Monday, December 05, 2005

And the Holidays Begin

We got our tree this weekend and though it is still undecorated (sitting in the living room next to 35 feet of naked garland) I am officially in holiday mode. This weekend, in between multiple holiday parties, I baked a few cookies. I won't get into the multiple recipe baking for a few more weeks, but one batch of sparkly Christmas cookies put me in a good mood for the weekend.

It's an easy recipe, right out of December's Cooking Light (though there is not much light about it). I actually already had all the ingredients at home.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup granulated sugar
10 tbls. softened butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (approx.) red and green sugar sprinkles (I used a little less)

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda and salt, stirring well with a whisk.

Place sugar and bugger in a large blow, beat with a miser at med-high speed until light and fluffy. The recipe says to beat for about 1 minute - it took me longer using my KitchenAid. Add vanilla and egg whites, beating until well blended. Beating at low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating just until a soft dough forms.

Divide dough into two equal portions. Place each portion on plastic wrap, shape into 8-inch log. Wrap logs in plastic wrap; freeze at least 2 hours or until very firm. I actually froze the logs overnight and they were fine.

Preheat oven to 375.

This is the fun part. Working with one log at a time, lightly coat the log with cooking spray. Roll each log in sugar sprinkles, pressing gently to adhere. I did all of this on a sheet of wax paper - cleanup was easy. Cut each log dough into 32 (1/4 inch thick) slices, place 1 inch apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes or until set (my first batch was overcooked at 10 minutes, my final batch only took 7 minutes, and I kept my raw cookies on sheets in the fridge in between). Once out of the oven, cool completely on wire racks.

These are super easy cookies to make - they're sort of like homemade slice and bake - and they look very pretty the whole time. I did one green log and one red log. The green looked sort of like glittery zucchini...kind of like a summer vegetable from the garden of the Wizard of Oz:

slicing cookies
Originally uploaded by Kit Pollard.

The recipe yields 64 cookies, which is more than enough to divide up to share with friends. I took some of the prettier ones to a holiday girls' lunch yesterday:

Originally uploaded by Kit Pollard.

Cooking Light doesn't usually publish recipes that involve over a stick of butter...but I suppose everyone has to make an exception around this time of year. At any rate, I'd highly recommend.

Now I'm off to try to wrap lights and garland around my front porch. We'll see how it goes!

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