Since it’s the holidays and I’m going to be baking, packing, and shipping out sweets pretty soon here I’d thought I’d write a post about it. This year though, I wanted to try all new recipes and all new cookies. Something different than the usual chocolate chip and oatmeal. What really got me thinking about something totally different was the new issue of bon appetit that popped up in my mailbox the other day. Hmmmmph, pistachio thumbprint cookies? Yes, please!! Check! Ingredients added to my now must do shopping list. Once I decided on the thumbprints, I figured I’d look for two other recipes to try. Instead of oatmeal how about Spiced Molasses cookies? Uuuh huh, uuuh huh! My mom is always trying to get me to bake the one’s on the back of Grandma’s Molasses. Added to shopping list. What about cookie numero tre? Snowballs, also known as wedding cookies to most here in the south. Done. I’m always using Land O’ Lakes butter anywayz, so why not check out their website for cookie recipes? BOOOOOM! Snowball ingredients added to the list with a double star.
Blood Orange Thumbprint Cookies:
So, notice how I went from pistachio to blood orange? That’s because I was standing in the middle of the grocery store with the ingredients for the pistachio recipe in my hands and realized I was holding a 20 dolla bill (plus a couple of one’s) worth of ingredients in my hand for ONE recipe. I just couldn’t pull that trigger. Going in to my cookie project I knew the pistachios would be my highest costing ingredient but once I added fresh Cardamom and vanilla beans and, and….I….just…. couldn’t. So, I went home and pulled out my “The bon appetit fast easy fresh cookbook” and looked for some new ideas. I landed on page 604, “Lemon thumbprint cookies.” Perfect. So, below is that recipe to a “t.” It suggests in the book to use a lemon or raspberry jam for the filling but I found some Sicilian blood orange jam at my local TJ Maxx’s and that was that.
This recipe made almost 30 cookies (I ate dough whilst working. Note the missing cookie in the upper corner…yum:) )
1 cup unsalted butta
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
3 Tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (not that junk in a bottle)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup Jam (ur favorite:) )
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets. Beat the butter and sugar until well blended with a mixer. Beat in the yolks one at a time and then add your peel, juice, and salt. Add flour in 2 additions and beat just until moist clumps form. Gather in bowl into ball and form into 1 inch balls. It saves time to use a small scoop to portion out the dough and then go back and form into balls on the sheet pan 1 inch apart. Using finger, make a deep indentation in the center of each ball.
Bake until firm to the touch and golden on the bottoms of the cookies up to 22 minutes. Mine were done in 19. Remove from oven and fill with a scant 1/2 teaspoon jam because you want the jam to melt slightly into the indentation. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
Note: Make sure and follow bon appetits directions for a “scant” bit of jelly. I overfilled mine a bit making the jam more of a mound then a muddle. I later went back with a small spoon and skimmed some of the extra jam off, making for a prettier cookie. For the lemon zest in the recipe you’ll also save yourself a lot of time if you invest in a Microplane. It’s little teeth are so fine, and so sharp, it takes little effort to have all that zest in a cinch.
Land O’ Lakes Snowball Cookies
These cookies had awesome reviews and very few ingredients. The most expensive ingredient for these guys were the pecans, obviously, so try and get the best ones possible. Look for light brown to golden brown color for the pecans and preferably ones from GEORGIA ;). They are very easy to make and so light and delectable. Make sure your butter is at room temp for these because this is a stiffer dough and you want your ingredients to incorporate completely in a cinch without overworking the dough. I pulled this recipe from their website and was very pleased with the results. This recipe makes about 36 cookies.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups pecans, finely chopped (I used my food processor and pulsed a few times)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup Land O’ Lakes butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat oven to 325°. Combine all ingredients in bowl (except powdered sugar) with mixer set on low speed until well mixed. Using small scoop form into 1 inch balls and then shape with hands and place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 18-25 minutes (mine were done in 20). Let cool for 5 minutes and roll in sugar. Once cool roll em’ again in the powdered sugar for a nice snowy coating.
Grandma’s Molasses Crinkle Cookies:
These are the one’s requested by mama. I understand the use of shortening. I’m from the south. But usually in my baked goods there’s a time and a place for hydrogenated fat..and that’s usually in my buttercream. But, stickin’ to my original plan I made all of the recipes as they were written. These were actually very good. In the future I’d probably be a little apt to underbake them slightly less than I did but that’s just a textural thing for me. Everyone in my family enjoyed them and they were a favorite at my mom and dads church class this morning so there ya go. 🙂
3/4 cup softened shortening
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup Grandma’s Molasses
2 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
Mix shortening, sugar, egg, and molasses in bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. This is a stiff dough as well so don’t freak out. Chill dough. Heat oven to 375°. Portion dough with scooper into balls the size of a walnut (that’s exactly what the jar says..heehee). Dip tops in sugar. Place sugared side up on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle cookies with 2 to 3 drops of water each for a crackled surface and bake 10-12 minutes. It says it makes about 4 dozen. I got around 30 cookies.
Note: I got mine done in about 11 minutes, but next time I think I’ll pull them at around 9 minutes for a bit of a softer cookie. And do the little drops of water rather (uhhh ummmm..as the recipe states) than be a smartie and dip the tops in water before dipping in sugar. That’s why mine came out looking like little cartoon mushrooms. Lesson learned. I also used my KitchenAid mixer for all of these recipes. It makes these simple recipes even simpler and is super easy to clean up. What makes a stand mixer so awesome is that it enables you to do other things while it does all the hard work of mixing. And the KitchenAid just hums away happily while you…hum away doing other things!
All in all, each recipe was a hit in it’s own way. They were all so different from one another that you really couldn’t compare them. Next time though, I think I’ll tell people the jam is a Sicilian Orange jam rather than “Blood Orange.” I guess fewer people than I thought know what a blood orange is. Oh well, ANOTHER lesson learned lol.
What are your favorite Christmas cookies? Is there one that you look forward to every year? Homemade or something from a special market in town? Tell me about em’ below! 🙂