Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Holiday Cookie Bonanza

Last December I did some holiday baking, but was a little too preoccupied with wedding planning to jump into a full day, multi-recipe extravaganza. Not this year! Last weekend, my friend Kate and I churned out three varieties of holiday cookies in a tradition that I'm so glad we resurrected.

On the menu: one repeat from two years ago, Trios. They're just so cute, we couldn't resist. Definitely the labor-intensive entry in the field, but they're worth it. And as Kate pointed out, once you have the right tools (e.g., the right size cylander-shaped object to bore holes for the jelly; a tiny spoon to hold 1/8 of a teaspoon of jam), things go fairly quickly. Making them made me miss Gourmet's always gorgeous holiday cookie spread. I keep thinking the editors probably had their December package all ready to go when the magazine folded in October... and that it's probably lurking on some discarded computer's hard drive.

But onto the new! We went with two cookies Kate had spotted on other food blogs. First up: Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies from 101 Cookbooks. True, Heidi Swanson's instructions are a tad on the persnickety side (come on--1/2 cup turbinado sugar for the cookie dough, and then an additional 2/3 cup fine grain natural cane sugar--sifted--for the exterior? who sifts sugar?). But I think we have to let her OCD slide here, because these cookies are fabulous. Definitely a sophisticated holiday sweet, with bittersweet chocolate, ground ginger, unsulphured molasses and grated fresh ginger. But so tasty! (They're pictured above, before going into the oven, and at the top of this post, after baking.)

The other recipe, for Maple Cookies from Simply Recipes, was a lot more straightforward. It was almost like a chocolate chip cookie in dough consistency (below) and technique, plus a nice glug of maple syrup (we used Stonewall Kitchen Grade A) and chopped walnuts. The smell of these babies baking was fantastic, so warm and delicious--like pancakes, actually. And the finished cookies? Excellent. Towards the end of the bowl, I guess the batter got a bit thin, so some cookies turned out sans nuts--which is a bit of a disappointment, because the nuts really compliment the maple flavor (and add texture, obviously). But the nut-less cookies would probably work nicely if you felt like having a maple-vanilla ice cream sandwich.

So there you have it. Happy baking!--S

1 comment:

Alisa@Foodista said...

I love holiday cookies! You take really great pictures thanks for sharing these recipes!