9th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies Recap

Here is a list of the twelve cookies from this year. I hope that you all enjoy the rest of this Christmas season with family and friends.

Scroll to the bottom for links to the previous 8 years of cookies.

Almond-Toffee-Sandies-3_thumb1

DAY 1: Almond Toffee Sandies

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies_thumb[2]

DAY 2: Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown-Sugar-Cinnamon-Squares-1_thumb

DAY 3: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Squares

Roasted Spiced Pecans_thumb[1]

DAY 4: Roasted Spiced Pecans

Chocolate Thumbprints_thumb[2]

DAY 5: Chocolate Thumbprints with Homemade Caramel Filling

Chewy-Pecan-Cheesecake-Cookies_thumb[3]

DAY 6: Chewy Pecan Cheesecake Cookies

Almond-Butter-Cookies-1_thumb2

DAY 7: Glazed Almond Butter Cookies

German-Lebkuchen_thumb2

DAY 8: German Lebkuchen

Lemon-Cake-Mix-Cookies_thumb2

DAY 9: Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Salted Caramel Bars_thumb[2]

DAY 10: Salted Caramel Bars

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies 2_thumb[3]

DAY 11: Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread 2

DAY 12: Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Lots More Christmas Cookies and Treats:

1st Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

2nd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

3rd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

4th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2012)

5th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2013)

6th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2014)

7th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2015)

8th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2016)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and other stuff): Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread 2

DAY 12 : Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

A delicious quick bread that makes great gifts for friends and neighbors. It is also great spread with a little cream cheese before eating.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pans 1

Dollar stores and Michaels often sell cute Christmas mini-loaf pans that you can bake these in. Then you can give the cute little pan to neighbors along with the bread.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pan

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread 2

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

4 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 can (16oz) pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two regular loaf pans (or 6-8 mini loaf pans), or spray with Baking Pam.

Beat eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and pumpkin until well mixed.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  Stir into pumpkin mixture. Fold in chopped cranberries and walnuts.

Spoon batter into prepared pans. Fill mini loaf pans about 2/3 full.

For regular loaf pans: bake for 60 minutes
For mini-loaf pans: bake for 35-45 minutes

Bake until top of loaf springs back when touched gently (or toothpick comes out clean). Check bread after about 30 minutes: cover loosely with foil if it is beginning to brown too quickly.

Yield: 2 regular loaves or 5-6 mini-loaves

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies 2

DAY 11: Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

Rich, dark chocolate cookies studded with chocolate chips. Cream cheese (I think this may be a theme this year) keeps them soft and chewy. For the chocolate lover.

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies 1

RECIPE:

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies 2

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbs vanilla extract
3 ½ cups flour
½ cup Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Stir together the flour, cocoa, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Beat into wet ingredients. Mix in the chocolate chips. Chill dough for 20-30 minutes.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until barely set. Cookies will continue to set as they cool.  Cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Salted Caramel Bars

Salted Caramel Bars

DAY 10: Salted Caramel Bars

A tender bar cookie with a sweet layer of salted caramel. You can use caramel sauce from a jar, or try the homemade recipe below. You will never go back after trying it! The salted caramel recipe below makes more than you will need for the bar cookies, but I’m sure you can find other uses for the leftovers (apples, ice cream, pies, your finger).

RECIPE:

Salted Caramel Bars

Salted Caramel Bars
(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup  Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9” square baking pan with parchment paper or nonstick foil; set aside.

Place the melted butter in a large bowl and whisk in the brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold into wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until well mixed.

Press half of the dough into the prepared pan. Pour the salted caramel sauce onto the center of the dough and spread into an even layer, leaving about a ½-inch of space around the edges. Drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently spread  until the caramel is covered.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a thin coating of caramel.

Cool the bars on a wire rack to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set. Cut into squares and serve.

Makes 16 bars.

Salted Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
½ cup heavy cream
1 – 1 ½ tsp flaky or coarse sea salt
1 tsp vanilla (and/or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)

Place sugar in a medium to large saucepan (mixture will bubble up and expand as cool ingredients are added to the hot pan). Cook over medium heat until sugar just begins to melt. Stir gently, trying to keep sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts completely and is a medium amber color (about 350°F if you use an instant-read thermometer). Reduce heat to low and quickly whisk in butter chunks, stirring constantly.

Stir in cream, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in salt and vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into a glass jar or heat-safe bowl to cool. Do NOT scrape sides or bottom of the pan with a spatula. If you do, you are likely to get sugar crystals into your nice smooth caramel. If the caramel has formed crystals while cooking, you can pour it from the pan through a fine sieve into the jar to remove any crystals before cooling.

Caramel can be kept in a covered jar at room temperature for several weeks.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Lemon Cake-Mix Cookies

Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

DAY 9: Lemon Cake-Mix Cookies

A soft, lemony, slightly gooey cookie.

We make a similar cookie with a white cake mix that we call Snowball Cookies, but there was just something wrong with calling these “Yellow Snow”- ball Cookies.

This is a great recipe for kids and beginning bakers, as there is minimal measuring. Kids are also great helpers when it comes to rolling things in powdered sugar. Just plan a little extra clean-up time if you let them help with that step.

RECIPE:

Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Lemon Cake-Mix Cookies

½ cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tsp fresh lemon zest, optional
1 box lemon cake mix
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and lemon zest and then cake mix. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Place about ½ cup powdered sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into balls (about 1” in diameter) and then roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust cooled cookies with additional sifted powdered sugar.

Makes 2 ½ – 3 dozen cookies

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: German Lebkuchen

German Lebkuchen

DAY 8: German Lebkuchen

A traditional German Christmas cookie. These cookies have a soft cake-like texture and similar spices as gingerbread. Iced with a sweet lemony glaze.

RECIPE:

German Lebkuchen

German Lebkuchen
(recipe adapted from One Acre Vintage)

½ cup honey
½ cup white sugar
2 Tbs butter,melted
2 large eggs
3 Tbs orange marmalade
½ tsp almond extract
2 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1  tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cardamom

Glaze:
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs cream
about 1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a mixing bowl, beat honey, sugar and butter until light and creamy. Beat in eggs, marmalade, and almond extract.

Stir together the remaining dry ingredients and beat into wet mixture until smooth.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Spoon glaze over cooled cookies.

Glaze:
Combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add more sugar until you reach desired consistency.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Glazed Almond Butter Cookies

Almond Butter Cookies 1

DAY 7: Glazed Almond Butter Cookies

An uncomplicated cookie with a great almond flavor and a glaze that sets firm enough that you can stack the cookies. And no piping skills required.

Bake these until they are barely done to keep them soft.

NOTE: These are almond flavored “Butter Cookies” not “Almond Butter” (cousin to peanut butter) Cookies.

RECIPE:

Almond Butter Cookies 1

Glazed Almond Butter Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

Glaze Frosting (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mats.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and almond extract, beating until well mixed.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually mix into wet ingredients. Chill dough for one hour.

Roll dough into 1” balls and place on prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 8 minutes; do not overcook. Let cookies cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before frosting with the glaze.

 

Glaze Frosting:

6 Tbs butter
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla (or ½ tsp almond) extract
1 lb (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
3-4 drops gel food coloring

Place butter and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 60-90 seconds, until butter melts. Stir in extract (if you want to use white icing, use a clear vanilla or other flavored extract). Use a whisk to mix in powdered sugar. Tint with desired gel food coloring.

Spread tops of cooled cookies with warm glaze and place on a sheet of waxed paper. If glaze gets too thick, heat in microwave for 15-20 seconds. Allow glaze to set on cookies for at least one hour before storing cookies.

Makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies

To freeze: Freeze cookies in single layer and then place in a container and store in freezer. Thaw cookies in a single layer.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Chewy Pecan Cheesecake Cookies

Chewy Pecan Cheesecake Cookies

DAY 6: Chewy Pecan Cheesecake Cookies

These cookies were some of my favorites growing up. They are a chewy cookie with lots of nuts and a slight tang from the cream cheese.

They are also egg-free if you are baking for people with allergies.

Thanks Mom!

RECIPE:

Chewy Pecan Cheesecake Cookies

Chewy Pecan Cheesecake Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt and beat well. Stir in nuts.

Shape dough  into 1” balls. Place on prepared baking sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cool 2-3 minutes on baking sheet before removing to wire rack.

Makes about 4 ½ dozen cookies

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Thumbprints with Homemade Caramel Filling

Chocolate Thumbprints

DAY 5: Chocolate Thumbprints with Homemade Caramel Filling

If you are feeling extra ambitious, instead of making these chocolate thumbprint cookies with melted packaged caramels, you can make your own caramel filling.

With a candy thermometer, the caramel filling comes together quickly and turns a good cookie into a fabulous one!

If you want to take the “easy” road out and buy a bag of Kraft Caramels, that recipe can be found HERE.

Here is my tip for getting a good deep pocket for all of that amazing caramel: Use the back of a rounded measuring spoon and press it into the center of each cookie. I use a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon on the raw cookie dough and then a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon on the hot, baked cookie. This is a good alternative to actually using (and burning) your thumbs.

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RECIPE:

Chocolate Thumbprints

Chocolate Thumbprints with Homemade Caramel Filling

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans

Homemade Caramel Filling (recipe below)

Glaze:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs corn syrup

Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt. Beat until well combined. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place egg whites in a small bowl. Place finely chopped pecans in a bowl. Set aside. Roll dough into balls. Dip balls into egg white and then into pecans. (I find this easier if I make a whole baking sheet worth of dough balls, then dip them in egg/pecans). Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make a small indentation in the center of each cookie with the back of measuring spoon (I use a ½ teaspoon) or your thumb.

Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes, or until cookies are set.

While cookies are still hot, press center again (use the back of a round 1 teaspoon measuring spoon). Cool.

Prepare Caramel Filling (recipe below).
Spoon small amount of warm caramel into centers of baked cookies. Carefully remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

For Chocolate Glaze: Combine bittersweet chips, butter and corn syrup in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 20-30 seconds if not melted. Let cool slightly. Pour chocolate into a small Ziploc freezer bag. Poke a hole in the corner of the bag (a bamboo skewer makes a perfect sized hole). Drizzle chocolate over the cooled cookies. Cool until set.

To store: refrigerate or freeze cookies in individual layers; then store between layers of waxed paper in the refrigerator or freezer. They can also be stored at room temperature, but if you stack them, they will stick together.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
.

Homemade Caramel Filling

1 cup unsalted butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbs heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt

Combine butter, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium low, maintaining a low but continuous simmer, until caramel reaches 235°F (soft ball stage), stirring occasionally. This will take about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and other stuff): Roasted Spiced Pecans

Roasted Spiced Pecans

DAY 4: Roasted Spiced Pecans

These slightly spicy nuts are my family’s very favorite snack. I make them all year round, at least once or twice a month.

And since this is a savory treat, not a sweet one, you can feel good about dipping into these all through the holidays!

RECIPE:

Roasted Spiced Pecans

Roasted Spiced Pecans

6 cups (24oz bag) pecan halves
5 Tbs butter
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs Sriracha sauce (adjust to taste)
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
¾ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp ground mustard

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil.

Place pecan halves in a large mixing bowl. Melt butter in a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Stir in remaining seasonings and mix well. Pour butter mixture over pecans and stir until pecans are well coated.

Spread pecans in an even layer on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes; stir and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes. Allow pecans to cool on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally as they cool. Store in an airtight container.

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