Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Advent Calendar: December 8

(This is post 8 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Geneabloggers.com)

December 8 -
Christmas Cookies -

Did your family or ancestors make Christmas cookies? How did you help? Did you have a favorite cookie?

My mother made a lot of Christmas cookies when we were growing up. I'm sure I helped - somehow. I had/have three favorites that I still make today:

The ones pictured at the top (photo adapted from Mary Jane Watson) are known by a number of names: Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Snowballs. We always called them Pecan Puffs. Obviously we always made them with pecans (something I can pick up from under the trees where I live), but I've seen recipes with walnuts. The recipes are all basically the same:
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 4 tablespoons powdered (confectioner's) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup ground pecans
Mix. Roll in balls. Bake 40 minutes in 250-degree oven. While warm, roll in powdered sugar.

Another favorite was Lemon Bars. These are very easy. They're also pretty common. A few years ago, somebody won the "delicious" category in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Cookie Challenge with an almost-identical recipe (search for "Lemon Bars"). Hmmph.

The last favorite is one I call "Chocolate Swirls." It uses unsweetened chocolate, ginger, allspice, and cinnamon, so they aren't super-sweet. The dough is chilled, hand-rolled into "snakes," and then coiled into a circle and sprinkled with granulated sugar. They take the longest to prepare but bake the fastest (10 minutes).

I don't remember making traditional cut-out sugar cookies and frosting them as a child, but I did do that with my son a few times when he was little. However, now he's not much into sweets, and my husband and I don't really need the calories. I probably wouldn't make cookies at all if it wasn't for my husband's grandchildren. The youngest, Luke, LOVES the lemon bars, and his dad, Mike, likes the pecan puffs. A bunch of my Christmas/winter tins are still at their house from the last time I made them some, for Luke's fourth birthday in February.

© Amanda Pape - 2009


  1. I wrote about your choice number 1 as well! Enjoying your posts! Great job!

  2. We're gonna have to start a Pecan Puff Fan Club.