Sunday, December 5, 2010

baking day

The Advent calendar is up and T's been adding ornaments in chunks instead of 1 per day and now I have carols to serenade me on my way to and from work. And with other blogs full of cookie recipes and delicious descriptions of christmas baking, yesterday I got out my baking sheets. I must admit I was partly motivated by a promise I had to fulfill - at a recent church fund raiser, a kind soul paid for 3 months of my baking (3 batches of something - muffins, a cake, a loaf of bread, etc) and she opted for two types of christmas cookies for 2 of the months. I made 2 batches each of pfeffernuse and almond butter cookies, so one batch to give as my promise and 1 batch for us.

The pfeffernuse remind me of my childhood years in Germany (my dad was stationed in Germany for a few years) but the recipe comes from my Canadian Living Cookbook (Random House/Madison Press) - which has a huge section on christmas baking (and also has the recipe I use as the basis for my fruitcake). These are easy (start to finish ~ 1 hour) and the batch can easily be doubled or tripled for a large number of cookies.

Pfeffernuse (from the Canadian Living Cookbook)
1/3 c molasses
1/3 c butter
1 egg, beaten
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp each cinnamon and ginger
1/4 tsp each cloves, black pepper and nutmeg

In a saucepan, heat the butter and molasses until the butter melts.

 Take off the heat and cool. Add in the beaten egg. Mix the flour, soda and spices together and add into the molasses mixture.

Blend well, first with a spoon and then with your hands. Form the dough into 1" balls and drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 375 deg F. Dust with icing or granulated sugar while still warm.

After our boy played soccer and we ran some errands, including the purchase of a door wreath from a craft market, I made almond cookies. I can't share the recipe because it isn't mine but a blend of butter, sugar, almond extract, eggs, salt, flour and ground almonds morphs into a lovely buttery bite of nutty goodness. I'm glad I made 2 batches, T and D love them.

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