HALF BAKED HOLIDAYS REDUX

If you’ve been reading along here for a while, you might remember I’ve mentioned this family’s holiday cookie fixation before. Ten kinds. Every year. (I do give most away to co-workers and friends rather than let us eat them all ourselves). This year’s list is a mix of first time experiments and family favorites. It includes:

  • Chocolate chip cookies – the classic, but made with mini chips and pecans instead of walnuts, slightly smaller than their non-holiday brothers. Mostly from the official Toll House recipe printed each year on the bag of chips (although I do cheat and use non-official chocolate).
  • Peanut butter cookies – my kids would shudder in horror if I left these off the list. Done with crunchy peanut butter, just for fun. Otherwise it’s the standard from Joy of Cooking
  • Buffalo rum balls – a version of the classic crushed cookie bourbon ball, but 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
  • Oystersa family invention. A hazelnut spritz sandwich cookie, filled with dark chocolate ganache
  • Linzer cookies – New this year, from the King Arthur website recipe collection. Mine have little leaf shaped holes, that being the smallest cookie cutter I had on hand to do the center hole.
  • Chocolate crinkles – Also from the King Arthur website. Killer chocolate flavor, fantastic texture. We use extra cocoa instead of espresso powder. My kids call these “Earthquakes” because the white sugar outside flaws and cracks in baking to reveal chocolate fault lines. I made these the first time two years ago from a very similar recipe sent by a friend and they’ve become favorites. (Hi, Kathryn!)
  • Almond/cherry biscotti – Another new one. I’m cribbing this recipe together from several sources, including a basic biscotti recipe in the always wonderful Baking with Julia book. This is instead of the Panforte which although excellent deserves a break after a two years running appearance
  • Lime cookies – Again a new experiment. This one depends on my finding sour salt (citric acid) locally. My grandmother used it to make her stuffed cabbage and to restore the shine to aluminum pots and pans (boiling them in a bath of water and sour salt). Another King Arthur website find.
  • Pecan sandies – A family recipe, basically a nut-rich shortbread, rolled in granulated sugar and topped with a pecan half. These tend to alternate appearances with Mexican Wedding Cakes in our roster, as both are pecan shortbread type cookies.

I made a lot of progress this weekend past. I’ve got two cookies left to bake – the biscotti and the lime cookies. Plus I have to fill the oysters and Linzer cookies, and the kids get to ice the cut outs.

In other news, knitting did get done. Here you see the second of my two emergency baby shower gifts blocking on a balloon. The Regia 6-ply Crazy Colors has a relatively long repeat, so it makes wide stripes on both booties and hat. The white sections and broad yellow welting (including the tips of the I-cord bootie laces and hat bow) however are done in another well-aged leftover.

babyknits-2.jpg

I also managed to get another couple of inches done on my ribbed leaf pullover, and complete about half a sock of other holiday gift knitting. But more on those tomorrow.


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