Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Cookie for Our Daughter

Every year, for longer than I care to remember, I’ve baked a buttery, nut and cherry flecked cookie for Christmas. The original recipe called for the dough log to be rolled in coconut before wrapping it up for it’s stay in the fridge. After making it that way for a few years, I decided that the coconut was messy and often burned before the cookies finished cooking. Soooo, goodbye Santa’s Whiskers and hello Shaven Santa cookies. Call ‘em what you like, they are yummy!

These have become a holiday tradition; it just isn’t Christmas without them. When we traveled to Monterey after our son died, I brought a tin of these cookies along. When we visited my Mom on Christmas a few years ago, brought some to eat on the plane. When we went to Seattle for Christmas, our very own Shaven Santa cookies kept the Macrina cookie selection company.

This year our daughter will be in the Nashville area for Christmas so I’m mailing a box to JM’s mom and asking her to put the package with these same cookies under their tree…a bit of home and tradition to meld with the new experience.

So you can bake these and start your own tradition…and you can add back the ‘whiskers’ of coconut if you like. They taste great either way. If you make them with both red and green candied cherries as we do, they also look very festive. They are tender and have both an almond and a pecan flavor. Best of all they go together quickly and are easy refrigerator cookies….just slice and bake.

Shaven Santas/Santa’s Whiskers

1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup mixed red and green candied cherries
1/2 cup pecans

Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add almond extract and beat until creamy.

Mix in the flour until well blended. Dough will be stiff.

Coarsely chop cherries and pecans.

Stir in fruit and nuts. Mix well. Form dough into two logs on pieces of plastic wrap.

Wrap well and refrigerate at least an hour and up to one week (or freeze up to one month).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough logs from fridge or freezer. If frozen let thaw a bit.
With a serrated knife, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick discs.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheets about 12 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool on rack.

Makes 4 or 5 dozen.
Note: To make as Santa's Whiskers roll logs in coconut before wrapping to refrigerate or freeze. Proceed as written with rest of recipe. Make sure not to burn coconut when baking.

I’m submitting this to Food Blogga Susan’s great cookie event, Eat Christmas Cookies, now in it's second year. She has a wonderful assortment of cookies already showcased for this year. If you need inspiration, or a virtual cookie fix, head on over to the round up!


  1. Your post is lovely. That's what Christmas is really about-- beloved family traditions. Thank you, Elle.

  2. I agree with Susan, family traditions are the cornerstone of Christmas. I would be more than happy to find these cookies under my tree.

  3. Shaven, I like that! Traditions like this always seem like beautiful family glue.

  4. Those look super festive. I love slice and bakes. Makes thing so simple.

  5. Well, she was surprised (no time to read my blog I guess...busy career woman that she is), but touched to have her favorite cookies. Loves the BF's family, too. Woot!!