Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Cookie Favorites From Hatquarters

Is there anything better than the aroma of freshly baked cookies?  What about the warmth and the ooey-gooey goodness of a cookie that is just falling apart in your hands, because you couldn't wait until it cooled down to sneak a taste? Yum!! (Of course, you also sampled the batter for quality assurance. ::Wink wink::)

In anticipation of the upcoming holidays, Hatquarters' team members were sharing their favorite holiday cookie recipes and the memories associated with them, and we decided to take things one step further and post these recipes and stories with here for you! Every Thursday throughout the month of  December, we are going to introduce two brand new recipes here on Red Hat Chat. These recipes have been taste-tested, and they have earned their spots on our personal holiday cookie rotations. We hope you will welcome these recipes into your homes for the holidays, and we encourage you to please share your pictures if you do decide to make them!

Sugar Cookies from Exalted Queen Mother Sue Ellen Cooper 

This recipe comes from the 1968 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens (with the familiar red and white checked cover) Cookbook that my husband and I received as a wedding gift. The book itself is dog-eared and missing several pages, but I can't seem to get rid of it. The only time I make these cookies is Christmas-time. For a number of years, I made them with my kids, usually doubling the recipe because we ate so much dough before even getting the cookies into the oven. As the kids got older, they lost interest and drifted out of the kitchen before the decorating was half done, leaving me at the table with multiple bowls of to finish (and clean up) alone.

When grandchildren came along, it was great fun to start the whole process again. But now their attention span is waning. They enjoy the process for a while, but then they begin to lose interest before the whole process is done. Lesson learned: Do NOT double the recipe (unless you enjoy finishing by yourself)!

But enjoy! These cookies are GOOD!

Sugar Cookies
2/3  cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
4 tsp milk
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt

Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar, orange peel and vanilla. Add eggs; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in milk. Sift together dry ingredients. Blend into creamed mixture. Divide dough into 2 equal parts. Chill 1 hour.

On lightly floured surface, roll to 1/8 inch. Cut in desired shapes with cutters. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 6-8 minutes. Cool slightly; remove from sheet. Decorate as desired.

Makes 2 dozen.

I usually mix up small batches of confectioners' sugar with a few drops of milk and some food coloring to various colors of frosting. While frosting is still wet, I shake on sprinkles and other embellishments.

Bourbon Balls from Lady Cranberry Jo Elliot

THIS is the recipe that started the cookie conversation at Hatquarters. For many years, Lady Cranberry has raved about these no-bake Bourbon Ball cookies that are a hit at every party she has ever made them for. This recipe comes from "The Cookie Book" in the 1977 Holiday edition of Journal Magazine, featuring cover model Marlo Thomas.

Here's a funny story about this recipe: This recipe calls for the balls to sit in the refrigerator for three days prior to serving. The first time Jo made them, she let them sit for the suggested amount of time, but when she pulled them out of the refrigerator, she noticed that they were a little wetter than she thought they ought to be. She reviewed the recipe and discovered she had accidentally used more bourbon than the recipe called for. She sampled one, and it was perfect. (It just offered a little extra kick!)  Ever since then, Jo has been adding a few extra splashes of bourbon to her Bourbon Ball cookie batches.

Bourbon Balls
1 package (12 oz.) vanilla wafers, finely crushed (3 cups)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup granulated sugar

In a large bowl thoroughly mix all ingredients except 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Store in tightly-covered container for at least three days before serving for flavors to mellow. Keeps up to 2 weeks in tightly-covered container. Makes about 31/2 dozen balls.


  1. These cookies have never lasted two weeks!