Last Saturday we went to my parents' house & baked 6 batches of Christmas cookies!
My mom made the Lime & Ginger Chewies shown above, plus some Spicy Gingerbread Twigs. Both recipes were from the December issue of Better Homes & Gardens. Their cookies recipes for this year are full of variety.
We had some issues with the first batch of the Lime & Ginger Chewies. They spread a lot during baking & we wound up having to cut them apart (hence the squares in the upper right of the pic above). If you make these, space them far apart on the cookie sheet! They really are chewy cookies, which we love. Plus, the lime flavor shines through perfectly without overwhelming the cookies.
The Spicy Gingerbread Twigs are like hard sticks of gingerbread cookie. Much easier to make than rolling & cutting out gingerbread men, but with the same flavor. I'd suggest omitting the cayenne pepper if you're serving them to kids. It adds quite a kick.
I baked 2 kinds of biscotti. The ones pictured above are Anisette Biscotti from BrownEyedBaker.com. I used sambuca for the anisette liquor, & coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. They're more soft & crumbly than what I think of biscotti as being, but the flavor is sooooo good!
The other biscotti I made was from Eating Well. I made this Double Chocolate Biscotti before a few years ago & it is just as good as I remembered! The traditional Italian biscotti does not have any added oils/fats, but uses eggs instead. This recipe follows that tradition. It has a rich chocolate flavor without being overly sweet.
If you're a huge chocolate fan like me, try dipping these into hot cocoa. It's delicious!!
Dad & Bup made pizzelles. Can you tell we have some Italian background in this family? :-) My grandma gave us this pizzelle iron as a wedding gift. I made pizzelles with it once before the Bup took over that job. He & my dad make a great team.
Dad mixes up the dough & then the Bup cooks them. He has a timing system down pat.
Their first batch was Almond Apricot Brandy flavored & the second was Anise. I'd share the recipes with you, but Dad guards his recipe card with his life. He has so many alterations to the original recipe that you can barely read the card. I'm going to have to copy it down at some point so we can preserve the recipe.
They're hard to tell apart by sight on a cookie platter. We store them in separate tins & label them so we know what we're getting without having to take a bite.
We had pre-dinner drinks to finish off a successful afternoon of cookie baking. This recipe was a new discovery from one of our drink books. It's called Fire & Ice, and is made from equal parts Sambuca, Brandy & Triple Sec. Our day had an anise theme to it: biscotti, pizzelles, & drinks.
Having tasted these once before, I opted for the small glass. This is a strong drink!
Here's to a festive & joyous Christmas season full of cookies!