Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Cookies

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I bake cookies to give away to co-workers, and a few others, every Christmas. This year I made cranberry hootycreeks (best cookie name ever) and Nestle mint chocolate chip break-and-bake (don't knock them till you try them) in addition to my traditional gingersnaps. I normally bake a double or triple batch of those. All the cookies were a hit, and as usual, I had plenty left over. I don't know how I miscalculate so badly every year, but at least it ends in tastiness for me. :)

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Helper cat is helping (but not tasting, don't worry)

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My friend Stacy gave me the gingersnap recipe years ago and I've never looked further. They're everything you could want in a Christmas cookie! The original, official picture showed the cookies stacked in a jar with festive ribbon around it, which would be a beautiful way to give them if I found an amazing deal on jars. As it is, I like these festive 25-cent sacks from Wal-Mart. :)

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Molasses Christmas Cookies
From Martha Stewart.

2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups sugar
12 Tbsp (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
¼ cup molasses

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

2. Place ½ cup sugar in a shallow bowl; set aside. (This means you will only use 1 cup of sugar in the actual cookie batter, so DON'T forget to do this step before creaming your butter and sugar. Especially if you're multiplying the recipe - it can get confusing quickly. I've made this sad mistake twice and had to start over.)

3. Beat butter and remaining cup of sugar with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the egg, and then molasses, until combined.

4. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in dry ingredients until a dough forms.

5. Pinch off and roll dough into 1 Tbsp balls. Roll in reserved sugar to coat.

6. Arrange balls on baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time, 10-15 minutes until edges are just firm. Cookies can be baked two sheets at a time, but they will not crackle uniformly. (Gasp!!!)

7. Cool cookies on baking sheets for one minute; transfer to racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days. (They keep for much longer than that. Trust me!)

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