December 19, 2007


Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah to all of you!

Well...this is my last post in 2007! Christmas and Hanukkah are almost here, hope you baked lot of cookies and ready to have some fun! Although personally we don't celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah at home, I love baking few cookies and kids love decorating the X-mas tree with colorful ornaments. My last year's holiday posts are here and here. I love how people smile more and kinder around this time, even though they are little stressed about shopping for gifts and getting ready for the big day!!

Have a wonderful blessed Christmas and Hanukkah, enjoy the holidays with your families! :)

Photos are from and

About Christmas and Hanukkah:
To read all about how Christmas is celebrated around the World, click on the link. If you are curious about how did the Christmas start or the history of Christmas, click on the link.

Click on the link to read the beautiful story of Hanukkah; about the "Miracle of the Maccabees" etc.

Now, the cookies!!

I am sending these delicious Rugelach to Susan from "Foodblogga", who is hosting "Eat Christmas cookies" event. If you want to try myriad recipes for cookies, head over to her round up here to bake them to your heart's content! Thanks for hosting Susan!:)

Rugelach in Hebrew means "creeping vine", according to WIKI. Usually dairy products are not used in this to keep it Kosher. But I do like Cream cheese and added colored sugar added to this recipe! I adapted the recipe from "Ina Garten" of "Barefoot Contessa" with my own different fillings like Mango jam,Papaya jam,Raspberry jam, Pineapple jam with coconut and Nutella! YUM!!

To make the crust:
4 ounces cream cheese,softened, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, 1/8 cup granulated sugar, 1/8 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour.

Combine 6 tbsp of granulated sugar, 1/8 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup walnuts to top the jam. Keep aside.

1/4 cup fruit preserves, pureed or any jam, nuts you like or chocolate and coconut fillings etc. Use your imagination!!

Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk.

To sprinkle on top: Mix 3 tbsp granulated sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon powder or red and green colored sugar.

How to make them:

Cream the cheese and butter in a mixer until creamy and light. Add 1/8 cup sugar, the salt and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just mixed. Take out the dough onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in two pieces, wrap each piece in plastic and chill for 1 hour or more(must do this).

Roll each ball of dough into a 9" circle using as much flour as you need on the counter top. Spread each with the jam filling and sprinkle the filling and press the filling lightly. Cut the circles into 12 or 8 equal wedges, starting with the wider edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, end piece under on a baking sheet sprayed or lined with parchment paper. Chill in the fridge for 30 or more minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon pd or take colored sugar and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for about 17-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Remove, let them cool on the sheet for a minute, and then remove them carefully onto a wire rack and let them cool completely.

Makes 24 mini cookies or 16 big cookies. Process is little messy and you must chill the dough and the rolled cookies as long as you can but they are so delicious, they are absolutely worth the effort and time. Hope you try.

Meeta from "What's for lunch honey?" blog's "Monthly Mingle" this month with an interesting theme of "Drop in and decorate".She is asking us to bake and decorate cookies and donate them to shelters etc in our own community. I will take these cookies to a family with kids I know who would love and appreciate them. Thanks for the great idea Meeta!:)

Festive cookies:
These are the easiest and delicious cookies to make and with red and green festive colors,they make a attractive presentation and I am sure kids would love to grab by the handful!

You need: 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) softened to room temp, 7 tbsp Powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp Vanilla essence, 1 1/4 cup plain flour, 1/8 tsp salt. Red and Green food color and colored sugar to sprinkle.

To bake cookies:

1. Add and beat butter, sugar pd and vanilla until creamy and light in a blender with paddle attachment or in a bowl with a wooden spoon by hand.
2. Add in sifted flour and salt little at a time and mix just until just blended.Take out on the counter top and knead to a soft dough gently, not too much.
3. Divide this dough to two and mix red and green food color to each and knead to blend the colors. Cover in Saran wrap or plastic and chill for half an hour in the fridge.
4. After 1/2 an hr, preheat on the oven to 350F. Take out the dough, shape the colored dough into wreaths, canes(make 2 ropes,and twist then around each other), 2" round balls and crescents.
5. Place them on a double layered cookie sheet and bake for about 12 mins. DO NOT let the cookies get brown on top. Take out the cookie sheet, let the cookies cool for 2 mins on the sheet. Gently remove them on to a cooling rack. Let them cool completely before you store them.

Note: To make plain white butter cookies without color or fancy shapes like the photo below, add 1/4 cup more flour (ie 1 1/2 cup instead of 1 1/4 cup) to the above recipe, chill the dough and shape into 12 round cookies and bake. Take out the cookie sheet out of the oven and sprinkle some sugar powder on top and transfer them to cool on a rack. Makes about 12 cookies. Double the recipe if you need more than 12.

Vanilla-Butter cookies:
This recipe can be adapted to make Khara/spicy Biscuits/cookies. To make Khara biscuits or spicy cookies just skip vanilla and sugar from the above recipe and add finely chopped curry leaves and green chillies or chill flakes, pinch of Ajwain/Caraway seeds, 1 tsp cumin powder, salt. Bake as above. Enjoy! :)

Here are two holiday punch and a mocha drink I liked to wash down all those cookies!

Holiday red Punch:
Recipe from "cooking light" magazine.
To make it:
3 cups of Cranberry Juice,
3 cups Raspberry Juice,
2 cups club soda,
1/4 cup Vodka or black currant liqueur.(Skip this if you like non-alcoholic punch)

Mix all and add Ice cubes or chill to serve.Serves 6-8.

Non-alcoholic party Punch:
This recipe from "" web site which I liked.
To make it:
4 cups cranberry juice
1 cup sugar
2 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups ginger ale

Mix juice and sugar, chill. Add ginger ale just before serving. Serves 10 to 12.

Minty Hot Mocha:
Recipe from "Cooking light" magazine.
To make it:

1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1 cup water, 2 tbsp instant coffee granules, 4 3/4 cups skim milk, 1/2 tsp Peppermint extract.

1. Mix sugar and cocoa, add water, boil stirring constantly. Stir in coffee granules.
2.On medium heat, simmer these for 5 mins.Add milk, stir for 5 mins. Take off the heat.
3. Add mint extract, beat well with a whisk until frothy. Serves 6.

That's it folks!:)

I am back blogging and commenting after almost 3 weeks of silence! Hope you are all keeping well. I had a good productive break, caught up with lot of reading too. We had our wedding anniversary last week (Dec 7th) which I didn't tell you here since I made a big deal about our 20th last year!:D

We enjoyed our anniversary in Charlotte last weekend relatively quietly this year, watched movies, shopped a little and visited few restaurants of course!! Thank you Linda, TBC, Raks, Neema, Kribha, Raaga and Meera for your wishes!

See you next week! :)