I love Christmas cookies, but even more I love the tradition of baking cookies. I baked Christmas cookies as a child with my mother, and for years now I have carried on that tradition with my own daughter. Each year we decide which cookies we'll bake, write out our grocery list, gather our supplies, and bake away!
We have our favorites that we have to bake each year, but we also like to try something new. That is where all of you come in. I need some new recipes!
Bake your cookies, take some photos of your cookies, and share your recipe in a blog post. Then link up below to this post and we can share all of our recipes. If you don't bake cookies, feel free to share a dessert recipe, or link up to your favorite cookie post from another blog or website.
MckLinky available at end of post.
Today I will be sharing with you my mother's recipe for Miniature LadyLocks (also known as LadyFingers). Our family has enjoyed these cookies for years. My mother always makes them for special occasions and they are always gone before you know it. They are also a personal favorite of my husband's, so I thought it was time that I learned to bake them as well.
I will tell you now that baking these cookies is a bit more time consuming than some others....but so worth it!!
Begin with 3 C. flour and add to that 2 Tbs. sugar and stir.
Cut in 1/2 C. shortening (I used Crisco).
Separate 2 eggs and beat the egg yolks (you won't be using the whites). Add the beaten egg yolks to 1 1/4 C. cool water and mix.
Make a hole in flour mixture and pour in the egg yolk and water mixture. Mix together as you would for pie dough.
Here we brought out my mother's baking mat, but a cutting board or butcher block surface will work just as well.
Dust both sides of dough ball with a light dusting of flour to prevent stickiness.
Roll out dough until it is thin.
Take a 1/2 C. of shortening and spread it out evenly across the rolled dough.
Once dough is covered with the layer of shortening, fold the long ends of dough towards the center.
Next fold the two sides in toward center.
Then fold in each end of the baking mat. If you do not have a baking mat, a clean dish towel will work just as well.
Place the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for a MINIMUM of 1 hour.
After 1 hour you will repeat the process again. Take out the dough, roll it out thin, and spread 1/3 C. of shortening over the entire surface. Fold dough as shown above and put it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour.
REPEAT THIS PROCESS TWICE MORE. Roll, spread 1/3 C. shortening over surface, fold up, and refrigerate.
This is why I say baking the dough is time-consuming. It is certainly not difficult by any means, just slow going.
After your last hour chilling in the refrigerator, remove the square of dough from the fridge (at any time that day or next), and slice it evenly into baseball-size sections. This gave me 8 sections of dough.
You will use one section at a time. Refrigerate the other sections while you work with the first one.
You will notice that it looks layered on the inside. That is due to the layering of shortening and the folding each time before refrigerating.
Now it is time to roll out the dough.
You need to roll the dough in a rectangular shape, the width of which should be approx. 8".
Once it is rolled you will cut strips that are approx. 1" wide. Mom prefers to use a pizza roller. Not only will the strips be more concise, but it will be so much quicker and easier to cut.
Next you will need Clothespins. Not the springy, clippy kind of clothespins, but the old fashioned kind as shown below. Mom has the used the same ones for years. She stores them in a small laundry lingerie bag. You can just throw the bag in your dishwasher or clotheswasher to wash them up when you are done.
Next you will take one strip and roll it around a clothespin as shown below. The trick to this is to ROLL VERY LOOSELY!!!!! (If you roll them on too tightly you will not be able to slide them off the clothespin after baking, and you will have a hard time filling them later.)
Line them up on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes and 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
You do not need to wait for the oven to cool down. Once your timer buzzes after 5 minutes, simply turn the oven down to 375 and reset your timer for another 10 minutes.
Once you take them out of the oven, let them cool for about 2 minutes and work gently off clothespin, as cookies are crisp and easy to break.
This is the point where I tell you the easiest way to make LadyLocks is to bake the shells ahead of time and seal them in plastic containers or cookie tins and freeze them.
The filling can be made the day before you need the cookies and you can fill the shells while frozen.
Prepare the filling as directed in the recipe below. Here is where you use a fancy piping bag, but since I don't have one I used a large zipper bag. I cut a slight hole in the bottom corner of the bag, just big enough to insert the end of my piping tip.
I then removed the shells from the freezer.
Fill the shells first from one end, and then the other. By doing this you will have the filling go all the way through the shell.
There you have your lovely LadyLocks. Time consuming? Yes. Delicious? You bet.
The layering of the shortening and the entire process makes for the best dough I have tasted.
This recipe is by far the best LadyLocks I have ever eaten. Without fail.
Right before you serve, sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy!
Recipe for Miniature LadyLocks
2 C. shortening
3 C. Flour
2 Tbs. Sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/4 C. water
Add sugar to flour. Cut in 1/2 C. of shortening. In a separate bowl stir together egg yolks an water. Add egg yolks and water mixture in the flour mixture and mix as you would for pie dough. Roll out and spread with 1/2 C. shortening. Fold, bringing side to center, fold ends over to meet. Wrap in baking mat or dishtowel. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.
Repeat rolling, spreading, and folding until shortening is used up. (This last cup of shortening I split into thirds and repeated this step 3 times.) Refrigerate for 1 hour each time.
To roll out and bake, separate dough into baseball-size sections. Work with one section at a time while refrigerating the others. Roll dough very thin. Cut into 1" x 8" strips and wind loosely around clothespin. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes and 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool about 2 minutes and work gently off clothespins as cookies are crisp and easy to break.
1 C. milk
3 Tbs. Flour (generous)
1 C. shortening
1/2 lb. margarine
1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
A tad less than 1/2 C. of Marshmallow Creme
1 tsp. vanilla
Cook the milk and flour on the stovetop until it is thick. Remove from burner and let it cool completely. Once cooled, add this mixture to the remaining ingredients and beat in a mixer on medium to high speed for 15 minutes. (That is not a typo, you need to beat it for 15 minutes).
Using a piping bag or a zipper bag, fill each shell from both ends. Freeze or refrigerate until serving. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
Important Tips From Mom
1) You must wrap the dough strips around the clothespins loosely. If they are too tight you will not get them off the clothespin without breaking them. Also, you want the ends to be open enough to insert the piping tip.
2) Once you make the filling DO NOT REFRIGERATE THE FILLING. Once you make it, you must fill the LadyLocks at once. When they are all filled then you can freeze or refrigerate as needed. Mom says if you refrigerate the filling, or let it sit, then the consistency will make it difficult to fill the shells.
3) When removing LadyLocks from the oven you may notice that the shells are sweating or they look wet. If you see any sweating or moisture, return them to the oven for a couple minutes more.
There you have it folks. The top-secret recipe to my mama's Miniature LadyLocks.
Now I can't wait to see all of your recipes and delicious cookies. YUMMY!!!
MckLinky is below and will be open until Thursday evening. That will give everyone a few days in case you haven't baked your cookies yet.
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