Classic Christmas Cookies | Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread, Fig Bars and Gingersnaps


These fig bars are easy, festive and delicious.

Santa’s not the only one who needs cookies! Whether you are baking these to leave for the jolly old elf, to share with family and friends, or just to nibble on while you curl up by the fire with a good book, these buttery chocolate-chip shortbread cookies, luscious fig cookies, and spicy gingersnaps will bring holiday cheer to everyone who eats them.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread
(Makes 3 dozen)

An optional chocolate glaze makes these simple cookies appear elegant.

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Glaze
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
4 Tbsp. butter

Mix flour and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Cream in sugar and vanilla.

Stir in dry ingredients and the half-cup mini chocolate chips until just blended.

Divide dough into two equal parts, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Taking one half of the dough from the refrigerator at a time, roll 1-1/2 teaspoons of dough into a 2-1/2" stick.

Arrange the cookies 2" apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Freeze for 10 minutes before baking so that the cookies will hold their shape.

Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are just turning golden. Transfer cookies to a rack and let cool completely.

For the glaze, melt the remaining 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir in the butter until melted. Holding the cookies at an angle, dip each end into the glaze, leaving the middle unglazed. Place cookies on waxed paper and allow to set completely before serving.

Italian Fig Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Forget the pudding; we want some figgy cookies! This figgy favorite was adapted from a Good Housekeeping recipe.

Filling:
2/3 cup dried figs, stems removed
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried dates
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. orange zest
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup blanched almonds or walnuts, chopped medium fine

Place all ingredients except nuts in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Dough:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup soft butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine flour and baking soda, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients.

Divide dough into 4 parts and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375º F. and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove one section of dough at a time from the fridge.

Liberally dust dough with flour, place between two sheets of waxed paper, and roll into a 4" x 10" rectangle.

Spread one quarter of the filling lengthwise down the middle of the rectangle. Fold the long sides of the dough over the filling, making sure that they overlap, and press to seal. Place log seam side down on cookie sheet. Freeze cookies for 10 minutes before baking to help retain shape.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and immediately slice into 1" diagonal pieces. Place cookies on a wire rack and let cool completely.

Glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 to 3 Tbsp. lemon juice or milk

Combine the powdered sugar with just enough liquid to achieve a drizzling consistency. Drizzle glaze decoratively over cooled cookies. You can use a spoon or a plastic bag with a corner cut out.

Allow glaze to set before serving.

Gingersnaps

Rolling the cookies in a mixture of sugar and ginger before baking gives these cookies an infusion of extra gingery awesomeness! Thanks to Katy, writer of the popular eco-blog TheNon-ConsumerAdvocate. com, for this great recipe.
 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. powdered cloves
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1 cup sugar
3/4 stick margarine
1 egg
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light molasses
 
Sugar mix for rolling
1/4 cup white sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp. powdered ginger
 
Mix flour, baking soda, and spices together, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream together margarine, egg, sugar, and molasses. Add dry ingredients, and mix together. Chill dough overnight.

Preheat oven to 325º F. and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix ginger and sugar together in a small bowl. Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball (for consistency, use a cookie scoop). Roll dough in the ginger-sugar mix and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake 9 to 15 minutes, depending on how soft or crunchy you like your cookies. They will continue to harden a bit after you remove them from the oven. Cool on  racks.            

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