Cookies! That is to say, baking cookies is happy-making for me. Really, the only time I do it is at Christmastime. It’s a creative project that I can do alone and without any pressure or expectations from anyone else. If I’m successful my cookie platter will have a balance of colors, flavors and textures, and include something for everyone’s taste.
This year Pearl and Maggie got me started – they came for several hours on a Saturday and we made six kinds of what we think of as Christmas cookies. Some were traditional for me, and a couple were new.
One of Maggie’s ideas was to make meringues, and she did that beautifully. I wanted to make some Peppermint Cookies that we have done several years. But we were so busy I forgot to take many pictures.
Yesterday I finished up what we started of the Ginger Spice and Chocolate Macaroons…
And I baked a new kind of cookie — Christmas is the only time of year when I take the time to try new cookie recipes — that I found in Fine Cooking magazine: Winter Stöllen Cookies. They were a good bit of work, requiring the chopping of candied and dried fruit, and two kinds of dough that are layered and rolled up jelly-roll fashion. Then you freeze the dough and slice it to bake.
You are supposed to brush the rounds with butter before and after baking, and dust with powdered sugar afterward. I skipped the afterward parts for most of the cookies I made, because I didn’t want them to be too sweet. I also didn’t want to hide the swirl in the middle that was faint to begin with. I don’t know what the purpose was of that layering of dough.
I probably won’t make these again; they are too soft and cake-y for my taste, though I did like the burst of tart cherry flavor. (I see now that the description calls them “tender.”) We’ll see how they rate with the rest of the family.
So much kitchen momentum developed yesterday, I began imagine two or three more recipes I could revive, or try for the first time — but then bedtime arrived. Today tasks like housecleaning are calling me, and late tonight the first of my children will be arriving. But maybe, just maybe, I can squeeze in one more batch….
If I manage to take a picture of my cookie platter this year, I will post it here, and also share another recipe, after we come back from celebrating. If you bake special cookies for Christmas, I’d love to hear about them.