HALF-BAKED HOLIDAYS

Between work, holiday preparations and other commitments, my updates to String have gotten very spotty.  For that I apologize.

Right now I’m consumed by deadlines of various flavors.  Not the least of which is our annual cookie fest.  I’ve mentioned before that holidays are not allowed to happen here until we’ve got at least ten kinds of cookies baked and ready.  Ten batches of cookies makes far too many for a family of four to consume, so I always share the bounty, giving cookies to neighbors, friends and co-workers.  (If family lived closer, they’d get some, too.)

This year’s list includes both things I can’t NOT make, some repeats of special favorites, plus a couple of experiments:

  • Chocolate chip cookies – the classic, but made with mini chips and pecans instead of walnuts,  slightly smaller than their non-holiday brothers
  • Mexican wedding cakes – a very rich, pecan-dense shortbread cookie, rolled in powdered sugar
  • Peanut butter cookies – my kids would shudder in horror if I left these off the list.  Done with crunchy peanut butter
  • Buffalo Rum Balls – a version of the classic crushed cookie bourbon ball, done with rum and cocoa, rolled in cocoa. Our variation comes from a recipe published in the Buffalo NY evening newspaper some time in the 1960s
  • Sugar cut-outs – the iconic holiday cookie.  This year we get to use the Hannukah cookie cutters.  Also I put lemon zest in the batter, and mix the icing with lemon juice instead of milk or water
  • Oysters – a family invention.  A hazelnut spritz sandwich cookie, filled with dark chocolate ganache
  • Earthquakes – another classic, renamed by the kids.  This one’s a chocolate crinkle cookie, rolled in powdered sugar before baking.  We use additional bitter cocoa in the place of the coffee in the recipe.  The expansion of the cookie creates chocolate rupture fault lines in the white exterior
  • Cinnamon maple rings – a rolled, layered refrigerator cookie.  Very thin and delicate.
  • Elephant Tongues – Like last year’s ears, this one is a quickie that uses store-bought puff pastry for more effect than effort.  I’ll be posting the how-to here.
  • Cocoa amaretti – Barely cocoa, very almondy and very biscotti-crunchy.  New this year from a cookbook
  • Spice cookies – Also new this year, but from a recipe on the King Arthur website.
  • Panforte – Chocolate/nut/fruit heaven on earth new last year.  A must-repeat from last year.  This is so good we may NOT share it. 

In the midst of all of the holiday knitting continues.  Again apologies if you visit looking for more yarn goodies.  Other goodies right now are taking precedence.

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