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Buttery Christmas cookies to make and share

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At Christmastime, cookie baking is a favorite activity! It's great fun to gather children in the kitchen and spend an afternoon making, baking and eating holiday cookies. There are scores of recipes that people make at Christmas and everyone has a favorite holiday cookie. Today, I'm sharing a favorite recipe that I enjoy at Christmas, called "Spritz Cookies".

This is a cookie recipe that is made with a cookie press or cookie gun. These can be found in many stores, including kitchen shops. In case you're not familiar with one of these, the dough is packed in the tube that comes with the press. There is a design plate on one end of the tube, which makes the design of the cookie as it's pressed out. Once you get the hang of using one of these, you can crank out cookies quickly and easily. And it's fun to do!

This recipe uses confectioner's sugar rather than granulated sugar, which creates a cookie that tastes creamy and smooth when it's eaten. It's a rich cookie and make sure to use only real butter. While margarine can be used, it's no match for butter. If you're watching your fat and cholesterol intake, eat these sparingly.....which is hard to do, because they're so very good!

A nice idea is to pack these in a pretty Christmas tin that's lined with foil. To make the gift extra special, add a bag or jar of their favorite coffee with a pretty mug. A food gift is always a neat treat, so this would be a welcome gift to give and get.

If you would like more ideas for food gifts, I shared some recipes last year that make great gifts. Here's the link to those recipes:

http://www.examiner.com/article/giving-the-gift-of-food

If you've never had a Spritz cookie, give this recipe a try and see how great they are!

SPRITZ COOKIES

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups unsifted confectioner's sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • colored sugars for decorating

Mix together the flour and salt. Cream the butter, gradually adding the sugar. Beat in the egg yolks. Gradually add the flour mixture, along with the extracts. Pack the dough into a cookie press or cookie gun according to manufacturer's directions. Press out onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugars. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies rest on baking sheet briefly before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. (These cookies freeze very well.)

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