Gini's Research Toolbox

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Advent Calendar ~ Christmas Cookies ~



~German Spritz Cookies and Nita's Banana Bread~

Christmas Cookies are a very big part of our Christmas. In November, mom starts baking and stores them in tin containers until a week before Christmas. Mom would have platters full of each type of cookie on the table for when friends and family stop by.

My favorite cookie as I had posted about in the Advent Calendar Holiday Foods post, is mom's Spritz Cookie! They are so good. I am a hardcore tea drinker, when I get to mom's, the electric kettle goes on, mom and I sit and chat while I enjoy several Spritz cookies. These cookies always bring back such loving memories of Mom and home.

Mom still uses a cookie press that she brought with her from Germany when we came to the states. I have tried to make these cookies. It's pretty comical ~ the modern cookie press I have is a nightmare to use and my cookies come out disastrous each time! Until I inherit the German cookie press, I leave the Spritz cookie making to mom.

Mom's German Spritz Cookies

1 cup of butter (2 sticks) softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup toasted sliced blanched almonds finely ground

Optional: toppings (sprinkles, cherries, etc.). In the last few years, mom has dipped half of the cookie in chocolate, which is my favorite.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cream butter, add sugar, beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and extracts. Gradually blend in flour and almonds. Using either a cookie press or pastry bag, pipe different shapes (mom makes an S, or a round or straight 3" cookie, it's up to your imagination) onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until a pale golden color. Remove cookies and cool on wire racks. Decorate as you please.


Enjoy ~

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I have also started my own baking tradition: Banana Bread. It's not a cookie but I wanted to share it here anyway. It is the best banana bread I have ever tasted. The recipe is from my childhood best friend, Sandy's mom (my second mom), Nita. This recipe is a huge hit around our house and I take a loaf to our friends that have a Christmas morning breakfast every year at their home. Nita's banana bread is wonderful and each time I make it, it brings a smile to my face with many wonderful memories. Thank you Nita, I love ya!


Nita's Banana Bread


(published with permission)

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 or 2 cups sugar (I use 1 cup and its just right)
1 teaspoon salt

Mix all together, then add:
1 1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 8oz can of crushed pineapple with the juice
3 mashed bananas
Chocolate chips (optional - I always add chocolate chips, the are a nice addition.)

Bake in a greased and floured tube or bundt pan at 350 for about an hour. Keep checking with a toothpick to make sure you don't over cook it. Makes 2 loaves.


Enjoy~




I don't have any photos of mom's cookies or Nita's banana bread. As they are made this year,  I will have photos to share.














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