During an unscientific study of cookies, I learned Americans' favorite cookie is the peanut butter blossom. While I love peanut butter blossoms, I was shocked to find out it's the favorite Christmas cookie. I never associated it with the holiday. I thought it would be the boring sugar cookie. Good choice, America!

More unscientific research led me to learn Kentucky's favorite Christmas goodies include the Kentucky Spice Cookie, Bourbon Balls and Bourbon Cookie.

CHRISTMAS KENTUCKY SPICE COOKIES

from recipesinspiredbymom.com

1 3/4 c granulated sugar

1/2 c unsalted butter, room temp

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp allspice

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp baking soda

1 egg (for an eggless version, you can delete the egg, and replace it with 1/4 c water)

1/2 c dark molasses

2 1/2 c flour

granulated sugar, or colored sugar for coating balls

24 oz white almond bark, or white candy melts

Preheat oven to 350. (makes about 5 dozen cookies). Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Cream butter, sugar, spices, salt, and baking soda. Add egg (or water) and mix. Add molasses, blend well. Mix in flour gradually. Dough should be of pie dough consistency. Chill dough for at least 1 hour.

Using a small ice cream scoop, shape into small balls, and roll in sugar on 1/2 of the ball only. This will prevent the bottom from burning. Place on prepared cookie sheets, sugar side up, about 2″ apart – cookies will spread a bit.

Bake for 7-8 minutes, watching closely. ** They are done when they are slightly PUFFY, and lightly browned. Cool. They will flatten a bit and crack a little as they cool.

Melt the white almond bark in a microwave 30 seconds at a time til melted and smooth. Dip 1/2 of each cookie into the melted chocolate, and shake off excess. Return to parchment paper to cool completely.

These will last for 2 weeks in the refrigerator, or will freeze nicely for about 3 months.

KENTUCKY BOURBON BALLS

1 cup chopped nuts

5 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon

½ cup butter, softened

1 (16 ounce) package confectioners' sugar

18 ounces semisweet chocolate

Place the nuts in a sealable jar. Pour the bourbon over the nuts. Seal and allow to soak overnight.

Mix the butter and sugar; fold in the soaked nuts. Form into 3/4" balls and refrigerate overnight.

Line a tray with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over just-barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. Roll the balls in the melted chocolate to coat; arrange on the prepared tray. Store in refrigerator until serving.

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Taste of Home says Jeweled Coconut Drops are a Kentucky favorite. I can't argue with that.

JEWELED COCONUT DROPS

1/3 cup butter, softened

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons orange juice

1 teaspoon almond extract

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3-3/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut, divided

1 cup seedless raspberry preserves, warmed

Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, orange juice and almond extract. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in 3 cups coconut. Refrigerate until easy to handle, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape rounded tablespoons of dough into balls; roll in remaining coconut. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Press a deep indentation in the center of each with the end of a wooden spoon handle. Bake until edges are light brown, 8-10 minutes. Cool 1 minute. Using the wooden spoon, enlarge any indentations that may have narrowed or closed. Remove cookies from pans to wire racks. Fill with preserves; cool completely.

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What are the neighbors cooking up? In West VIrginia, it's these.

SNOWMAN TREATS

9 pieces candy corn

1/2 to 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

34 round butter-flavored crackers

12 ounces white candy coating, coarsely chopped

1/4 to 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

34 milk chocolate M&M's

Decorating icing

Remove yellow ends from candy corn. Cut each candy in half lengthwise; set aside. Meanwhile, spread peanut butter over half of the crackers; top with remaining crackers to make sandwiches.

In a microwave, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. Dip sandwiches in candy coating; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper.

Immediately arrange 1-2 teaspoons miniature chocolate chips to make eyes and a mouth; add a reserved candy corn half for a nose. For earmuffs, place an M&M on either side of face, connected with a strip of decorating icing. Let stand for 30 minutes or until set. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

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Ohio's preferred cookie for the holidays, according to the magazine, is this. Work intensive, yes, but very cute.

CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

FROSTING:

5 cups confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 to 6 tablespoons water

Red, blue, green, yellow and gray paste food coloring

Assorted colored sugar

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. In another bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Shape into a disk; wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 4-in. Christmas light-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes or until light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and enough water to reach desired consistency. Reserve 2/3 cup frosting for bottom of cookies and reflections. Divide remaining frosting between four bowls. Tint one red, one blue, one green and one yellow. Frost tops of cookies. If desired, sprinkle with colored sugar. Tint half of the reserved frosting gray; frost bottom of cookies. With remaining white frosting and a #5 round tip, pipe on reflections. Let stand until completely set.

KENTUCKY BOURBON RANGER COOKIES

from athomewithhaley.com

1 cup melted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

6 tablespoons bourbon

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup rolled oats

3 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set to the side.

Beat butter, sugars, vanilla, bourbon until fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time and beat until fully mixed and smooth.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt. Add these dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix to combine.

Add oats, Rice Krispie Cereal, coconut, Craisins.

Slowly add butterscotch chips and chocolate chips until combined.

Drop cookie dough with a cookie scoop or a rounded tablespoon about 3 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 min. or until golden brown. Let cool a few minutes, then transfer to wire cooling rack.

(606) 326-2661 |

lward@dailyindependent.com

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