Saturday, December 8, 2012

Advent Calendar ~ Christmas Cookies

 ~ Mom's home, Christmas 2009 ~

Christmas Cookies were a very big part of our Christmas. In November, mom (1933~2010) would start baking her cookies and store them in tin containers until about a week before Christmas. Mom would have platters full of each type of cookie on the table for when friends and family stopped by.

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

Mom still used a cookie press that she had 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 was to inherit the German cookie press, I left 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° ~

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 ~


I have also started my own baking tradition: Banana Bread. It's not a cookie but I wanted to share it with you 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!

~ My home, 2011 ~

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 and 1/2 cup oil
1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1  8oz can of crushed pineapple with the juice (I have used less and it's fine)
3 mashed bananas
Chocolate chips (optional - I always add chocolate chips, they 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. This year, 2011, I decided to make muffins instead of loaves, I'm liking the muffins alot. I also used Nita's mixture of sugar and cinnamon and you can add pecans or walnuts, (Nita uses walnuts) finely chopped, mix the cinnamon, sugar and nuts together and sprinkle over the top of the batter before baking. Makes a wonderful topping. 


~ Happy Holidays! ~

blog divider

 This post originally created for Christmas Cookies on the
             With the passing of my Mom (1933~2010) and Grandmother (1913~2010)  in 2010,
I have made changes to the original 2009 post . 


Kathy, the Single-minded Offshoot said...

Gini - in my December post, I wrote about the Pfeffernusse that my grandmother, mother, and aunts made. Have you ever had them and if so, were they the hard ones or the soft ones (without pepper or nuts)? I'm very curious about the origin of the soft ones, since our variety was quite hard but very tasty!

Barbara Poole said...

Okay, I can't wait to make the banana muffins, I just copied it. They sound delicious. Thanks for posting and show the photos of your favorite treats.

Gini said...

Your going to love them Barbara! They come out so moist and yummy! Let me know if you have any questions and then too how they come out!

Gini said...

Kathy, honestly, I do not recall Pfeffernusse, I am going to ask my auntie Gitta in Germany. It sounds familiar but not 100%. I will find out for us though!