Prep 1 hr
Cook 30 mins
This requires a fair bit of work, but the end result will please kids and adults alike and look spectacular on a dessert tray.
- 1 cup margarine or 1 cup butter, softened
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2-1 teaspoon almond extract, your choice re how strong you want the flavour to be
- food coloring
- colored sugar sprinkle
- whole cloves
- cinnamon stick
- Mix margarine and sugar in medium bowl; stir in flour and almond extract until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Divide dough into 3 equal parts; tint and shape each portion as desired; see below for fruit options.
- Place on ungreased cookie sheet; cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 300F degrees.
- Bake cookies for about 30 minutes, until they're set but not browned.
- Apples: Mix red or green food colour into part of dough; shape into small balls; insert small piece of cinnamon stick in top of each stem end and whole clove into bottom of each for blossom end; dilute red or green food colour with water and brush over apples.
- Apricots: Mix red and yellow food colours into part of dough; shape into small balls; make crease down 1 side of each with a wooden pick; insert whole clove in each for stem end; dilute red food colour with water and brush over apricots.
- Oranges: Mix red and yellow food colours into part of dough; shape into small balls; insert whole clove in each for blossom end; prick balls with blunt end of wooden pick to resemble texture of orange peel.
- Pears: Mix yellow food colour into part of dough; shape into small balls, then into cone shapes, rounding narrow end of each; insert small piece of stick cinnamon in narrow end for stem; dilute red food colour with water and brush on"cheeks" of pears.
- Bananas: Mix yellow food colour into part of dough; shape into 3-inch rolls, tapering end to resemble bananas; flatten tops slightly to show planes of banana; curve each slightly; paint on characteristic markings with mixture of red, yellow and blue food colours diluted with water.
- Strawberries: Mix red food colour into part of dough; shape into small balls, then into heart shapes (about 3/4-inch high); prick with blunt end of wooden pick for texture; roll each in red sugar; insert small piece of green-coloured wooden pick or green dough into top of each for stem.
We have used this recipe in my family for generations. These take quite a bit of hand work and you really have to knead the dough and rub it in for a while. I like to roll the fruits in sugar before baking, colored sugar is nice.I also like to substitute ftosting ends and stems instead of the cloves which people tend to spit out. Frosting leaves are nice too, especially for the little caps on the strawberries. Don't just limit yourself to fruit shapes either. These are the prettiest cookies I know and delicious! Be sure and keep them small so they will hold their shape.