Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cookie Monster!

I love cookies! And I love Christmas cookies even more. I own (and use!) probably 50 different cookie-only cook books. More than half of those are dedicated to Christmas cookies. I buy the little Pillsbury mini-magazines in the checkout aisle when they feature holiday cookies. I'm addicted! I collect recipes from friends and family. I have a huge box of cookie cutters and all sorts of cookie presses and fun decorating tools.

Shortbread, sugar cookies and birds' nests (pictured) have to be made every Christmas. They are standard Wilwand fare. I treasure my recipe cards written in my mother-in-law's hand. I love to add a few new and experimental treats every year. Pfefferneuse usually makes an appearance as do some sort of soft ginger cookies. A favorite from last year was a peppermint sandy. If I can remember where I got the recipe, it will definitely be gracing our cookie plates this year.

My all-time, hands-down favorite cookie is Toffee Almond Sandies. I could eat the entire bowl of cookie dough or every baked treat on the cookie sheet.

Toffee Almond Sandies

1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
4-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
2 cups sliced almonds
1 package English toffee bits or almond brickle chips

In a bowl, cream butter, oil and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extract. Combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in almonds and toffee bits. Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Makes about 9 dozen.