I hardly ever make cookies. They’re fiddly. And I far prefer savoury foods. But at Christmas time, one NEEDS to:
(click on image for larger view and more photos)
I was speaking to one of my friends at work and she mentioned ever so casually that she noticed we would be working together on Christmas Eve night. I usually bring in a few cookies for us. Here’s how the conversation went:
me: Are there any particular cookies you would like?
she: (eyes glazing over longingly) Ginger Shortbread are nice… oh and cheese cookies too…
I adore T’s shortbread (read more here), but I also love to have the kind of shortbread that is more like Mom’s shortbread. Hers is made with icing sugar and punched out into shapes. Mom always made trees and stars. I love that shortbread! I could never quite decide if the trees or the stars tasted better.
I add grated fresh ginger and demerara sugar to make the ginger shortbread just enough different from T’s shortbread and just enough the same as Mom’s.
This year, I added even more grated ginger (twice as much) and instead of using half icing sugar and half demerara sugar, I used one quarter icing sugar and three quarters demerara sugar. The difference from last year is very subtle and next year I may add even more ginger and demerara sugar (and reduce the icing sugar).
Also, I made the cookies over two days. I mixed the doughs on Tuesday evening and left it in the fridge til Wednesday. The cheese cookie dough logs were very easy to slice and bake. But the ginger shortbread was a little trickier to deal with. It was fine while it was cold. I just sliced off pieces, rolled them between two sheets of waxed paper and punched them out into tiny stars, doves and tree.
Then as the dough got warmer, I had to switch to using a folded sheet of plastic wrap so it would pull away without sticking to the rolled dough. (I should have used plastic wrap the whole time! A number of the cookies had to be cut again before baking because of sticking….)
As I was putting the cookies into their tins, we tasted a few (just to make sure they were okay :whee:) and noted that the cheese cookies still needed a bit of cooking. But they are so delicate and so easily burned that I wasn’t quite sure what to do. (Yes, I admit it. I panicked.)
My hero came to the rescue! T calmly assessed the situation and said to put them back in the oven set to its lowest heat (150F). We left them there for about an hour and the result was perfect. The cookies are light and delicate and crispy (Does that make you think of King Wenceslaus too?).
Even though they are laced with butter, they are the perfect foil to all the sweets served after dinner or in the afternoon when friends pop over during the holidays.
I also plan to make “Food for the Gods”, a wonderful cookie that Mom sent us last year. (I WAS going to make them yesterday, but I forgot to get graham wafer crumbs…)
The cookie was a great discovery and a Christmas gift from Mom that I treasure the most. She had been going through her recipe box and found a recipe for “Food for the Gods”, written in her mother’s handwriting. The recipe is for a Christmas goodie that my grandmother made every year. Alas, I don’t remember that particular grandmother – she passed away when I was very little – but as soon as I tasted the wonderful cookie, I was transported right back to my early childhood. I love those cookies!! They are simple cookies, made with Graham cracker crumbs, chopped dates and nuts (Mom used cashews!), brown sugar and eggs. They are sweet and rich – but not too sweet and rich – and have a hint of chocolate about them. Even though there is no chocolate in them.
Remind me to get some Graham cracker crumbs!!
Our Christmas Cookie recipes:
- ginger shortbread
- standard shortbread (from a recipe in ‘Receipts Used in the Grange Kitchen (AGO)’)
- cheese cookies
- cherry snowballs
- ginger spice (Rosanne Pezelli’s BakerBot cookies)
- food for the gods
- coloured cookies
You can send as many recipes as you like.
The deadline for posting is 24 December 2007. For complete information about how to participate, please read more here:
Eat Christmas Cookies posts:
- Coloured Cookies
- Mmmmmm… shortbread
- more cookies please! (ginger shortbread, cheese cookies)
- food for the gods
- cherry snowballs
- You must try Rosanne Pezelli’s Ginger Cookies