Santa Cookie

Dorothy and Dixie’s Santa Cookies

 

Santa Cookies - November of 2000 I was invited to a demonstration given by Dorothy “Dot” Tallent and Dixie “Dick” Kenney on how to make and decorate a very special Santa cookie. The sisters had been making these cookies for around 60 years (you heard right - 60 years!) - sending them to military members in various parts of the world, Veteran’s nursing homes, hospitals as well as to school with their children and grandchildren and sharing them with family and friends.
The process takes them three days to complete as they each make their own dough one day and place it in the refrigerator overnight; the second day is used for cutting them out, baking them and decorating part of them; they have to dry at this stage so that the colors don’t run; then the third day is used for painting the beard and tassel on the cap and adding coconut to the beard. At this point they have to dry for about three hours so they can be packed into plastic bags and sent to their various locations. Each year they make at least 200 cookies - some years they have made more.
In 2011 I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Dot’s home to take notes and photograph each step of the process.

Each person has a job to do on the second day. Dot manned the oven, put the raisins in for the eyes and removed the Santas from the cookie sheets. Dick and Dot’s daughter-in-law Caprice Gregory did the rolling and cutting. After they are baked all three decorated. Other family members have also pitched in and helped over the years. “It’s a lot more fun when there’s a crew,” said Dixie about the huge job.

After watching and taking photos I then went home and made some myself. I just happened to have the same cookie cutter that they use. I have had it for years and can’t even remember where I got it. If you are interested in making them look just like Dot and Dick’s you can still order the cutters on the Internet at: www.wickedgoodkitchen.com.

Dixie said that when her grandson, Donnie Smith, went to school in Hysham he took some of the Santa cookies for a bake sale and every one of them sold, which made him very proud. They were a very popular item! Caprice said that the first time she met her husband Butch, Dot’s son, it was around this time of year and a bunch of kids went back to his house to have some hot chocolate and cookies and that was the first time she saw the Santa cookies and she has been helping make them, on and off, ever since. “It just wouldn’t be Christmas without them,” Caprice stated.

1 cup soft butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 medium eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
4 3/4 cups sifted Gold Medal Flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
24 raisins red food coloring
egg white
Powdered Sugar
Coconut

1. Cream shortening.
2. Add sugar then eggs, vanilla and almond flavoring.
3. Next, add dry ingredients. Dough should not be too soft or it will puff up too much and you will loose the detail in the face. 
Santa Cookies4. Roll into 3-inch size logs. Wrap in wax paper, and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
 55. Cut raisins in half lengthwise for the eyes. Do this ahead of time.
 
6 
6. Slice the dough about 1/2-inch thick.

7
7. Don't get the dough too thin or the detail won't show up in the baked cookie.

8
8. Roll dough a bit thicker than the edge of the cutter. You can use a pastry cloth or a Silpat to roll the cookie dough on. Sprinkle it with just a little flour.

9
9. Sugar the cutter before forming each cookie.

10
10. If the cookie cutter isn't sugared the dough will stick to it. 
1111. Press the dough into the cutter.

12. Make sure the dough is pressed into the cutter very well. 13 13. Break the edges of dough off from around the cutter. Using fingers to press dough to make the face design of Santa. If the face doesn’t show up well, return the cookie to a cutter that has been dipped in dry white sugar and repeat, pressing down with fingers. You can keep working the extra dough into the new so you use up all the dough. 
1414. Gently shake the dough out of the cutter, or softly tap it on your work surface. Remember to sugar the cutter before making the next cookie. 
1515. Smooth any rough edges around cookie after it is placed on the baking sheet. 

16
16. Place half a raisin in each eye. 

17
17. Bake at 350℉ on an oiled pan for 8-10 minutes. Dorothy bakes two sheets at a time and rotates them after 5 min. Dorothy uses a paper towel with a small amount of oil on it to make sure the cookie sheets are well oiled so the cookies don't stick. Don’t over-bake; the cookies should be just slightly beige in color. Make sure the cookie sheets cool completely between each baking. 18 18. Cool on a cloth. Dorothy and Dixie use a large sheet that is used just for their Santa Cookies. 
19
19. Decorating: Mix red food coloring with one egg white. Mix up using a fork. Paint cheeks, nose and dot a little on his mouth. 2020. Mix a small amount of powdered sugar frosting using milk and almond flavoring (no vanilla). Make frosting about the consistency of Karo syrup. If frosting gets too thick, stir in a little bit more milk. 
2121. Using white powdered sugar frosting, paint lines for his eyebrows and lines under his cheeks. Let cookies dry overnight. If you put white frosting on the tassel and band of cap before the red dries the red frosting will run into your white. 

22
22. Add red food coloring to the left-over white frosting to make pretty red cap band. 
2323. Using small paint brush, paint the frosting on the red band of the cap. Outline first and then fill in with the frosting.
 2424. On the second day, paint the top tassel and band of the cap with white frosting. 2525. Using a pastry brush spread white frosting on the beard. Dorothy finds that if you hold Santa by his nose it is easier to paint his beard.

26
26. Place coconut in a large pan. 
2727. Next pat on shredded or flaked coconut.

28. Let cookies dry about 3-hours before sealing each cookie in a plastic bag, or wrap each using plastic wrap. Store in a cool, dry place. 29. To make cookies taste like fresh after storing, place in microwave for a few seconds. One recipe makes about 24 Santa Cookies. I double the recipe when I make them. When baking Dorothy uses Gold Medal All-purpose flour, Gold and Soft Margarine, Canola oil and substitutes buttermilk for sour milk.
29 30. Dixie "Dick" Kenney and Dorothy "Dot" Tallent working on Santa Cookies Dec. 2011.

Dorothy and Dixie’s Santa Cookies
 
Recipe type: Cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 medium eggs - well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 4 3/4 cups sifted Gold Medal Flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 24 raisins
  • red food coloring
  • egg white
  • Powdered Sugar
  • coconut
Instructions
  1. Cream shortening. Add sugar then eggs, vanilla and almond flavoring. Next, add dry ingredients. Dough should not be too soft or it will puff up too much and you will loose the detail in the Santa’s face.
  2. Roll into 3-inch size logs. Wrap in wax paper, and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Cut raisins in half lengthwise for the eyes. Do this ahead of time.
  4. Slice the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Don’t get the dough too thin or the detail won’t show up in the baked cookie. Roll dough a bit thicker than the edge of the cutter. You can use a pastry cloth or a Silpat to roll the cookie dough on. Sprinkle it with just a little flour.
  5. Sugar the cutter before forming each cookie. If the cookie cutter isn’t sugared the dough will stick to it. Press the dough into the cutter. Make sure the dough is pressed into the cutter very well so the details will show up.
  6. Break the edges of dough off from around the cutter. Using fingers to press dough to make the face design of Santa. If the face doesn’t show up well, return the cookie to a cutter that has been dipped in dry white sugar and repeat, pressing down with fingers. You can keep working the extra dough into the new so you use up all the dough.
  7. Gently shake the dough out of the cutter, or softly tap it on your work surface. Remember to sugar the cutter before making the next cookie.
  8. Place half a raisin in each eye.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees on a well oiled pan for 8-10 minutes. Dorothy bakes two sheets at a time and rotates them after 5 min. Dorothy uses a paper towel with a small amount of oil on it to make sure the cookie sheets are well oiled so the cookies don’t stick.
  10. Don’t over-bake; the cookies should be just slightly beige in color.
  11. Make sure the cookie sheets cool completely between each baking.
  12. Cool on a cloth. Dorothy and Dixie use a large sheet on a large table that is used just for their Santa Cookies.
  13. Decorating: Mix red food coloring with one egg white. Mix up using a fork. Paint cheeks, nose and dot a little on his mouth.
  14. Mix a small amount of powdered sugar frosting using milk and almond flavoring (no vanilla). Make frosting about the consistency of Karo syrup. If frosting gets too thick, stir in a little bit more milk.
  15. Using white powdered sugar frosting, paint lines for his eyebrows and lines under his cheeks. Let cookies dry overnight. If you put white frosting on the tassel and band of cap before the red dries the red frosting will run into your white.
  16. Add red food coloring to the left-over white frosting to make pretty red cap band.
  17. Using small paint brush, paint the frosting on the red band of the cap. Outline first and then fill in with the frosting.
  18. On the second day, paint the top tassel and band of the cap with white frosting.
  19. Using a pastry brush spread white frosting on the beard. Dorothy finds that if you hold Santa by his nose it is easier to paint his beard.
  20. Place coconut in a large pan.
  21. Next pat on shredded or flaked coconut.
  22. Let cookies dry about 3-hours before sealing each cookie in a plastic bag, or wrap each using plastic wrap. Store in a cool, dry place.
  23. To make cookies taste like fresh after storing, place in microwave for a few seconds. One recipe makes about 24 Santa Cookies.
  24. Note: Dixie and Dorothy have found that the best food coloring to use is McCormick and the best flour to use is Gold Medal All-purpose flour. Dorothy says that if you are going to use margarine she really likes the Gold and Soft Margarine and for oil she uses Canola.

 

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