Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Cookies: Gingerbread spritz and more


The holidays  (Christmas and New Years for me) bring out a lot of traditions in people and families. For some it's shopping and gift giving, for others it may be travel. For me, this time of year is all about staying in and baking.

I remember when I was younger,  my sisters and I would be in the kitchen digging through our mom's recipe drawer looking for new and tasty cookies to make. Now I have some of my favorite recipes and I search online for new ones.

One of the most memorable cookies I made when I was younger was spritz cookies. These mostly butter cookies are a stiff dough that is then forced through a cookie press into various shapes. The recipe my sisters and I used made colored and flavored spritz by adding a pack of jello (your favorite flavor). Ours turned out pink and tasted like berries. Since my first batch of spritz, I try to make them every year. This year I had the idea to make gingerbread spritz. Here is my recipe :

1 1/2 cups butter (softened)
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger root
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp (each) ground cloves, allspice and nutmeg
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

In a large bowl combine butter and spices, beat in sugar, powder and egg. Then beat in flour a little at a time until incorperated. The dough should be stiff (not sticky).

Force unchilled dough through cookie press on to ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes. This makes a lot of cookies (about 84)

I forgot to add the egg in mine and they still turned out great just a little bit crisper.

These along with some snickerdoodles and chocolate crinkles went to a bake sale benefiting the Aloha United Way.
*note on the crinkles: drop dough by teaspoonful in powdered sugar , roll around to coat, then it's easier to roll into a ball shape without sticking to your hands. Also bake on parchment lined sheet--they like to stick to the sheet otherwise.

Pictured with the spritzs are a couple Mexican wedding cookies, a simple cookie made with butter, powdered sugar, flour, and finely chopped pecans.  The dough is rolled into small balls, baked, and rolled in extra powered sugar while still warm.

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