Cookies Galore

The Christmas baking began this weekend. Cookies and more cookies, of course. I bake them ahead of time, freeze them, and when the time is right, give them away.

I started baking when my six kids are little. Now that they are

Ever-popular ginger snaps ready for the freezer.

adults and live away from us, I bake them for my co-workers and neighbors, and for any kid who makes the trip to Taos for the holidays.

I usually bake six kinds: five tried-and-true and then something new. Ginger snaps from the Joy of Cooking is a standard. Then years ago, a grocery store gave out recipe booklets for the holidays. No thanks on the Spiced Cranberry Orange Jell-O Mold but yes, on many of the cookie recipes. Then there are the recipes I tore out of magazines and printed from the Internet.

I use a hand-mixer (brand new, a gift from daughter Sarah to replace one that went after 12 years of service) although in the past I’ve resorted to a wooden spoon. A Kitchen Aid mixer? Sounds lovely. I just put the butter on the windowsill and let it soften a bit.

I also chill all the cookie dough before it’s baked. And use parchment paper, a must for high-altitude baking.

A former co-worker once said, “they’re nothing but sugar, butter, eggs and flour.” Uh-huh, these are Christmas cookies after all. But then there are nuts, dried fruit, chocolate and other ingredients. I just use the best quality I can find.

Biscottis ready to be dipped in melted chocolate.

So this is what I am making this year: gingersnaps, of course; Mexican wedding cakes, which are called a variety of names; lemon butter cookies; rugelach with poppy seeds; and walnut and chocolate biscotti, which are baking as I write this. One end of each biscotti will be dipped in melted chocolate when the batch is cool.

In the past I’ve made super chocolate chunk cookies, chocolate walnut bars, acorn cookies, jelly thumbprints, the list goes on. I’ve also make baklava.

I am on the home stretch. I baked two kinds last night. Two more are chilling in the fridge. The biscottis are half-way done.

This afternoon I will search for something different. I am thinking of something with dried cranberries and almonds. I’ll let you know how I make out.


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