Christmas Sugar and Gingerbread Cookies (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Some of my finished Christmas sugar cookies, December 29, 2022

Yesterday, I had time to make, bake, and frost my favorite sugar cookies – and I also frosted some gingerbread cookies that I bought from the grocery store! I just get so busy with so many things that I have to make time for holiday cooking and baking, and yesterday was a good day for it. Every year, if possible, I like to make my Great Grandmother Bertha (Gould) Babcock’s sugar cookies. It is also a recipe that I have shared on this blog in the past, and will republish it again. These sugar cookies are so sugary and good, and if you have a sweet tooth like I do, you will love them!

Following are some of my steps in making these sugar cookies.

Here, I have rolled out one ball of dough after I’ve chilled the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Here, I made cut-outs of my cookies. For this roll-out, only a few came up with the cookie cutters. I had to pick the others out of the dough because I rolled out the dough too thin and I didn’t put enough flour underneath the dough. I made corrections after this first roll-out, and didn’t have those issues again.

A cookie sheet of cookie dough cut-outs on parchment paper, ready for baking.

Another cookie sheet of baked cookies.

More of my frosted sugar cookies.

Yet another cookie sheet of frosted sugar cookies.

For this go-’round, I made a double batch of these cookies. My son and I just love them, so they go quickly! On doubling all of the ingredients, the recipe made approximately 56 cookies of varying sizes and shapes. I made a lot of Christmas tree cut-outs because they are easiest to frost and decorate. The cookie cutters were my mom’s, and they are from the 1960s or 1970s. They are really great and easy to use, and are much better than the cheap cookie cutters that are out there today.

My son also likes gingerbread cookies, so I buy those from the grocery store. Of course, I could make them, but they are readily available in the store during the holiday season, so I just get them from there. This year, I got two boxes of holiday gingerbread cookies after Christmas for 50% off, and they were a great buy! I frost them using my own homemade frosting since eating that E-Z Icing that comes in the box is more like eating glue – although I’ve never eaten glue, but that frosting is disgusting. Sorry, but we have to enjoy our gingerbread cookies, y’all!

Some frosted gingerbread cookies.

Doing gingerbread cookies the easy way by buying them from the grocery store, on sale after Christmas!

So, I frosted some gingerbread cookies with my own frosting and made my yummy sugar cookies this holiday season. The holidays definitely seem a bit more complete for me, now, after making my favorite holiday sugar cookies. I try to make it an annual tradition; it’s not the same without them!

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Holiday Chocolate Fudge: Satisfying the Sweet Tooth! (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

My Holiday Chocolate Fudge, December 30, 2022

My holidays would not be complete if I did not take time to do some holiday baking and cooking. So, I’m happy that I got to take time out of my busy schedule to do just that this week! For the past couple of days, I’ve been making sugar cookies and chocolate fudge. Yes, while it’s already after Christmas, at least I got a chance to make some of my favorites to satisfy my sweet tooth this holiday season!

First, I’d like to share my holiday chocolate fudge recipe. It’s not something that I actually created, however it was handed down to me from my mom when she got it from a Better Homes and Gardens magazine from sometime in the late 1960s, as I recall. Every year, as long as I can remember while my mom was living, she would make fudge from this recipe, and now, I continue to do the same. The recipe is excellent, and I’ve added my own suggestions to it. If you ever wonder why you put on weight after eating fudge, just look at the recipe and ingredients, and there will be no questions!

To follow, I’m including pictures of the ingredients and materials I use for the fudge, as well as some of the steps in the cooking process.

Here, you will see all of the ingredients I used in making my fudge. Regarding my materials, I like to use a thin metal pot because it heats faster. You also definitely need a candy thermometer, and must follow the directions in the recipe exactly in order for your fudge to turn out perfectly. I also like to use a large metal cooking spoon to stir my mixture over the stove – instead of a wooden spoon. I can’t get a good grip on those wooden spoons, so I prefer a metal spoon. However, I also need heat-proof cooking gloves that I wear while cooking my fudge mixture, otherwise my hands will get burned. Those gloves are amazing!

Here, I have my bowl of mini marshmallows and chocolate morsels ready and positioned in my clean sink for when my boiled fudge mixture is ready for pouring into it. Yes, you always want to have everything clean when you are baking and cooking! And, if you have long hair, be sure to tie it back. Not only will you get hot cooking over the stove, but you will maintain the cleanliness of your ingredients and materials.

Here is my pot before pouring in the evaporated milk. Look at all of that butter and sugar!

Here is my pot with my evaporated milk included.

Here is my pot after about two minutes of cooking. In all, it took about 20-22 minutes for this mixture to reach soft ball stage. Be prepared to stand at your stove while constantly and gently stirring this mixture during that time. Once the mixture reaches jelly stage, it should have a rolling boil, and of course, will only get more intense as you move toward soft ball stage. Again, follow the recipe directions exactly for this delicious fudge!

Here is a repeat picture of my finished fudge. I like to use glass pie dishes rather than metal cake tins. In this picture, note that the fudge on the left is smoother while the fudge on the right is somewhat more lumpy. This is because I had only the pie dish on the left prepared in advance of the fudge being done, and I had not recalled that the recipe made enough for two pie dishes. So, in the midst of pouring the fudge into one pie dish, I realized I needed another one. I had to set down my mixture for about one minute while I scrambled to get another pie dish, quickly wash it, and grease it, and then put my heat-proof cooking gloves back on. By then, the mixture was already setting, and so, it is a bit more lumpy and mealy than the other pie dish. It will turn out okay, but will not be quite as smooth in texture as the first pour. As Emeril always says, you can eat your mistakes!

There you have it! This is an absolutely delicious chocolate fudge. Also, if you noticed, I did not include the walnuts. I have always included chopped walnuts in the past, but can no longer eat nuts, so they are absent this year. This will be the first year that our fudge is a bit of a different texture and taste, but will still hit the spot! Just don’t eat too much all at once – ooh, I can imagine that heady sugar rush already – phew!

Holiday Sugar Cookies and Recipe

Holiday sugar cookies I made, December 2020

I hope everyone has had some time to relax and enjoy the holiday season. It has been nice to have a few days to spend with family and be grateful for our health, safety, and welfare.

My Great Grandmother Bertha’s Recipe for Sugar Cookies

During the holidays, I did some baking, including sugar cookies from my Great Grandmother Bertha’s recipe, which I’ve included here. Feel free to use and copy the recipe as you like.

More of my holiday sugar cookies, December 2020

Frosted and decorated with your favorite icing and candies, these cookies are so yum! You can also double the ingredients to make a double batch, and the cookies turn out great. Enjoy!