By guest author, Jim RudeJump to Recipe
It is officially Christmas cookie season, which means it’s also time for the yearly cookie exchange. It’s so wonderful to get to taste holiday desserts from everyone’s family traditions. And while I love traditional cutouts, gingersnaps, and spritz cookies, this year I wanted to get a little creative.
I chose a Santa’s Lemon Berry Popcorn Cookie. Quite a mouthful right? Actually, it’s quite small, at about an inch and a half in diameter! But it is packed with BIG flavor.
I started the recipe with a pretty standard shortbread cookie dough, then spiced it up with some grated lemon zest and some limoncello liquor. For those of you who don’t know what limoncello is, it is a lemon-flavored liquor which comes from Italy. I used a locally made version from Yahara Bay Distillers in Madison, WI for these cookies.
I cut out the cookies with a small fluted biscuit cutter. If you don’t have one, simply form the dough into a long cylinder about 2″ in diameter, then refrigerate and cut into coins about a half inch thick.
For the topping of the cookie, I got a little freaky. Rather than use a small amount of strawberry preserves, I made a thick paste made from smashed, freeze-dried strawberries, powdered sugar, more limoncello liquor, and a little store-bought eggnog. The freeze-dried strawberries are a little pricey, but they really pack a nice, fresh strawberry flavor that you can’t get with preserves.
I added a piece of kettle corn for some sweet and salty crunch, then drizzled a powdered sugar, eggnog, and lemon juice glaze over the top. A little more lemon zest sprinkled on top and you’ve got a memorable Christmas cookie!
King of the Exchange
If that sounds a little time consuming to fit into your pre-Christmas schedule, you can simplify! Make the shortbread cookie, then dust them with powdered sugar and some freshly grated lemon zest. You’ll still be serving a fun twist on a classic holiday treat.
Do you have a go-to cookie for Christmas? Or, is there a cookie you’ve always wanted to try making? Tell me about them in the comments below!
Happy holidays! And don’t wait for a special occasion, create one!
Santa’s Lemon Berry Popcorn Cookies
- 3 sticks Unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup Granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp Lemon zest grated
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 1/2 cups All purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- Strawberry sauce
- 1 cup Freeze-dried strawberries crushed into a fine powder
- 1 cup Powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp Limoncello liquor may substitute lemon juice
- 3 tbsp Eggnog may substitute milk
- 3 cups Kettle corn may substitute regular popcorn
- 1 cup Powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp Limoncello liquor may substitute lemon juice
- 1 tbsp Eggnog may substitute milk
- Fresh grated lemon zest for garnish
- Combine butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until combined. Add vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, sift flour and salt. With mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix until dough starts to stick together.
- Transfer to a flour dusted surface and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough until about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out circles and place on parchment-lined sheet pans.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Cool completely.
- In a small bowl combine strawberry powder, powdered sugar, limoncello and eggnog. Stir until smooth and thick.
- Spread a scant teaspoon onto each cooled cookie.
- Place one piece of popcorn in the middle of each cookie.
- In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, limoncello and eggnog. Stir until smooth.
- Drizzle with a small spoon over popcorn. Grate lemon over the top and let harden. Serve, or store in a cool dry place until needed.