The delicious aromas of Christmas baking make all the cooking preparation worthwhile. Here are two recipes that go great together or they can stand on their own.
The Lemon Sugar Cookies are a roll and cut recipe, and have a slight lemon taste. The dough is easy to manage.
The Hot Fruit Drink is an easy-to-make warm drink for chilly winter days and nights. It uses canned or bottled juices, no sugar added, and is flavored with cinnamon sticks and cloves. Just five ingredients in this flavorful drink.
Lemon Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. buttermilk (can be made with 2 Tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vinegar)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
In a mixer, cream butter, gradually adding sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add buttermilk and beat well.
Combine flour and soda and gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Stir in lemon extract and grated lemon rind.
Cover and chill dough several hours or overnight.
Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough with shaped cookie cutters.
Place cookies 1-inch apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet or use parchment paper.
Apply colored sugar sprinkles, if desired.
Bake at 400-degrees for 6-7 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned.
Remove cookies and cool completely on wire racks. Store in metal or plastic containers.
Note: I place my oven rack near the center of the oven, to help prevent the cookies from over-browning.
Hot Fruit Drink
1 large can pineapple juice
1 large bottle apple juice
1 large can orange juice concentrate, with 2 cans water
3 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp. whole cloves
In a large pot, pour in the pineapple, apple and orange juices, plus 2 cans of water measured in the orange juice can.
Using a cloth tie-bag or cheesecloth, gather the cinnamon sticks and cloves into the bag and secure it, then add the bag to the juice mixture.
Simmer the mixture on the stove until the spices are infused into the juices, but do not boil.
Cool the mixture, then pour it into bottles and refrigerate.
Reheat to drink.
The cinnamon sticks and cloves can be removed from the bag and rinsed with water, then spread out to dry on paper towels. These can be reused for another fruit juice mixture or they can be added to hot water and left simmering on the stove to make the house smell delicious.
Enjoy these fragrant and tasty treats throughout the Christmas season!
Photograph by Molly Grogan Rawls.