12 Days of Christmas

I’ve decided to start off the official twelve days of Christmas by posting a holiday recipe every day until the 25th!  Cookies, candies, and other foods that are bad for you (but it’s okay because it’s the holidays).  The recipes will be some old, some new, but all worthy of your holiday baking list.

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First Day of Christmas:  German Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

This is an old recipe, dating back to 3 years ago (didn’t really think I had a blog that long ago tbh).  These cookies remain one of my favorites, and I also like how they look snowy!

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Second Day of Christmas: Soft Sugar Cookies with Sour Cream Frosting

These cookies are perfect for the holidays, because the recipe makes a lot, everyone likes them, and you can decorate them with holiday sprinkles.  They take a little extra time than most cookies, but it’s worth it, I promise!

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Third Day of Christmas: Orange Drop Cookies

This is my grandma’s recipe that I bake entirely too much (although, I don’t really see anyone complaining about it).  It’s been one of my favorite desserts since I was really little.  If you’re indecisive about holiday baking, just trust me on this: make these cookies.

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Fourth Day of Christmas: Cheesecake Crumb Bars

Taking a break from the cookies to present cheesecake crumb bars!  A mix between cheesecake, crumb cake, and shortbread.  Customize with different flavors, or go simple with a little vanilla.

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Fifth Day of Christmas: The Best Nut Caramel Ever

This is one of my family’s favorite holiday recipes!  The caramel is super easy to make, and it’s customizable, because you can just add in whatever nuts you have on hand (although I highly recommend walnuts and hazelnuts).  Wrap them in mini Christmas cupcake liners, because it’s cute.

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Sixth Day of Christmas: Pineapple Zucchini Bread

This bread is a nice break from all the super sweet that comes with cookies and candy during the holidays.  Filled with zucchini, walnuts, and pineapple, it’s perfect with a little butter and some coffee for breakfast!

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Seventh Day of Christmas: Cinnamon Butter Candy

Unique, spicy, and the hardest part of the recipe is boiling the water.  Wrap as a gift, and give your friends a break from peppermint chocolate bark.  Or just keep it for yourself (trust me, you’ll want to)!

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Eighth Day of Christmas: Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

These are time consuming, but if you make these, you will pretty much win Christmas baking altogether.  P.S. They’re not hard.  They just have to rise for a few hours!

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Ninth Day of Christmas: Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are really easy to make, and I love how festive they are!  Sweet from white chocolate, tart from the cranberries, and chewy from the oatmeal.  Santa will be happy 🙂

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Tenth Day of Christmas: Butter Cookies with Walnuts

Effortless, buttery icebox cookies filled with walnuts that melt when you eat them.  Keep them simple with vanilla, or add extra flavors to get more creative with your holiday baking.  This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so you have plenty to wrap up and gift!

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Eleventh Day of Christmas: Espresso Hot Chocolate with Vanilla Whipped Cream

This is by far my favorite hot chocolate I’ve ever had.  Only 5 ingredients and perfect for Christmas brunch!

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Twelfth Day of Christmas: Norwegian Lefse

My family’s Christmas tradition every year!  Lefse is a cross between a tortilla and a crepe, made out of potatoes.  I look forward to making lefse every year, because it’s fun and of course, it tastes amazing!  If you’ve ever wanted to make Nordic food, this is the best place to start.

Merry Christmas, my friends ♥

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Soft Almond Sugar Cookies

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Way to go with posting all the holiday stuff two days before Christmas, Sara.

I know that’s what you’re all thinking.

Don’t lie.

But I’m just now getting to it because 1. I was waiting until I got back to Vegas so I could bake with my mom and 2. I decided not to bake at home since I’m the only one there to eat all of this stuff.

That’s my excuse(s) and I’m sticking to it (them)!

But on the bright side, these are the best sugar cookies I’ve ever had.  I know that you’ve seen that phrase a sickeningly obnoxious amount of times on Pinterest but this is the for real truth.  I mean it!

They’re soft and biscuity and not to sweet and almondy and just plain delicious and the frosting is perfect okay?  So just take my word for it and make them, OKAY?!

Okay.

Also, I’m posting two different recipes for frosting.  The first is Royal Frosting and you use it to outline your cookies so the flood icing (second recipe) does not spill over the sides and give you a huge headache-y mess.  Just outline your cookies and designs with the royal icing (the thick white icing in my pictures) and fill it in with the colored flood icing and sprinkles and stuff.  Just add some food coloring to your flood icing to make a bunch of pretty colors and have fun!  Also, I recommend you use these kinds of bottles…

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…to spread your flood icing on your cookie.  It makes your life sooooo much easier, I swear.  You can get these at Michael’s in the baking section and probably at other grocery/baking stores.  Use a pastry bag (or plastic bag) and small round tip to outline the royal icing.

If you have any questions for me about these cookies, feel free to ask!  I have become an expert.

Cookies:

1 1/3 c. butter

1 1/2 c. sugar

3/4 c. buttermilk

2 eggs

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp. almond extract (if you’re allergic, you can just leave this out!)

5 1/2 c. AP flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

In a bowl, combine butter and sugar until creamy.  Add the buttermilk, eggs, and extracts.  It will look kind of curdy and gross, but don’t worry.  Combine all of your dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture in 3-4 stages.  If the dough is too runny, add more flour.  If it seems good and sturdy at 5 cups of flour, just stop there.  Seal the finished dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

Roll the dough about 1/4 in. thick on a floured surface and use cookie cutters to make your favorite shapes.  I recommend rolling in batches and keeping unused dough in the fridge because when this gets warm, it becomes a huge mess.  Lay your cut out cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 5 minutes.  Bake them for 8-12 minutes at 350*.  They should be slightly browned around the edges and when you press them, they will feel soft.  Let them cool before frosting them!  *The time it takes to bake them depends on the size of your cookie cutter(s) and the thickness you roll out the dough*.

Royal Icing:

1/4 c. meringue powder or dried powdered egg whites

1/2 c. water

3 3/4 (1 lb.) powdered sugar

2 tsp. light corn syrup

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. almond extract (use vanilla if allergic)

Combine water and meringue powder (dried egg whites) and mix until frothy.  Add the rest of the ingredients and beat for about 6-8 minutes or until thick and stiff.  It should not be runny!  Outline the cookies using a pastry bag and small round tip.

Flood Icing:

1 c. powdered sugar

1 Tbs. milk

2 tsp. light corn syrup

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. almond extract (or vanilla)

Combine ingredients together with a whisk.  It should be the consistency of syrup.  Add more milk if it is too thick.  Add food coloring and put in bottles!  You can do as many or as little colors as you like.  We did dark green, light green, red, blue, and white.  I think we ended up making about 4 recipes of this for our cookies, but we had a bit leftover so I would start with maybe 2 or 3 batches and add more if needed.

Then just fill the outline of your designs with icing!  And add sprinkles or whatever else you like.  We used some black gel frosting from the store to make small designs on our cookies.  But be careful not to add too much or there will be a funky taste.  Which is bad joo joo.

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Aren’t they just so cute and happy?  These are a few of my favorites.  But we had some real gems.

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Merry Christmas!  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your families.  P.S. These cookies would be good for any holiday in any shape!

XOXO Sara