Sharing More Cookies

cookies smI really am a cookie monster. From a food point of view, I consider myself to be much more of a savory person than a sweet one, but where cookies are concerned I become a little scary. This is why I only make them this time of year for the most part, because I plan to share them…you know, (ahem!) give them away as presents.

Brilliant! If only I could sing that well.

And since I only do this once a year, and as if all those cookies and goodies I mentioned in my last post Holiday Roundup weren’t enough, I just had to make a few more goodies this week.

crinkles2First off were these Chocolate Espresso Crinkle Cookies. I knew I had to try them the moment I saw Eva’s original recipe, and then Sawsan’s adaptation of Eva’s recipe that added some warm spices. I ended up making Sawsan’s version this time because I already had my biscotti, which have chocolate chips in them, and also because I was so curious about the addition of cardamom to the chocolate.

crinkles1Result: Amazing! The texture of these cookies isn’t to be missed…very much like a brownie. And the taste, well, let’s just say they didn’t last long enough to be given to very many folks! I’ll make these again. In fact, I’ll be adding them to my cookie line-up, so do check out the recipes on both these blogs for a truly chocolatey wonder of a good cookie.

Now on to a recipe from my family that I’d like to share with you today. This is an old fashioned recipe for Drop Sugar Cookies that my mom and her mother (Mamaw) made for years, and they almost always make an appearance around Christmas time.

flatten2flatten1Dropped onto the cookie sheet by the spoonful and then flattened with a glass, these cookies are thin with just the right amount of crisp. They have a lovely, buttery and light texture, and are just perfect for a snack with tea, cocoa, or alongside eggnog. You absolutely must let them brown around the edges a bit to caramelize the sugars, or they just won’t taste as good. And while I normally do not use shortening in baking if I can help it, these really must have the shortening in order to obtain the correct light texture. I know this for a fact, because I’ve tried substituting all butter and ended up with a flattened mess, ruining a lot of good ingredients and ending my efforts with an epic fail. Do not try that at home!

cookies3I seem to remember decorating these with my mom as a child, though I don’t recall if my grandmother ever decorated her sugar cookies. If you’re not in a decorating mood or it’s the wrong time of year, these do have a lovely coating of granulated sugar on them after all, so they can certainly stand alone. I like to use a few sprinkles for fun and sparkle—just to make them pop up and say “Happy Holidays!”

Drop Sugar Cookies
Makes about 5 1/2 dozen

Have all ingredients at room temperature:

2 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 Tablespoons milk
Additional granulated sugar for dipping

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Sift the flour, soda and salt together into a small bowl. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, egg, sugar and vanilla until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in the dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth. Blend in the milk. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I use a slipat). Flatten each teaspoon of dough with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped into the granulated sugar. (Can be decorated with sprinkles at this point if desired.) Bake for about 6-10 minutes, watching closely, until the edges are browned. These will keep for about 1 week stored in an airtight container.

Note: I use cane sugar, which is unbleached, so my cookies are a bit darker than the original. If you desire a more snowy-like appearance, use white granulated sugar in the cookie and for dipping the glass and pressing the cookies flat.

cookies2

Old Fashioned Ice Box Cookies…They’re a Cinch!

With dough on standby in the ice box, you can make this many in about 10 minutes...gotta love it!

Starting to feel that teensy bit of panic set in? Trying NOT to look at the calendar and realize that the holidays start NEXT WEEK? Thinking over all that was on your “To Do” list and is rapidly moving to the “No Way” list? I’m with you.

Just slice these up ever so quickly....

While I have been diligently making things for gifts and yes, buying a few little items as well, I’m beginning to realize that I haven’t really wrapped anything, and that some of those goodies I wanted to make are just too time consuming to contemplate at this juncture. Exit the supposedly “easy” and enter the “effortless”…at least by comparison! This post and my next will feature recipes for some things I made over the last two nights that make terrific quick gifts, good fun and great eating. Continue reading

“Those” Biscotti

These biscotti won't last very long!

For many a year now I’ve tried to make a lot of my Christmas gifts, and some years I’m more successful than others, mostly due to time contraints. A few years ago, I found that I was stressing myself so much over buying presents—financially and from a shopping perspective—that it was taking over the holiday season as well as my pocket book. Continue reading