How to Make Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies just like Grandma
This week, I decided I wanted to create my own Christmas cookies that were representative of an old-fashioned Christmas. The holidays have OFFICIALLY arrived and I could not be more excited because Christmas is my favorite time of year! The lights, the decorations, the gift-giving…and of course-THE FOOD! During this time I will be sharing new recipes I’ve created along with some very, very old family recipes.
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What you may need to make this recipe:
Ingredients you will need:
Freshly squeezed juice of an orange
White granulated sugar
How to make Christmas Cookies “the old fashioned way”:
So, what exactly makes these cookies old-fashioned? In truth, there isn’t a solid rule on old-fashioned versus modern cookies! However, I love all things old-fashioned and-to me- the citrus and the homemade vanilla extract are what did it for me.
When I think of an old-fashioned Christmas the first thing that comes to my mind is a scene from the 1994 film Little Women starring Winona Ryder. The household was preparing to celebrate Christmas, and as a result, oranges had been set on the table as a “treat” for the day. In the true spirit of Christmas, the family packed up their many wonderful goodies and took them to a sick and destitute family that was in far greater need of the nourishment than the March sisters.
Little Women is one of my favorite books and movies EVER, if you can’t tell. Not only did I previously dress as Louisa May Alcott for a book report, but I gave my daughter the middle name “Josephine” after Jo March- my fictional idol.
How to make homemade extracts
Surprisingly, the process of how to make homemade extracts is incredibly easy. You need:
Cheap alcohol ( I used vodka. You can use bourbon or rum if you want to add to the flavor)
Food, herb, plant, etc. from which you would like to extract from (Vanilla beans, oranges, lemons, mint, etc.)
If you are using vanilla beans, you need to slice open the bean before placing in the jar. Next, cover completely with alcohol. Lastly, screw on the lid. Later, in about 6 months, you will strain the liquid into a new jar with a lid. Overall, these extracts are simple to make, and inexpensive! As a result, they make excellent gifts- Specifically, around the holidays when everyone is baking! You can even use a tablespoon Orange Extract in this recipe in place of the orange zest and juice!
Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies
- 1 cup of softened unsalted butter
- ¼ tsp of orange zest
- ¼ tsp of freshly squeezed juice of an orange
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 2 cups of granulated white sugar set aside 1/2 cup for later, not to be mixed into dough
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using a hand or standing mixer, combine: softened butter; orange zest; juice of orange; eggs; vanilla; white sugar; and brown sugar.
- Mix until all ingredients are evenly combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.
- Next, slowly mix dry ingredients to the dough using your mixer until all ingredients are evenly combined.
- Roll dough ½ inch balls using your hands, cover balls completely in granulated sugar and place an inch apart on a cookie sheet that is greased, non-stick or has a layer of parchment paper.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Allow cookies to sit on the pan for 5 minutes, once removed from the oven. Place cookies on plate or wire rack to cool.
- (For garnish like in the photo: completely cover frozen cherries in white granulated sugar. Place on plate with cookies and sprinkle some of the left over sugar on the plate for the perfect winter look!)
Also, another fun option for these cookies is to roll them flat and use cookie cutters or this adorable vintage engraved/embossed wooden rolling pin. It rolls intricate and beautiful holiday patterns onto the dough really playing up the old fashioned vibe for this recipe!
These cookies were GONE before the day was over. The recipe made a TON of dough so I froze the rest to use at a later date. If you enjoyed this recipe, follow Deerwood + Jones on social media or sign-up for the D+J Newsletter below. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to All!
Savor the Moment-
Natalie from Deerwood + Jones
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