December is here, and the countdown to Christmas begins in earnest. Shopping lists are made, letters to Santa are sent, cards are mailed; the list of preparations could continue endlessly. Among all this hustle and bustle, it does seem that most people take time to do some holiday baking.
While adding one more thing to the to-do list may seem unwarranted, there are so many benefits. On a cold December day, the heat of the oven and the smell of freshly baked cookies will make you feel warm from the inside out. Homemade cookies, and other goodies, make wonderful gifts. For all of the unexpected guests or spur of the moment gatherings, you have a homemade treat to share.
For me, baking is something I enjoy throughout the year. However, during the Christmas season it feels even more special. I can’t help but feel like a kid waiting for Santa’s arrival as I bake a batch of cookies. For the next four Thursdays, I will be posting a recipe for a treat to share with your family or give as a gift. This week I am starting with a cookie that my parents have made every year for as long as I can remember. Seeing a plate of Almond Cookies, reminds me that Christmas is near.
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 Tb. butter
1/2 tsp. orange extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
1-1/2 tsp. almond extract
grated rind of 1/4 lemon
3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, well drained & chopped
Preheat oven to 375. In a stand mixer, combine eggs, sugar, milk, and butter and mix until well blended. Add extracts and rind. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing well. Stir in almonds and cherries. Form dough into small loaves, approximately 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. Place loaves on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.
Allow to cool. If not eating immediately, double wrap individual loaves in plastic wrap. Store in a cool location or freeze. Almond cookies will keep for several weeks.
To serve, slice loaves into slices of desired size.