Confession: I just want to curl up on the couch with a mug of tea. I am bravely fighting a head cold. It sucks.
But I digress.
I promised I would share a cookie recipe. I’m always on the lookout for new holiday goodies, regardless of the holiday. Christmas just happens to be a favorite. Right next to Thanksgiving. There’s really not a thing about Christmas I don’t like. The celebration of Jesus’s birth, the decorating, the cooking and eating and drinking, the music, the snow (hopefully). Not so much the gift giving. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the actual giving of a gift, but I’m poor. I hate having to compete with the latest and greatest whatsit out there. I hate thinking that the recipient will open my gift thinking “is this it?” I’m to the point where the recipient better like my (probably) homemade or thoughtfully-picked-out little thing. Because it truly is the thought that counts. And if someone doesn’t like what I got, then I probably don’t want that person around. Bah humbug indeed.
Sorry about the gift tangent. I really do love Christmas. I really enjoy baking cookies. Despite a few gifts to family and a few friends, baked goods are usually my gift of choice. Because, really, who doesn’t love cookies? I guess I caught the cookie baking bug from my mom. She used to make all sorts of treasures this time of year. Her Spritz were divine. She used almond extract instead of vanilla, and I think it made all the difference in the world. And her chocolate chip cookies….*drool* Looking at the recipe, they are nothing special. It’s a chocolate chip cookie recipe. It may even be off a bag somewhere. But there is just something about them. Not cloyingly sweet, almost a bit salty. The best ever. They are always included in the Christmas cookie gift bag.
This year, in my quest to add to my repertoire, I found Cream Cheese Shortbread with Toasted Walnuts in the December issue of Country Living. I normally don’t like walnuts, but I had a handful left in the freezer from a previous gift project. And I had cream cheese for an unmade cheesecake project. Why not! So I made them. I then had to hide the bowl because they are some of the best cookies. I may have to make another batch before Christmas as this one may be gone. Really. They are that good. And I might add, are good for shipping because they are small, fairly sturdy little cookies. They’re not traditional style shortbread, but a nice little tea cookie.
I may have to grab a couple, make a pot of tea, then curl up in front of Turner Classic Movies.
Cream Cheese Shortbread with Toasted Walnuts
from Country Living magazine, December 2011
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 c walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter, cream cheese, and sugar on medium speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla and mix for 1 minute. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually add flour mixture and mix for 20 seconds. Take bowl off mixer and finish mixing dough with a rubber spatula.
3. Roll about 1 1/2 Tbsp of dough into a ball. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and gently press to flatten top. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 1 inch apart.
4. Bake cookies until light brown around the edges, 14-16 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool
Makes 36 cookies
Serve with coffee or tea. Don’t eat all in one sitting.