04 December 2008

Christmas Spice Cookies

Savannah still hasn't recovered from the bug she picked up. Last night her coughing sounded terrible and when it became incessant with bits of crying in between I got her out of bed at midnight to try a few home remedies. She drank warm honey water, had some saline solution for her nose and I placed an extra pillow beneath hers to keep her more upright. After I tucked her in again there was no more coughing for the rest of the night. Still, her eyes have blue around the inside corners indicating that she's slightly dehydrated and sleep-deprived.

Today was our day to go to the library to get Christmas books but we agreed she wasn't yet well-enough so we traded in today's Christmas calendar activity for baking cookies, which was not a hard sell! Here's our recipe for Christmas Spice Cookies - kind of a hybrid between spice cookies/ginger snaps and sugar cookies. It's a great one for using up all the colored holiday sugars in your baking cabinet that seem to last for years otherwise.

Christmas Spice Cookies

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease baking sheets with butter or line with baking paper.

  • 1c unsalted butter
  • 1c packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg (plus an egg yolk)
  • 1 Tb vegetable oil

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and blend.

  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour (scant)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp coarse Kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp if you use any other kind of salt)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • course granulated sugar with or without coloring

Sift together all of the dry ingredients reserving the course granulated sugar for rolling the dough in.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until incorporated then roll into small balls to dip or roll in the coarse granulated sugar before arranging on the baking sheet. These balls will "melt" like little snow balls in the warm oven to flatten so give them plenty of room on the baking sheets. Bake for 9-13 minutes depending on size of balls. 11 minutes usually does the trick for us.

Notes: The cookies should come out crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside. For a spicier cookie, increase the cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon to 1 tsp each. You could also omit the coarse sugar and bake them plain or drizzle a homemade icing on top. Enjoy them before Santa does!

Here's one happy little Santa's helper, even if she is not yet at 100% today.

Sara's secrets:

In recipes it's rare that you use an entire lemon - both the zest and the juice or even the whole lemon. Save these lemon leftovers (squeezed or hard, dried lemons work too) to clean the microwave with. I place any leftover lemon pieces in a microwaveable bowl filled halfway with water and microwave for 1-2 minutes until the microwave is filled with condensation. Then I wipe it down with a paper towel and all the grease and things that go "pop" in the microwave come right off. I never have to scrub the microwave anymore.

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