Friday, December 13, 2019

Black Magic Butter Dream Cookies and Christmas Gnomes ~

Who doesn't love Christmas cookies?  No one that's who.  And if you master the art of baking Christmas cookies you will always be in demand at holiday parties, social gatherings, and secret political coups.  But mostly you will reap the benefits from your own family's enjoyment and eager anticipation for your holiday cookie baking to begin.  This year I'm sharing one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes which has the added bonus of being super easy to make!  So those of you who are not stronger bakers (and you know who you are) or even if you think nothing of whipping up a classic french Croquembouche you will find this cookie a nice addition to your Christmas cookie repertoire.

Black Magic Butter Dream Cookies
~ yield ~ 2 dozen

The recipe was given to my mom from a lady in her church.  She called it Black Magic Butter Dreams and they indeed melt in your mouth in a pretty dreamy way.  It's also a pretty quick recipe to make (although you need to chill the dough for a couple of hours) and it's a good all round additional to your holiday cookie plate. 


1 cup (8 oz)  sweet butter (unsalted) room temperature (I like to use Kerry Gold Irish butter)

1/2 cup - sifted - powdered sugar (plus an additional powered sugar to garnish baked cookies)

1 tsp vanilla extract

 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup chopped walnuts (chop by hand as the irregular pieces create nice texture and crumb)


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Using an electric mixer beat butter, 1/2 cup sifted powered sugar and vanilla at medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes (depending on how soft your butter is) or until light and fluffy. 

3.  Sift together flour and salt.  Using a wooden spoon stir flour mixture into butter mixture until fully incorporated.  Add walnuts and stir briefly until distributed evenly.

4.  Refrigerate cookie dough for 2 to 3 hours.  When dough is chilled use your hands to roll  into 1 inch balls and bake 15 minutes or until set and slightly brown.

5.  While cookies are still warm, roll in powered sugar.  When cool give them a second roll in powered sugar.  

I hope your family enjoys these as much as mine does.  I've seem similar recipes using pecans but I think walnuts are especially nice in Christmas cookies.  One of my favorite Christmas cookies of all is a walnut cookie recipe I shared many years ago called Festive Walnut Christmas Cookies.  This was a favorite cookie of my father's and I make them every year.  

It's Nice to be Gnome for the Holidays ~

In my last post I mentioned that I'm going crazy knitting gnomes!  This is the newest addition to my collection and I think he's a jolly addition to my Christmas decorations.  He's perched here on the edge of my Swedish advent calendar, which is only appropriate as gnomes (or tomte as they are known in Sweden) are a traditional part of Scandinavian folklore.  Apparently Tomte have been living in Scandinavia since the beginning of time.  They live in lofts or barns and wear bright-red caps and wooden clogs.  Rarely seen except for children and the family cat, he is a helpful guardian of the farm and livestock.  If you are missing a sock or something has been mysteriously moved then the tomte borrowed it.  But be wary because if you offend him he may play tricks or do something even more nefarious. On Christmas eve good children in Sweden climb to the barn loft in the countryside or their house attic if living in the city to leave a bowl of rice pudding with a lump of butter and a mug of beer for the tomte.  In the morning little gifts are tucked into their shoes and the bowl and the mug are empty, proof that the tomte was there!  I've always related more to my mother's tradition who is English but since my father's passing (he was Swedish and Norwegian) I've wanted to connect more to his part of my heritage.  And what could be a better way than bringing these whimsical tomtes into my home!

Particulars:  Gnome Pun Intended; designed by Sarah Schira (imagined landscapes); US 1 needles; mini skeins by Black Sheep Dyeworks (colorways cinnabar (red) and lettuce tonal (body) and scrap white yarn by Knitspot stranded with scrap silk mohair for the beard.  Finished gnome is 8" in height.  I did add a pretty bead to the tip of his hat which I think is a nice finishing touch.  To see my autumnal gnome see the post Sweater Weather and Gnome Spotting.  And to see the original project using the silk mohair used in the beard see the Northern Skies shawl post.  I must confess the knitspot yarn was knit into a fantastic project but it has yet to be photographed.  Someday!

We all love this newest addition to our holiday gnome family.  Especially Simcha.  

Until next time be well, love well and know that Steve, Simcha and I are wishing peace, happiness, and good tidings to all this Hanukkah, Christmas and throughout the New Year ahead.