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Christmas baking-Sugar and spice and everything nice!
December 20, 2014
Today is cookie day. I have made a double batch of Old Fashioned Spice bars, mixed up gingerbread dough, and my great great grandma's sugar cookie dough this morning.
Having just placed a pastured raised chicken in the pot for dinner, I decided it was time to sit down with a cup of coffee while the dough chills in the fridge.
We normally make gingerbread men and a gingerbread house every year......don't think we will get to the gingerbread house this year. Gingerbread can be one of the healthier cookies that is made at Christmas. All depends on the recipe. I have tweaked ours over the years to make it a little better.
Gingerbread (for cut outs or house)
1 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup succanat
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
1tsp each of cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves/ginger
2 eggs (beaten)
1tsp apple cider vinegar
4-5 cups flour (I have been using Kamut)
1tsp B. Soda
In a saucepan; combine butter, sugar, molasses, and spices; bring to a boil stirring constantly to melt sugars.
Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm, mix beaten eggs and vinegar together and stir into the molasses mixture, mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine 4 cups flour and B. soda. Mix molasses and flour together. If too soft continue adding flour until dough is stiff enough to roll out once chilled.
Chill for a few hours and roll to 1/4 inch thickness, cut and place cookies unto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 350 degrees for 8-10 minute ** yields 6 dozen
**If using this for a gingerbread house; roll out to 1/4 inch thickness, place temlate on dough and cut. Place on cookie sheet and bake. When done, remove from oven and trim sides to straighten. Let cool before putting house together. We often would make the house and paste it together one day, let it dry and decorate the next.
Old Fashioned Spice Bars are another fairly healthy snack with nuts, raisins, and spices. They smell so good while baking.
Old Fashioned Spice Bars
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup hot water
1 cup succanat
1tsp each of cinnamon/ allspice, cloves/ nutmeg
3 cardamom pod seeds
1 egg (beaten)
1/2 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts)
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp B. Soda
Place raisins, water, and oil in a pot. Bring to a boils and let cool.
Add sugar, spices, salt, and B. soda. Stir in eggs and add flour.
Place mixture into 9x13 cake pan and bake 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
Cool and cut into bars.
I was actually hoping to get away with making fewer cookies this year and proposed to make the gingerbread and spice bars for Christmas. There was so much rucous about the possible lack of Grandma's Sugar Cookies that I had to relent and make some. This recipe can be used for cutouts, drops, or filled cookies. My mom makes some great filled cookies with raisins and spices.
This recipe has been handed down 4 generations at this time. I have a hand written recipe that my grandma wrote with a little note stating the fact that it was handed down 3 generations (at that time) and that she never changed anything since it was perfect. She also wrote that she liked to make the dough the night before and bake the cookies the next night. I like to do this as well. I have even made the dough and froze it until I wanted to bake some of these cookies. It thawed beautifully and worked great.
Grandma's Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup of butter milk or sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp b. powder
1 tsp b. soda
1/2-3/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
dash of salt
6-7 cupe flour
cream sugar and butter, add eggs and mix 4-5 minutes. Add all other ingredients except the flour. Beat for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Start adding flour until dough is desired consistency. Chill, roll out to 1/2 inch and cut. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool and ice.
Frosting for cookies:
4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter/lard
5 tablspoons milk
cream sugar and butter until smooth and gradually add milk and vanilla.
Royal Icing for gingerbread:
4 egg whites
4 cups (sifted) powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon or almond extract
Beat egg whites until foamy, gradually add sugar and extract, beat on high until thickened.