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Cream Wafers and Other Holiday Baking

Posted Dec 14 2009 7:00am

PC124072My holiday baking has officially begun in earnest.  Last week I baked up some sweets for my holiday care package for Operation Baking Gals.  There was Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread baked in in jars and homemade plain and chocolate graham crackers that I dipped in dark and white chocolate respectively.

And this weekend I added to the list Cream Wafers, which I made for a cookie swap.  Not many recipes get repeated on this blog, and in my kitchen in general, but this one is worth it and with good reason.  My mom used to make these cookies when I was growing up and they were, and still are, my favorite.  They are unbelievably simple.  You make a simple dough of butter, flour, and cream and chill it before rolling it out and cutting out small rounds.  PC124094

PC124118When these cookies bake the steam created from the butter makes them exceptionally flaky and airy.  Once cooled they are filled with tinted butter cream to become little sandwiches.  By the time I had finished baking these my skin was perfumed with butter and the whole kitchen smelled warm and homey.  Neither the cookies nor the frosting taste that great individually, but when married together pretty heavenly.  They received lots of compliments at the cookie exchange and while I wish I could take 100% of the credit, I’m sure the recipe originally came from a Betty Crocker Cookbook somewhere.  You can find the full recipe with instructions posted on my site here.

The only hiccup with this recipe was that I tried a new brand of food coloring, INDIA TREE Decorating Colors.  Usually when I need to tint frosting or batter I use Wilton Icing Colors.  I love the true colors and richness I get.  Sadly, the INDIA TREE Decorating Colors were the exact opposite.  The red was more like fuchsia and no matter how many different times I tried blending the yellow and blue together for green icing, the color was always a little too vegetal (borderline pukey once dry) for my tastes.  I know I should cut this product some slack because they are made from ‘concentrated vegetable colorants’ rather than artificial ingredients making them preferable to people seeking to avoid some of the negative side effects loosely linked with artificial colors or for vegans who might be unsure if the red food coloring comes from insects.  I would gladly use these decorating colors when making vegan cookies or treats for people with allergies to artificial food colorings.  However, I otherwise would not use them when I’m looking for a very specific, true color, like Christmas red and green.  The biggest bummer is that these decorating colors set me back $16.00!  Looking at my receipt I thought it was an error but the price was confirmed when I went back to the shelf.  In fact, it was on sale from the original price of $18.99!  Seriously!?!  I usually don’t balk at paying more for premium ingredients, but that seemed quite high.

Food coloring issues aside, I’m so happy that my holiday baking has commenced and cannot wait to fly back to Minnesota this week so that can bake other family favorites with my mother and my aunt like Cream Cheese Lemon Bars and Cherry Blossoms.

What holiday cookies are a tradition in your family?

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