Monthly Archives: December 2008

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 6

I’m curious if you’ve ever seen a goose egg?

#6 Linzers

My Mom started making Linzers at work a few years back in an effort to make cutout cookies slightly more interesting and jam cookies classier.  I always make a couple jam cookies, but this is the first year to make more traditional linzers.  These have hazelnuts in the dough per this recipe and I filled them with lingonberry jam which I couldn’t pass up because it was so pretty in the jar.

linzers

Remember you can post pics of your own Christmas cookies at The 12 Days of Christmas Cookies on Flickr.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 5

What kind of golden rings are they really?  Plain?  With jewels?  White gold, yellow gold?  For such a high point in the song there is a curious lack of helpful description.

#5 Meringues

There are two cakes that I LOVE more than anything to bake: Baumkuchen, which is a major project and Buche de Noel which looks like a major project but is actually pretty quick and dirty.  If you put me in a room and my only task was to make a ton of meringue mushrooms, I could be very happy for a long time. 

With not being able to eat Buche this year because of the dairy, I made these little meringues instead and we dipped them in chocolate.  I flavored some with cocoa and some with coffee per this recipe which did make them delicious.  I will enjoy the extreme lack of humidity that we have here in CO that allows these gems to be the crispy delights that they are.  I love how they look on the charmeuse.

meringues

Seriously consider adding your own cookie pictures to The 12 Days of Christmas (Cookies) group on Flickr.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 4

What on earth is a calling bird?

#4  Gingerbread Snowflakes (#2 in the cutout series)

Since I started this whole shin dig, I’ve made some kind of gingerbread, usually in the shape of snowflakes.  I cannot make them in little people shapes because I always think of Hansel and Gretel.

This year I tried the Moravian Spice cookie recipe for the snowflakes instead of my standard.  Big disappointment were the spice cookies.  The dough was tough and hard and I got a cardio workout trying to roll the suckers.  I usually fall on the side of if you can make your cutouts thinner, please do, they taste better, but after a while, I plum gave up with these.  Thankfully royal icing covers a lot of frustration and they turned out pretty, again decorated by the crew.

snowflakes

Check out The 12 Days of Christmas Cookies on Flickr and add your own pictures of your Christmas cookies!

Cookies are below this post…this is something completely different.

We had the ultrasound yesterday.  It’s so incredible to watch the baby move in real time. 

Here’s baby waving hello:

wave

Here the baby’s chin was lifting up the same way that my nearly 3 month old niece lifts her little chin when you interact with her. 

chinlifter

How incredible that family characteristics are already in place in utero?!  I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 3

No French hens (but I have always wondered what a French hen looks like),

#3: Lemon tartlets

I always make some kind of tartlet cookie.  The past couple of years, I have made chocolate caramel tartlets which are super tasty but they really need to be cold or the caramel goes all over the rest of the cookies which isn’t very helpful.

For 2 summers in college my Mom and Aunt (the same one we made cookies with) and I baked our fingers off for the Farmer’s Market.  I made literally hundreds of pounds of my pita bread while my Aunt made cakes and pies and Mom made pretty cookies.  The lemon tartlets were one that developed a following…which was perhaps unfortunate for the baker.  They are time consuming and often frustrating to make because the crusts can and do stick in the tartlet pans, even if they are “nonstick” pans.  Thankfully a couple of years ago, I bought Sweet Miniatures by the Queen of all wee desserts, Flo Braker (this book was out of print for a while until some GENIUS at the publishing house decided that that was kind of silly).  In this book, she has a recipe for tartlet shells that absolutely do NOT stick in the pans–and you don’t even have to grease the things.  This saves so much time and frustration that it’s almost unbelievable.

These ones are like your typical lemon bar, just in miniature format.

ltartlets

Dude, I’m on SewMamaSew.  I feel so honored.  Go check it out!

Also check out The 12 Days of Christmas (Cookies) group on Flickr and feel free to add your own fantastical cookie pictures.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 2

No turtledoves, just

#2–Cutout cookies (one in a series)

This is probably the only other mandatory cookie besides spritz.    These are from my Mom’s recipe which are ultra thin, crisp, tender, and nutmeggy (I’m not sure if that’s a word, but I like it), not thick like a lot of people roll their cutouts.  I’ve eaten these in every shape imaginable.  Gram used to have this plastic Santa cutter that embossed the dough when you cut them.  This year I couldn’t find what I thought were all of my cookie cutters (I borrowed them from Mom)–I apparently just have miniature ones and plain and scalloped graduated circles.  Undeterred, I set about a different plan which was to make plain circles, ice them in plain powdered sugar frosting and have people decorate them with royal icing.  I think they all did a nice job.

cutouts1

Keep uploading your pictures to the Flickr group The 12 Days of Christmas (Cookies)

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 1

If you’re looking for a partridge in a pear tree, I regret to inform you that you’re in the wrong place.

If, however you are looking for writings about Christmas cookies, I got the stuff.

Cookie #1:  Spritz

spritz1

These have never not been on my cookie list.  It’s probably the simplest and it’s been my hands down favorite cookie my whole life.  I think they just fit into your hand when you’re a kid really well.  The fact that they’re mostly butter and that the gun gives them an awesome texture helps too.  Nathan, not knowing all this bought me a new spritz gun for my birthday 8 months before we started dating.  I didn’t think that my affection could be bought so easily, but if I was being honest, that’s when I REALLY started being interested in him.  I was struck by how good of a gift it was (kitchen gadgets speak to a deep place in my heart) and how generous of a gift it was for him to give to someone who was just a casual friend in a big circle of friends.  But he’s a generous guy.  So you could say that this is the cookie that brought us together.

Don’t forget to check out The 12 Days of Christmas (Cookies) on Flickr that I created.  Feel free to add pictures of your own Christmas cookies.  The more the merrier.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza VI, part 2

A good time was had by all.  This year, I focused my list on a lot of assemblage of cookies (sandwiches, cutout decorating, chocolate dipping and so forth) so that our guests always had something to do.  This turned out to be a rather good plan as it allowed me to move in and out of our small kitchen baking the few cookies that needed to be baked without accident or incident.

Of course we didn’t get pictures of the party in progress (someday we’ll learn the art of photography in the moment), but Nathan did snap me reading up on tempering chocolate in my new Emmeline apron that I made a couple of weeks ago (love love love the pattern–go make one–it’s awesome).  I personally dig that he photographed the apron in its native environment.

emmeline

And here are bags of royal icing ready to go.

royalicing

And my slightly cheeky cookie list.

cookielist

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza VI

Today is the annual Christmas cookie party that I host.  This is the 6th time that I’ve done it in my adult life, but its origins are much older.

When I was a wee one (4 or 5?  who really knows), all the women of my Mom’s family–my Mom, my Aunt, and my Grandma plus me would make 12 different kinds of cookies in one day in my Grandma’s tiny awkward orange formica countertopped kitchen.  I remember doing this at least 3 times, which seems about right because we moved to TX just before my 9th birthday in March.  Why 12 cookies?  I suppose that’s one of those generational questions…something akin to “Why do we have to cut the ends off the pot roast? (because Grandma’s pan was too short to accomodate a bigger roast)”…a question with an answer that is much less mysterious once its practical reasons are revealed.  My only thought as to why we ever made 12 different kinds of cookies would be because of the 12 days of Christmas.

In that spirit, for the next 12 days, I will post and write about a different cookie in the dozen.  In addition to this, I’ve created a Flickr group called The 12 Days of Christmas (Cookies).  Please please feel free to put up pictures of your Christmas cookies.  I’d love to know what other people bake this time of year.  And how do you and your family get together through cooking this time of year?

06-with-gram

Me with Gram–wasn’t she a pretty lady?  She and my Mom are the reason I cook in the first place.  They both always let me be in the kitchen.  Let your kids do things with you!  They learn a lot more than you think they will when you hand them a lump of leftover bread dough. 

These are some of the ornaments made from this recipe that are adorning our tree this year.

cookiequilt

Advent Calendar

adcal