Thursday, November 24, 2011


The holiday season is here and I can't contain my excitement!  This is my first holiday season with Joseph and I can't stop thinking about family traditions that I want to pass to our children and Joseph.  I'm looking forward to starting new traditions with Joseph as well.
One tradition that I look forward to every year is Christmas baking.  Every year my mom and Aunt June bake a huge spread of cookies and cakes.  As my cousins, sister, and I got older we started joining in on the annual Christmas bake off.  Some years our schedules have been so crazy that we can't all meet together at the same time, but I always make sure to bake something off the traditional list if I'm unable to join my mom and Aunt June.  I thought I'd share a few of my favorites with you.

Grandma Liotta's Italian Cookies (S's and O's):
6 to 6 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup shortening 
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla & 1 tsp anise. 
1 cup milk
1 stick of butter
2 1/2 Tbl. baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 eggs slightly beaten
3/4 cup water

Blend butter, shortening, sugar, then add baking powder, salt, water, vanilla, and anise.  Blend in eggs alternate flour and mill, a little at a time.  If too moist add 1/2 cup more flour.  Form into S's and O's or candy cane shapes with a little flour.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Frost while warm.  Makes 7 dozen.

Frosting for Italian Cookies:
3 Tbl. melted butter
3 Cup powdered sugar
2 Tbl. hot water
2 Tbl. milk

Stir until desired consistency.  Quickly sprinkle with decorating sprinkles. 

Butter Spritz Cookies:
1 cup butter
1 egg
2 1/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. almond or lemon or cherry flavor.
Few drops of food color

Cream butter and sugar till fluffy.  Beat in egg and extract.  Blend in flour.  Divide dough and add color.  Fill cookie press, form cookies, decorate, bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.  

Crunchy Peanut Brittle:
1 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 Tbl. butter
1 tsp. soda
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp vanilla

Stir together in microwave casserole, peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.  Cook in microwave on power 9 for 3 minutes.  Stir well and cook for 2 more minutes on power 9.  Add butter and vanilla, stir well and cook 1 to 2 minutes on power 9.  Stir in 1 tsp. soda, stir until light and foamy.  Pour onto a buttered foiled cookie sheet.  Spread with a wooden spoon.  Cool, store in airtight container. 



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