11 Days ’til Christmas: Exchange

I stayed up far, far too late making cookies for a cookie exchange at work (and I’m obviously still up). Have you done one of those? For each person participating (other than yourself), you bring a 1/2 dozen cookies–or your specified amount–and the recipe. Then you do a big swap with everyone getting a package of cookies from each of the other participants. In theory that means you can offer a variety of cookies at your own holiday shindig without having to bake more than one type yourself. Some folks package up their cookies in beautiful containers which I have to admit is part of the fun. I’m more of a bung-’em-in-the-pre-printed-holiday-Ziploc-and-be-on-your-way sort, though. So it goes. I did expend slightly more effort on the cookie decorating part this year but nothing compared to what I expect I’ll see at work on exchange day.

Because I seem to have renounced sleep for the duration of the holidays season, this is what I went for:

Reindeer Christmas Cookies

On Dasher, On Dancer, On Prancer and Vixen. On Comet, On Cupid, On Donder and Blitzen (led by Rudolph).

They’re reindeer (so everyone’s getting 9 cookies instead of 6…I couldn’t help myself) made from a family recipe called Rolled/Filled Cookies. And you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the recipe is once again from my maternal grandmother, Edith Davis. The dough’s great for cut-out cookies since it’s not terribly sweet and can stand up to the oodles of frosting that may prove necessary at the decoration stage. Way back in the last century before I went off to college, my mom and I would make tons of cookies and these (highly decorated) were features of the Christmas cookie trays we’d take to friends and neighbors. There’s also a filling portion of the recipe (not used this time) that takes the dough to a whole other level. I might share the filling part of the recipe at some later date. Or not.

Rolled/Filled Cookies
Makes approximately 100 cookies

Cream together wet ingredients:
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour milk (add a tablespoon of white vinegar to your cup of milk and let it sit for a bit before adding–it will almost certainly curdle)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix together dry ingredients:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Refrigerate dough until workable. Roll to a 1/8″-1/4″ thickness on a lightly floured board and cut out with your favorite cookie cutters. Bake on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet for 8 minutes (or until lightly golden just at the edges) at 400* F. When the cookies are cool, decorate with your favorite icing, candies, etc.

I’m wondering what kind of cookies other people made. They’re sure to be tasty, fancy, and packaged beautifully. Do you have a specialty or favorite cookie that you make this time of year?