As Christmas gets closer I just get more and more excited this year.  I haven’t had the “real” Christmas spirit in a long time now.  Christmas always seems to just plain make me sad.   With all the change over the years with traditions fading, children growing, not always being with family on the holiday, it just isn’t the same.  I always would look forward to the holiday for the main reason of seeing my family. 

What makes this year so exciting for me is two things!  First, I will have my children in my home on Christmas Eve and they will wake up here on that morning to open their presents under the tree!  Next, we are going to have a very special Christmas Day at my Aunt Ann’s house – something we have never done before.  I remember many Christmas past spent with her – but either at my mom’s, Grandma’s or Aunt Marlene’s home.  Because my Aunt Ann lives nearby, we get to spend the holiday with her and her family this year and I am super excited about that too!

My Aunt was telling last night how excited everyone will be to eat my food.  lol.  I will be taking these cookies, along with the Oreo cookies I made this week – and a platter with the rest of the cookies I got at our cookie exchange we had at work.  We will also be having pumpkin roll (can’t believe I never blogged that, but I see several blogging friends did so this year!), vanilla cheesecake with a raspberry dessert wine (which I got from For the Love of Wine at Crossgates – thanks to Kristen and Alan for turning me on to this!).  I will also provide my Mom’s crockpot stuffing by request of my Aunt, along with homemade dinner rolls.  There will be Prime Rib, mashed potatoes, and squash….that I know of for certain….and I’m sure many other goodies on our table.  What special foods will you be serving this year at your holiday gathering?!

Macadamia-Eggnog Creams

Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated Holiday 2010
Makes 5 dozen cookies

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons eggnog
2 tablespoons rum
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and chopped

Combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add edd and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and alternate additions of flour mixture and ½ cup eggnog, mixing after each addition until combined. Divide dough into quarters, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll each dough quarter between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 1/8 inch thickness. Using 3-inch star cutter, cut out cookies and place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until edges are light brown, 8 to 10 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Whisk remaining eggnog, rum, and confectioners’ sugar together until smooth. Spoon scant teaspoon glaze over cookies, sprinkle with nuts, and let dry, 30 minutes.