few breaks and not hold one another to insane standards that aren’t attainable.  We need to let go of anger and silly bickering.

We need to think about children who have lost parents and remember that the only thing our kids truly care about is that we are together (even if they claim they are pissed about not getting a Wii).  We need to hold our siblings and parents and grandparents a little tighter, knowing that this ride doesn’t last forever.  Some of us have been taught these lessons already.  Some of us will learn soon enough.

So, Merry Christmas and Happy 2011.  Please hug those who make you feel safe.  Tell them that you love them.  Thank them for all they do for you.  And raise a glass to those we have lost too soon.

Rum Balls

Makes about 3 dozen

2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs, from a 9 oz. box (I do this in the food processor)
2 cups toasted pumpkin seeds, finely chopped (or other nuts … I do this in the processor too)
4 t. light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
2 generous shot glasses of good quality rum (I used a pure cane sugar rum)
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

1.  Combine vanilla wafer crumbs, chopped pumpkin seeds, corn syrup, and salt.  Stir in rum.  If mixture is too dry, you may need a bit more rum.  It should be clumpy, so you can roll into balls.

2.  Put powdered sugar on a plate.

3.  Taking about 1 heaping teaspoon of the rum ball mixture, roll into a ball using the palms of your hands.  Drop into powdered sugar and coat well.  Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining rum ball mixture.  When finished, place rum balls in a ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator.  They are best if made up ahead and allowed to “ripen” for a few days (my grandmother’s words).   (This is the only time you want balls to be ripe.)

Whole Grain Orange Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Am I the only one who *hates* making cut out sugar cookies?  They are just so fussy.  And there is no instant gratification — make the dough, chill the dough, roll the dough, chill the dough, cut the cookies, re-roll the dough, bake the cookies, cut some more cookies, chill the freaking dough again, remove the cookies, cool the cookies, decorate the cookies.  I am just so much happier with a drop cookie that can be mixed and baked and thrown into the freezer before the children eat everything meant for Santa.

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In a different life, I think I might have been an OK chef … but pastry chef?  No way.  I am way too impatient, way too rammy, and definitely not into precision work.  I can do big bold flavors and I can make just about anything taste good, but I am not one for being meticulous — which would have made me a terrible surgeon too. Actually what would make me a terrible surgeon is my penchant for having panic attacks every time I’m in a hospital-like area.

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So, here’s a recipe for one of my favorite drop cookies.  This year I made them whole grain and cut back on the sugar a bit.  They are delicately flavored with orange zest and then drizzled with chocolate.  And they are fabulous for breakfast with a cup of coffee or on a platter for Santa.  You will find them right next to the cut out cookies.  Because you know I’m going to get guilted into making them anyway.

Whole Grain Orange Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Makes 2 to 2 1/2 dozen

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oats (not quick cooking)
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 cup, plus 2 T butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup molasses
Zest of one large orange
1 t vanilla extract
1/8 t orange extract
5-6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Mix together sugar, oats, flour, and baking powder.  Add in melted butter, milk, honey, molasses, orange zest, vanilla extract, and orange extract.  Stir until well blended and let dough sit while oven preheats (5-10 minutes)

3.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop dough in heaping teaspoons.  You will not want more than 6 cookies on a traditional baking sheet because they spread considerably. Flatten and smooth your heaping teaspoons of dough into circles.

4.  Bake for 12-13 minutes until golden.  They will get very crispy as the cool.

5.  When cookies are cooled, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cookies.  Allow chocolate to harden and store cookies in refrigerator or freezer.

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