Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Cookies

…. lots…. and… lots of holiday cookies (GF readers, avert your eyes! Except from the peanut butter kiss cookies!).  

We had a proper holiday party with lots of hot drinks and santa hats and cheeses and gals in red dresses, and I went a bit overboard with the cookies.  It just didn’t seem right to have lemon cookies without peppermint cookies, or crinkles without peanut butter kisses (which are really just the amazing go-to peanut butter cookies Kate makes all the time).  Or not to have gingerbread, even after making all of the above plus Deb’s to-die-for toffee cookies.  Making too many cookies seems like an unlikely source of regret, anyway.

A few words about the above.  To make perfect striped candycane cookies:  after twisting together your little rolled-out pieces of red and white dough, roll the resulting twist until it's one smooth piece.  I recommend making the batter in 2 batches and adding the red food coloring to the wet ingredients of one batch, rather than trying to color half the completed dough, which involves overhandling it and dying your hands.  I tried rolling some of the cookies in crushed candycanes both before and after baking, but thought it just made them less pretty. Finally, I like almond extract to complement the peppermint even better than vanilla.

I wasn’t satisfied w/the crinkle recipe I used.  I wish I had put some cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne in the dough, and I think they needed to be more soft & fudgey and less chewy.  I overbaked the peanut butter kiss cookies a bit and wish I had rolled the balls of dough in sugar before baking, but people still <3ed them. 

The lemon cookies and, of course, Deb’s toffee cookies are perfection, and the high-altitude gingerbread recipe linked above is fantastic.  I used pureed ginger in a tube, and used a liiiiitle more than the recipe called for, as well as more cloves than indicated.  Good blackstrap molasses definitely helped.  Finally, I was good (for once) about not overbaking – 9 minutes did it for me – and suspect that made all the difference.  The quantities in the recipe are in weight, so if you need them in volume, it’s 1c sugar and 4c flour.  

Oh, and for the toffee cookies - don't worry if you don't have a double boiler / bain marie - melting the butter and then adding the chocolate over low heat while stirring furiously does just fine.  

Oh, and this pumpkin chocolate bread is freaking fantastic, with cloves added to the spices and about twice as many chocolate chips as called for.  (And no walnuts, to me, that would ruin the texture). 

Happy holidays!!

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