Monday, December 19, 2005

A little holiday baking

I couldn't let the holidays roll by without a little bit of holiday baking. Too tired to do the cutout cookies (well, too tired to want to deal with decorating the cutout cookies is more like it) and amazingly not in the mood for chocolate - I opted instead for cinnamon as the flavor of choice. The spiraly ones are Cinnamon Maple shortbread swirls from Mrs. Fields Cookie Book which, sadly, I think is out of print. I've historically had issues with the cinnamon sugar filling falling out of these cookies as I try to assemble them, so this time I tweaked the recipe a little to get the filling to stay in place. (Just how did I do that, you ask? I made cinnamon-sugar paste - by adding butter :D )

In the back, you might spy some Snickerdoodles....mmm...snickerdoodles. I had thought of making eggnog snickerdoodles, but resisted the urge.

And finally, I have some Mexican Wedding Cakes or Russian Tea Cakes, or Snowballs - or whatever you like to call them - whatever they are called, they are delicious (and mine are nut free, though I did use almond extract).

Recipe for these tasty bite sized confections below, adapted from Penzey's Spices recipe for Mexican Wedding Cakes:

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (or more) confectioners sugar, for finishing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cream together the butter, sugar and extracts on high speed until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt, mix until combined.

Roll the dough into small 1-inch balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly on the sheet, then transfer them into a bowl with the remaining confectioners sugar to coat them. If the sugar melts, just re-roll them!

Yield: Approximately 4 dozen cookies


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