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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Four Must-Try Christmas Cookies

Four Must-Try Christmas Cookies

Lemon Cookies
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon zest, about 6 to 8 lemons
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, chilled
5 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup lemon juice
Lemon Icing, recipe follows

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor work bowl, add sugar and lemon zest. Process until sugar and zest are well mixed, about 20 seconds. Scrape into a large mixing bowl. Reserve about 1/2 cup of lemon sugar in a separate bowl for later use.

Add flour, baking powder and salt into food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Add cold butter into food processor with flour mixture and process with short pulses until mixture resembles cornmeal and no large lumps of butter remain, about 10 pulses. Pour this mixture into the sugar and lemon mixture in the large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix egg yolks, vanilla extract and lemon juice together.
Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, pour in the lemon/sugar and flour/butter mixture and stir until combined, about 15 seconds. Then, while the mixer is still running, slowly add egg/lemon juice mixture and mix until well combined and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 15 to 30 seconds.

Scrape the dough into a large bowl and refrigerate until cold, but not solid, about 30 minutes. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Take the dough balls and roll the tops into the reserved lemon sugar. Use the bottom of a water glass to press the cookies flat, about 1/4-inch thick. Bake the cookies until slightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper with the cookies from the tray to a cooling rack and cool completely, about 1 hour. Once the cookies have completely cooled, ice with Lemon Icing.

Lemon Icing:
1 pound (2 cups) confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons lemon juice
In a medium bowl, whisk sugar and lemon juice together until smooth. Spoon onto cooled cookies, and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Let stand on a cooling rack until the glaze is set, about 1 hour.
— Andy Smith

Simple Christmas Roll Out Cookies

8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces butter
3 cups flour

Jelly of your choice or canned fruit filling (poppy seed works well too)

Mix all ingredients together. Shape into a ball and  refrigerate overnight. Take out one quarter and roll out the dough on a clean surface covered in powdered  sugar. Cut out 2 inch squares with a pizza cutter. Fill the center of each square with 1/2 tsp of jelly or fruit filling (no more or it may leak out). Lift two opposite corners of the square and stick them together so the cookie is closed up. Bake 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

–Andrea Kelleman-Fellanto

Meringue Christmas Cookies

4 egg whites
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat egg whites until frothy; gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until glossy and stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Drop meringue by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool before removing from pan.

—Isabelle Smith

Jan Hagels
1 cup butter or margarine  softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, seperated
2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 15 1/2″ by 10 1/2″ by 1″ pan.  Mix butter, sugar and egg yolk. Stir in flour and cinnamn.  Pat into pan. Place plastic wrap or wax paper over the dough and use a small rolling pin to make dough evenly fit.  Beat egg white and water til frothy, brush over dough, sprinkle with nuts.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until very lightly browned.  Cut immediately into finger like strips.

– Submitted by Marion Sampaio

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.