Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent Begins

"We need to make Christmas cookies!" My four-year-old has been making this demand for well over a week now. It is now tradition to tie our holiday baking in with the reading of our Advent book. Every night, starting December 1st, we begin the countdown to Christmas with one variety of cookie for the season accompanied by the story of Jesus Christ's birth.

My happy Andelise with some Christmas tree sandwich cookies
Our Advent Book is done beautifully by John and Kathy Stockman over at Celebrations and Traditions. If you do not have an Advent tradition, we highly recommend this one! Our girls love to take turns reading as well as opening the unique door for each day. This is our bedtime story through Christmas and it is one thing I confidently embrace as tradition for our family.

As for the first day of our Advent Christmas Cookies,I was finding myself more Grinch-like than usual this season and didn't have many ingredients on hand for our standard go to treats.  After thumbing through my recipes, I decided to try the Pampered Chef All-Occasion Cookies from their Celebrate cookbook with a Christmas twist. My girls and my husband tell me they were a tasty treat.

Here's the recipe:

All-Occasion Cookies

1 package (18.25 oz) devil's food cake mix
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pound (4 sticks) butter or margarine, divided (do not use vegetable oil spread)

Filling

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
6 to 8 drops green food coloring
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional - I did NOT use)

Preheat oven to 350*F. In small bowl, microwave 2 sticks of butter on High 1 minute or until melted. Slice remaining butter into 1/2 inch pieces, add to melted butter, tossing to coat. Allow butter to stand 3-5 minutes or until softened.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine cake mix and flour; blend well using whisk, breaking up any large lumps. Whisk butter until smooth and free of lumps. If necessary, microwave butter an additional 10-20 seconds or until creamy and pourable. Do not melt completely.

Pour butter all at once into dry ingredients, scraping the butter from bowl. Mix until dry ingredients are incorporated and dough is smooth. (If dough is too stiff to stir, knead by hand until smooth.)

Use cookie press to form Christmas tree shaped cookies.

Bake cookies 15-17 minutes. Cool 3 minutes on before moving to cooling rack. Cool completely.

Spread filling between two cookies to complete the sandwich appearance.

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