I love our apartment in the winter. It is small, and sometimes I feel like there is never room for anything, but in the winter I fall in love with its tiny coziness. I love it even more when I’m holiday baking. Our oven heats up the whole place and fills the house with its sweet aromas. Every surface, including the coffee table, becomes a place for cookies to cool. LM stares curiously at his flour-covered mother from his play area, flashing his two little teeth in giggling grins. Between batches we play “tag” and stare at the paper snowflakes taped onto the windows.
I know he won’t remember this Christmas. And he’ll be more interested in eating wrapping paper than actual presents. I will remember though. There is a renewal in the magic of this holiday as we celebrate his firsts. And ours. Our first family holiday card. Our first family tree. Our first family Christmas morning in our little place. It may be small, but it is ours and filled with more love, laughter, and memories than these four walls could possibly hold.
- Christmas Cookies List 2012 -
These are the quintessence of chocolate-y goodness. Perfectly chewy and rich, they pair perfectly with an espresso. You can’t eat just one.
These are the most time consuming cookies I have ever made in my life. Fortunately, the dough can stay in the fridge for lunch time and nap time stories. Were they worth it? Yes. These spicy little cookies are thin, crisp, and absolutely delightful.
Frosted Sugar Cookies
This is a family tradition (and top secret!). It isn’t officially Christmas until these are made – and everyone is a little sick from eating too much frosting.
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Hubby’s favorite holiday treat. I make these every year because I love the look of excitement on his face when he sees them cooling on the tray. (And because I know from whom my Christmas gifts come!)
Chocolate Crinkles– The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book
- 6 TBSP. Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
- 2 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped*
- 1 C. Sugar
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- 3/4 C. All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 C. Unsweetened Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 C. Confectioner’s Sugar
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, over low heat, combine the butter and chocolate. Stirring occasionally, heat until just melted together. Pour the chocolate-butter mixture into a large bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in the sugar until evenly moistened. Add the egg and vanilla, beating until light and fluffy.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, stirring to combine. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. Using your hands, shape dough into 1/4″ balls and roll in confectioner’s sugar, coating completely. Place the balls about 1 1/2″ apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies until puffed up and cracked on the top, about 12 minutes. They may appear to be underdone in the center but will crisp up as they cool. Let the cookies cool on the pans on wire racks for 2 – 3 minutes before transferring cookies to wire racks to continue cooling.
Makes 3 1/2 dozen.
*I don’t really follow this exactly. I just use the chocolate I have on hand, sometimes it is unsweetened and sometimes 75% or 80% dark. And, please, make sure you use good chocolate, such as Green & Black, Pergunia, Scharffen Berger, or Valrhona.
Gingersnaps – Saveur.com
- 1 3/4 C. Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
- 1 1/2 C. Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 TBSP. Fresh Ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 1/2 tsp. Fresh Grated Lemon Zest
- 3 3/4 C. All-Purpose Flour
- 2 TBSP. Ground Ginger
- 3 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 1 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Ground White Pepper
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
- 2 TBSP. Sugar, for sprinkling
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, pepper, salt, and cloves. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat together sugar and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the egg, fresh ginger, and lemon zest. Beat well. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, beating until well combined. Form the dough into a large ball, wrap in plastic, and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Scoop out 1 teaspoon of dough at a time, using your hands to shape into a ball. Place the balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Flour the base of a drinking glass and press down on dough balls to form thin rounds. (Be sure to flour the drinking glass after each use to prevent dough from sticking.) Sprinkle tops of cookies with a little sugar.
Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until cookies are crisp and browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 6 dozen. (Hence, the extraordinary amount of time spent making them.)
What did I make last year? Christmas Cookies List 2011