Don’t forget DROP IN AND DECORATE
MONDAY, DECEMBER 20; 4-8PM
I’ll bake the cookies; you come and decorate them!
On Tuesday, we’ll take them to The Bridge, Assisted Living Center

Ah yes, I promised the recipes for all of the cookies on this tray:

And, even though I’ve blogged the ginger cookies (to the far left) before, they’re worth repeating.  In fact, I’m repeating that blog.  Why not? 

It starts here…

Is there anything more Christmasy (food-wise) than a ginger cookie? I have so many foods and ideas to blog for Christmas (I’m making clam sauce today) that I don’t know what to do. But things always boil down to cookies during Advent, don’t they?

One year, I just had to figure out what was


THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO ME AT CHRISTMAS………

What wouldn’t it be Christmas without.

Or, what was Christmas….

You know. It’s the year you decide to drop

ALL that decorating

ALL that shopping

ALL that worrying about when you’ll get it wrapped…

ALL that pouting about “It’s not like it was when ___________.”


And you wonder,

“What is my very favorite thing about Christmas?

Do I need the tree?

Do I need the lights?

Do I need the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha?

Do I need the big party?

Do I need to go to the Nutcracker(again)?

As our priorities tumble and crumble and finally crystalize, we straighten out and fly right…

Knowing just exactly what we need at Christmas as we walk to the stable, waiting for the savior to be born in OUR hearts because we need to be new and clean and loving so very badly.

As I’ve walked (not run) each of the years since my priorities scrambled and came round right, I’ve discovered I like these things best about Christmas:

1. Spending time with my family

2. Worship–Christmas Eve especially

3. Baking Christmas cookies for my family and friends

Well, gee, I guess you couldn’t figure it out.

Oh, this is a food blog–right?   Back to the cookies.

And, if I just had to name my very favorite cookie (and my children and husband each have theirs), I guess I would name

ALYCE’S GINGER COOKIES–a word or two about them:

These cookies are a cross between a cookie sold during Needlework Week at Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria, Virginia (where I worked for several of my lovely years at the National Trust for Historic Preservation) and the cookies they sell in Coshocton, Ohio and are OH SO famous for.

These are not snaps, no, definitely not. They aren’t the Gingerbread Girls of the Drop in and Decorate variety. They are cookies. Crispy and chewy at the same time. Sweet and spicy and even a tad “hot” all together. Throw out your old bottle of ginger and get a new one before you begin. These are why cookie jars were invented, my friends. Why kids come home. Why husbands raid the freezer middle of the night.

Make ’em; make ’em right. You’ll always be tweaking them between the kinds of sheets and the oven temps………. Are they done? Are they not? (Don’t overbake them; they’re toasty garbage.)

The recipe is a guide. You’ll make them your way and they’ll be your cookies. Eat them with milk. Eat them with hot tea. Eat them with coffee or hot cocoa. For capital G-Goodness sake, just make them and eat them. What else do you need? Part of Christmas is… well, it’s just ginger cookies.

ALYCE’S GINGER COOKIES–A BIG BATCH –6 DOZ 2-3″ COOKIES

1 1/2 c shortening ( I know, I know)

2 c sugar (plus more for rolling)

1/2 c molasses

2 t freshly ground ginger

2 eggs

4 cups unbleached white flour

4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons cinnamon (I like Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon)

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F.


Beat well the shortening, sugar, molasses, egg and fresh ginger until fluffy. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Shape into 1″ balls. Roll in granulated white sugar and place on cookie sheet two inches apart. Bake until edges are quite dry, but centers are soft and still a tad gooey. If you overbake them, they’re dunking cookies.


Let cookies sit on trays for 5-8 minutes. Remove from trays to cooling racks until completely cool. Store in airtight containers for 1-2 days. Freeze for up to 2 weeks if not using immediately.

Just ginger.  Again.

What I’m reading and listening to:

BOOKS-
IN THE KITCHEN WITH A GOOD APPETITE by Melissa Clark
JACQUES PEPIN:  THE APPRENTICE  by Jacques Pepin
AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE by Dorie Greenspan
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein (Book Club’s at my house in January.)
THE LIGHT WILL SHINE; A STUDY FOR ADVENT

MUSIC-
John Rutter’s “Gloria”
my own piano playing
“my” choir’s cantata
Dave practising
Straight, No Chaser’s “12 Days of Christmas
The whipping of the trees and the scuttling of the leaves as winter weather moves in.
My daughter’s voice on the telephone

VIDEO:
Oh, and my favorite food video of the year is Yeo Valley:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOHAUvbuV4o&feature=player_embedded

Sing a new carol; bake a new cookie,
Alyce