I love this time of year! Houses are decorated, people are shopping and our house always smells wonderful. We are normally baking cookies every weekend as well as finding a few spare moments during the week to bake at least a batch or two. Since this blog began in 2009, we have featured The 12 Cookies of Christmas. (Click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the article, the list with links is available.)
This tradition began because I used to bake anywhere from 5000-7000 cookies every holiday season. We would deliver cookies to neighbors as well as local businesses we interacted with during the year. There were years when we would create many different holiday cookies to watch them later be tossed into the trash at the end of a function. I learned to figure out "what cookies got eaten and what cookies got left behind." Instead of making "pretty holiday cookies" I made tradition, comfort cookies...chocolate chip cookie, oatmeal, white chocolate macadamia nut, thumbprint cookies...people loved them and they ate them.
Every year we try 12 new cookies. I love the aspect of experimentation, but there are certain family favorites which I make every year because people LOVE them. I will highlight them during the month of December on our Friends Food Family Facebook Fan Page, Pinterest and Google+ pages.
a few week's ago, Bon Appetit featured some beautiful holiday cookies by Dorie Greenspan. She is one of my favorite chefs and I felt that this would be a great place to start The 12 Cookies of Christmas 2012. These cookies remind me of a shortbread cookie with holiday spices. When I bake cookies like this, I love showcasing them with coffee, tea or hot chocolate. The spices warm your palette and complement the beverage. These are delicious for dipping with a mild (cinnamon, ginger, cloves) flavor and perfect sweetness, with the decorative sugars and dab of glaze. If you would like to make these cookies ahead, you can freeze the batter then slice and bake them the day you want to use them.
We have started our journey of The 12 Cookies of Christmas 2012. If you have a favorite cookie you would like to share with us, please contact us and we can highlight it as one of our 12 cookies.
2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, (freshly grated is even better)
1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup of light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of molasses, preferably light
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 large egg white
Sanding or other decorative sugar
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Sprinkles, colored sanding sugar, or dragées (optional)
1. Whisk first 6 ingredients, (flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt) in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter in a medium bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add both sugars and molasses; continue to beat until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
3. Beat in egg and vanilla; mix for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients and mix to blend well.
4. Scrape dough from bowl and divide into thirds. Using your palms, roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch log. Wrap logs tightly in plastic or parchment paper and freeze for at least 3 hours.
(For neater edges, remove logs from freezer after 1 hour and roll on counter.)
5. Preheat to 375°. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
6. Whisk egg white in a small bowl to loosen; lightly brush all over 1 log. Sprinkle with (or roll in) sanding sugar. Using a long, slender knife, slice off a sliver of dough from each end of log to make ends flat.
7. Cut log into 1/4 inch-thick rounds. Transfer to 1 baking sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart.
8. Bake cookies until tops are golden brown and centers are almost firm, 8-10 minutes.
Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool.
1. Mix powdered sugar and 7 teaspoons cold water in a large mixing bowl (glaze will be very thick).
2. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoons glaze onto each button.
3. Decorate with sprinkles, colored sugar, or dragées, if desired.
Let stand on rack at room temperature for at least 30 minutes for glaze to set.
Written by Tricia White