Holiday Baking! Thumbprint Butter Cookies and Banana Walnut Bread

I adore Christmas… I mean, really. It is, after Thanksgiving, my most very favorite holiday. I am definitely a fan of giving way too many gifts, over spending, and indulging the people I love. Sue me šŸ™‚ There is noting more cozy, to me, than having a beautifully decorated christmas tree, a fire in the fireplace and a hot cup of tea. ♥

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Every year, I like to send treats out to my family back in Oregon and KC. They wouldnt normally make these for themselves, so its a nice treat for them. They’re ridiculously easy recipes and they taste wonderful.

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Thumbprint Butter Cookies

2 sticksĀ unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
Jam of your choice

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In a medium size bowl, cream (mix) the butter andĀ sugarĀ together until fluffy with a hand mixer. Add the vanilla and salt and mix until incorporated. Add the flour and mix at low speed until incorporated. Don’t worry, at first it’ll look like a crumbly mess, but keep mixing until it starts to form a ball.

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I don’t like rolling cookie dough out with flour, and this dough tends to be really sticky, so I spray my hands lightly with cooking spray first. Roll theĀ doughĀ into small golf ball sized balls and arrange them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Using your thumb, press the top of eachĀ cookieĀ to make a shallow well. Roll your thumb back and forth slightly to widen the well. Using a small spoon, fill the wells with whatever jam you like. Bake until very lightly browned around the edges – about 15-20min in a 325Ā° oven.

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Banana Walnut Bread

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

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Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla and mix thoroughly with a hand mixer. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk gradually to the mix, alternating between the two. Make sure to scrape your sides and mix this well. Add the walnuts, or leave them out if you prefer your bread without nuts, and pour into a greased bread pan. Personally, I use a baking pan that has 4 small loaves in it. Perfect size for a treat basket!Ā Bake at 325Ā° for 1 hour, or until a knife comes out clean from the middle, and the edges are brown.

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