Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Getting the cookies ready - Christmas

from the family of Soldier's Joy

My mother-in-law introduced me to the tradition of having cookies at this season of year, and I have made an obsession out of it. I have been trying to cut back, because often in the last decade there aren't enough young or thin people around, people who eat cookies with abandon.

But preparing several kinds and stashing them in the freezer has become a tradition, and this year, in anticipation of having many potential appreciators in the house, I have been enjoying baking. There must be some connection to childlikeness there, but I can't get into thinking too much about it, because the cookies that are in the oven right now might burn while I am philosophizing.

So I will just give you some pictures and recipes for a few of the favorites we have discovered over the years. I wrote before with photos of Neapolitans. They are beautiful cookies and very nice to eat, too!

Bizcochitos




Bizcochitos are the State Cookie of New Mexico. They have anise and cinnamon and crunch, and many local variations.





Chunky Ginger Spice



Chunky Ginger Cookies are full of spice including ginger in the chewy crystalline form.






I have a whole book of Peppernut cookie history and recipes, given to me by a friend many years ago, but I insisted on devising my own recipe, which includes diced fruit-flavored gumdrops and makes cookies that are no bigger than nuts.

Diced Gumdrops for GJ Peppernuts


A couple of years ago I found Chocolate Macaroons on the Odense website. The only change I made from their recipe is to use extra-large egg whites. The dough seems to me a little runny (even when I tried adding a little extra flour) to be called "paste," but after sitting in the fridge overnight it was easily rolled into a ball that baked into a nicely shaped cookie. The main ingredient is almond paste, so if you like marzipan you will appreciate them.

This is my last post for Pom Pom's Childlike Christmas Party. I'm glad she hosted the party, because it gave me the structure I needed to get any blogging at all done in this busy month. Thank you, Pom Pom!

It's been very much fun! Merry Christmas to all! And if you have cookies at Christmas, please eat one of each kind for me.

Chocolate Macaroons



16 comments:

M.K. said...

I want to sink my teeth into those chocolate macaroons! Yummy :) And the ones in the top are so beautiful. ARe they home-made? Very elegant.

wayside wanderer said...

Yum! I woke up this morning with cookie baking on my mind so your post is timely for me as I ponder which cookies to make.

The Armstrong Brood said...

If only I lived closer...

GretchenJoanna said...

Yes, the top cookies *are* homemade.

Pom Pom said...

Wonderful! Oh, they all look so yummy! I especially love the trees! I'm glad you completed the baking. I don't know how much baking will happen around here. Just this morning I was philosophizing about sticking with salty stuff, because I don't tend to overdo with salt as much as I do with sugar. But if the mood strikes . . .

I am so glad you joined me for "A Childlike Christmas". It provided so much sweet friendship, love, good ideas, and purity. Thank YOU!

elizabeth said...

lovely! I am thinking of baking cookies too... any way we can have recipes for these lovely cookies or sources to go look ? :)

Victoria said...

those are so different and cool looking. especially those moulded cookies. where did you find cookie moulds? I'd love to make those.

Cathy said...

A mouth watering post to say the least! I am like you, all the extra baking leads to someone must eat it...

Thank you for sharing all your goodies, Christmas seems to be even more blessed with the traditional (and new) standbys.

Emily J. said...

Hmm, pffefernuts with gum drops... interesting. I'll have to try. I also would love to try the ginger cookies. Love crystalized ginger. We also have been baking - speculaas, rolled sugar cookies, gingerbread, and hip cakes (sometimes called butter bars - made with cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a cake mix) and a coconut/pecan gooey bar cookie that is mostly brown sugar and butter, a recipe from the Chicago newspaper called chewy butter nut bars. Fortunately, I have enough hungry kids around that I don't eat them all myself!

GretchenJoanna said...

Victoria, I didn't make those pressed cookies, but I found out that you can get the molds here: http://houseonthehill.net/cookie-molds/.

Sarah in Indiana said...

I have the day off tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to doing some cookie baking. I've been having lots of fun pondering over which varieties I will make. Yours look like some very yummy choices.

GretchenJoanna said...

Elizabeth, there are recipes for the Chocolate Macaroons and the Neapolitans if you follow the links. The molded cookies at top are called Springerle. For the others, I will try to post recipes by next Christmas. ;-)

Gumbo Lily said...

The cookies all look so delicious, I'll take two of each! I have some baking to do tomorrow -- cookies and goodies. I like stashing mine in the freezer in small bags and then take them out as needed.

Anonymous said...

Chocolate Macaroons are one of the best cookie varieties I've ever consumed. I'm hoping they'll be around this year...

Nataly said...

Your cookies reminded me of my family and how much we enjoy making them.I am (most of the time) are the cookie baker of the family and I find it alot of fun.This year we made a whole lot and put them in our freezers.When it's Christmas we will take them out and eat them.Can't wait!!! They will dissapear quickly because tere is very many of us.Christmas just wouldn't be the same without cookie baking!

Celeste said...

Have the merriest of Christmas and a blessed New Year! Look forward to ALL your Gladsome Lights!