Pebernodder Cookies

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So here’s my full disclosure on the subject of today’s post: it was my original intention to make Pebernodder cookies apart of 2015’s 12 Days of Christmas.  I first heard of them through this baking recipe card collection I had and because I thought they looked and sounded delicious, I decided to give it a whirl.

It didn’t work out very well.

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To this day, I have no idea what the heck was wrong with that stupid cookie dough. The problems started showing themselves with the very first test cookie. It spread too much. The edges were coming out weird. The consistency of the finished cookie wasn’t even close to what one should’ve been.

And Believe me, I tried everything I could to fix it. I altered how I rolled out and cut the dough. I froze the dough for a while. Baked it more. Baked it less. Changed the position in the oven. Nothing worked. It was just…off.

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I finally remembered the other batches of cookies I had to bake and decided to write the Pebernodder off as the L that I was just gonna have to take for that year’s Christmas baking. I binned the remaining failed dough (of which there was unfortunately quite a bit), shook off the irritation, and just kept it moving.

In the back of my mind however, I resolved that for the next go around in 2016, I was absolutely *going* to get it right.

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I should probably go into just what is ‘right’ for a Pebernodder for you guys, huh?

Well the word ‘Pebernodder’ is actually Danish for Pepper Nuts (I think so anyway. I also don’t speak a syllable of Danish, so don’t quote me on that one). They’re traditionally very tiny cookies strongly flavored with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and even pepper. Some variations use black pepper, while others even use the even more potent white pepper that give them an extra ‘kick’ that juuuuust toes the line between sweet and spicy.

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Aside from the combination of the spices, the main appeal of the cookie to me was the tiny, portable size. They just look like cookies that are meant to be piled in a big Christmas tin, wrapped in bow and presented as a gift or brought to an office party to share.  There’s plenty to go around with this batch, that much I can assure you.

Now remember, these are called Peppernuts for a reason. They’re supposed to be round and tiny so that they kinda resemble nuggets. So keeping that in mind, here are a few tips for handling this dough that should give you the results you want:

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The dough should be rolled into long and thin logs, then cut into very tiny pieces, like balls. Provided the dough is cold enough AND that you follow the tip of crinkling up the parchment paper, the cookies should have VERY minimal spreading. The tiny size of the cookies and high temperature of the oven also makes them bake very quickly despite the recipe yielding such a huge batch. You won’t be in the kitchen forever, promise.

Spice, spice and more spice: that’s the best way I can describe the taste of these. There’s just enough sugar to balance the bite of the spices. I know that other variations of these come out crisp, but my cookies came out rather soft and chewy–not that I’m complaining mind you. I heard nothing but praise from these and I’m very happy with my redo of the Pebernodder.

12 Days of Christmas Banner

Day 1: Stuffing Bread

Day 2: Pumpkin Crunch Tart

Day 3: Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Day 4: Dulce de Leche Hot Chocolate

Day 5: Almond Stamped Cookies

Day 6: Spiced Cookie Bark

Day 7: Demerara Sugar Buns

Day 8: Sugared Shortbread

Day 9: Hot Chocolate Marble Pound Cake

Day 10: Cranberry Scones

Day 11: Pebernodder Cookies

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Pebernodder Cookies

Recipe Courtesy of Rikke Gryberg

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/10 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • A few shakes of black pepper (optional, use if you prefer a ‘bite’ to the cookie, leave out if you prefer it on the sweeter side)

Directions

In a medium bowl, use a fork to mix the flour, cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, baking power, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In the bottom of a standing mixer bow, use the wire attachment (or a handheld mixer) to mix the butter, white sugar and heavy cream.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, about 1/2 cup at a time. It should form a smooth dough. Separate into 4 portions and place in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes, until dough holds together firmly.

Take each individual portion and divide it into about 3 to 4 balls. Roll each ball into long strips/ropes, about 8-10 inches long. Place the ropes on a baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the freezer for another 10-15 minutes

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take a sheet of parchment paper and crumple it up in your hands thoroughly. Smooth it back out onto a baking sheet. (Repeat this process for as many sheets of cookies you plan on baking. The ridges and bumps made in the paper will keep the cookies from spreading too much.)

Remove the cookie logs from the freezer. Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut each log into little pieces, about 1/3 inch thick. You can line the logs up next to each other and cut them all at once if you wish to save time. Place each piece about 1 1/2 inches apart from each other on the sheet (these cookies don’t spread much, so don’t feel the need to place a lot of space between them)

Take one baking sheet and bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes until the cookies have just started to turn golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 60 seconds before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the rest of the dough, keeping what you’re not currently baking inside the freezer or the refrigerator so as not to let it get too soft (which will cause them to spread).

Note: No one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.)

Almond Stamped Cookies

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It was around this time last year that I really started getting into making stamped/imprinted cookies. My first try was with the Cardamom Wafers I made for the series two years ago. I liked the results and knew I wanted to keep experimenting with the method. It’s a far less laborious alternative to making your Christmas cookies pretty, especially for someone who isn’t that artfully inclined like yours truly. I’m so totally not the type that can take a tube of colored gel or icing and pipe on elaborate designs. Not at all. The extent of my cookie decorating skills is to spread icing on top, then drop some sprinkles on top and call it a day. With cookie stamps, all you do is press a tool into the dough, and the work is practically done for you.

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Probably the best, most extreme form of stamp/imprint cookies is the Springerle cookie. It’s a thick German-based cookie dough that is imprinted using VERY intricate, beautiful wood molds, then left out for the dough to be able to ‘dry’ for hours before being baked. I first heard about them last fall and after hunting down two springerle molds of my own, made my first attempt in the first post of the 12 Days of Christmas series for 2015. The results blew me away. If you treat that dough right, give it enough time to dry out and bake gently, it’ll result in a cookie that impresses everyone.

Thing about Springerle is, the hand-carved wood molds used to make them don’t come cheap. I’d love to get my hands on some more but at $40-$60 a pop (and depending on the size and intricacy of the mold, possibly even more than that), buying more has taken a far back seat to my financial priorities.

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The good news is, making beautiful stamped/imprinted cookies doesn’t have to be a pricey process. There are plenty of molds that although made out of plastic, still feature intricate designs. The Cardamom print wafers and these Speculaas cookies were both made with a set of plastic cookie stamps from my grandmother’s 30+ year old Christmas baking collection and they made some of the prettiest cookies to come out of my kitchen. After multiple recipes, different doughs and using different kinds of molds, I think I can say pretty confidently that the real secret to making printed cookies lies in how you treat the dough, not so much the mold itself.

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The most important tip I can give with imprinted cookies is this: you’ve gotta chill the dough. THOROUGHLY. I mean, to the point where they’re almost rock solid. With the exception of Springerle that become rock hard by themselves in the regular open air, I’ve put every other standard cookie dough I’m stamping/imprinting not in the refrigerator but in the actual freezer for a minimum of half an hour before I bake it. It does sometimes result in me needing to bake them a tad bit longer than the recipe states, (although not that much), but it’s the coldness of the dough when it goes in that will preserve the intricacy of the design from the stamp or mold, regardless of what kind you’re using. If the butter or other fat in the dough is too warm, it expands during baking, causing the cookies to spread, which will blur the design. If the butter is frozen when it goes into the hot oven, it has less time to expand: got it?

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These cookies from today’s recipe are my latest attempt at imprinting. Aren’t they pretty? As I said, you don’t have to go expensive to get pretty cookies. The stamps I used for these came from Target and they came in a set of three for $20.00. (See here if you’re interested). They’re *really* nice, quality stamps too. Like most bakeware, they came with a recipe with which to try them out and since it looked like the dough came together in a matter of minutes, I figured what the heck and tried it out for myself.

These have a no frills, simple flavor profile which I think is appropriate for a print cookie: think along the lines of that trademark almond flavor that reminds you of the thick cookies you can get from bakeries. Because the dough uses powdered sugar rather than regular white, the crumb of the cookies is much finer and delicate. It melts in your mouth, and it’s just divine. As I said, the making of the dough is really simple, the most crucial step is how you treat the dough after stamping/imprinting.

Just remember: freezer, not fridge. Long time. Solid dough. Less spreading. Sharper design. You can do this. What’s more you *should*.

12 Days of Christmas Banner

Day 1: Stuffing Bread

Day 2: Pumpkin Crunch Tart

Day 3: Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Day 4: Dulce de Leche Hot Chocolate

Day 5: Almond Stamped Cookies

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Almond Stamped Cookies

Recipe Courtesy of Nordic Ware

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for flouring
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Special Equipment: Nordic Ware Cookie Stamps, or any other cookie stamps, cutters you want to use

 

Directions

In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together the flour and salt.

In a large bowl, use the whisk attachment or a handheld mixer to cream together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and almond extract. Gradually add in the flour in about 1/2 cup increments until the dough comes together.

Shape dough into balls, using about 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons for each cookie. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using your hand, press each dough ball to form a disk about 1/4 inch thick.

Dip your cookie stamps into flour, then lightly tap them to free excess. Firmly press the stamp into the cookie disk until dough reaches the edges of the stamp. Remove carefully and repeat with the remaining dough balls, flouring stamps before each use to prevent them from sticking to the dough.

Freeze the cookies for about 35-40 minutes to allow to firm up. (This will help protect the design and keep them from spreading in the oven)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove cookies from freezer and bake for 12-14 minutes, until just beginning to brown on edges. Allow to set for about 1-2 minutes on baking sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

 Note: No one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.)

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

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Its funny; I’ve made hundreds of holiday cookies, but I don’t think I’ve ever participated in an actual cookie swap. Not a single one.

You guys know what those are, right? Cookie swaps are sugar overload get-togethers where each of the attendants bakes up a large batch of cookies and brings them to share & ‘swap’ everyone else who’s brought their own recipe of cookies to the party. Everyone is supposed to bring a different type so that there’s as much variety as possible. Sometimes there will be recipe exchanges along with the cookies. Sometimes people will vote on which cookie at the swap is the best tasting.

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It’s probably just in my competitive nature but if I did actually go to a cookie swap, I would want MY cookies to be the favorite. If all of the cookies were laid out together on a platter, I’d want MINE to look the prettiest. I’d definitely have to win, which means that the cookies I took with me would A) Not only have to be delicious, but B) also be just as great to look at.

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Having said all of that, I can guarantee that of all the cookies I’ve baked–and there have been many–if I had to choose one recipe to bake and bring to a cookie swap, this one right here would be it. No question.

It more than delivers in the taste department, the details of which we’ll get to in a second. But first, can we talk about the presentation?

I mean, come on. They just LOOK like the perfect Christmas cookie, right?

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What we have here is a cream cheese buttery cookie dough that gets rolled out flat, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar then rolled up in a tight cylinder, cinnamon-roll style. Individual cookies are cut from the cylinders then baked until golden brown. The cookie’s texture is tender and slightly crisp; think somewhere in between a sandie and one of those butter cookies that come out of the blue tins. The orange zest in the dough gives a slight but pleasant citrusy after-taste to them that complements the cinnamon inside beautifully.

They’re really very delicious guys. They remind me of something that the Keebler company would mass produce and sell at Christmas.

Except Keebler didn’t make them. I did. And now you can too.

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Before I even made this recipe, I knew that I was going to have a trial-error experience with it. They were just too pretty NOT to run into some technical difficulties. Fortunately for you guys, you get to find out how to make them without having to make the same mistakes I did. Following my clear and pretty straight forward instructions should make it so that there’s no reason why your cinnamon roll cookies won’t turn out exactly like the ones you see in the pictures.

I’d say that the most important step to nailing this recipe is making sure that your dough is the right temperature, especially before rolling it up into the cylinders that you cut into the individual cookies. When I first made these, my dough was still too soft; I didn’t give it enough time to chill in the freezer so it tore and broke apart AFTER I had already sprinkled with the cinnamon sugar and was attempting to roll it.

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Not pretty. Not fun.

Don’t do that.

Let your dough chill out in the freezer long enough so that it can be rolled up just as easily as cinnamon roll dough can. If you use the freezer rather than the refrigerator, it shouldn’t take too long. Roll the cylinders up as tightly as you can; loose rolls make the swirls in the cookies spread wide and cause some of the filling to spill out. Let the rolled up cylinders chill out in the freezer long enough so that when you cut them into individual cookies, the rolls don’t deflate.

If you keep this dough as chilled and firm as possible, it’ll be good to you. Promise. And, you’ll be the star of any cookie swap party, that’s for sure.

(Still more to come in our 12 Days of Christmas baking series. Stay tuned.)

12 Days of Christmas Banner

Day 1: Stuffing Bread

Day 2: Pumpkin Crunch Tart

Day 3: Cinnamon Roll Cookies

 

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Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Recipe Adapted from Taste of Home

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Directions

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

In a  medium bowl or container, mix the flour together with the baking powder, yeast and salt.

In a large bowl of a standing mixer, use the whisk attachment to cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla extract and grated orange peel.

Gently add the flour mixture, about 1 cup at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula periodically to ensure it’s mixed thoroughly.

Divide the dough into four portions. Freeze them for about 2o-minutes, until they are relatively firm.

Sprinkle a sheet of wax or parchment paper with flour. Using a rolling pin (or your hands) roll or pat each dough portion into an 8 x 6 rectangle. Sprinkle with two heaping tablespoons of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up as tightly as you can, jelly-roll style (it was easier for me to roll it up by the short side rather than the long one). Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and place back in the freezer for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the dough crosswise in about 3/8 inch slices. Place them about 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets (or lined with parchment paper). Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown on the bottoms. Allow to set on the baking sheet for about 60 seconds before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

(Note: No one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.)

Snickerdoodle Biscotti

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One of the most important things I try to remember about life and people in general is that sooner or later, at some point or other, everybody makes mistakes.

Nobody’s perfect.

Stuff happens.

Sometimes, you just mess up.

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For example: I remember being in the fourth grade and being in a class play of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” I had one of the lines Lucy says. I can even remember it now: “Now Linus, I want you to take a good look at Charlie Brown’s face. Would you please hold still Charlie Brown? This is what you call a failure face.”

It’s actually a pretty cruel thing to say, but for some reason, when my cue came, I got a MAD case of the giggles. For about 10-15 seconds, I just couldn’t stop laughing. I got the line out eventually, but it was definitely not one of my finer moments on the stage.

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I watched an episode of the Price is Right where one of the models accidentally gave the contestant playing a game the correct answer in a price guessing game. She literally turned beet red and hid behind the sign in embarrassment. I hoped she got to keep her job.

Every Windows update since Vista has been a mistake. They should really get to work on fixing it.

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I’m sure all of us by now have heard about the Miss Universe pageant last night, where the host Steve Harvey accidentally crowned the runner up as the winner instead of the actual one. I have several personal issues/dissensions of opinion with some of Steve Harvey’s perspectives about women and relationships, but even I kinda felt bad for him for making that mistake.

I think I feel even worse for both Miss Philippines and Miss Colombia.  Miss Colombia must have been humiliated and devastated to think that she won the crown at first, then have to lose it in front of millions of people. Even though she won, Miss Philippines probably felt as though her moment of victory was spoiled by the gaffe that will likely follow her everywhere now.

But like I said, people make mistakes. Stuff happens.

Kinda like with this recipe.

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To be perfectly honest, I had one of those moments when first setting out to make it a few days ago. As easy as it is to put together biscotti, I still actually managed to mess up my first batch. What had happened was, after I put together the dough I was supposed to pat it into 2 separate logs measuring about 6-8 inches long, arranging them vertically on a sheet pan.

But for some reason, I missed that part of the recipe. What I ended up doing instead was making two logs that were actually more like 10-12 inches long and arranging them  horizontally on the sheet pan. About ten minutes after I put it in the oven and I saw how much the dough was spreading, I realized I had DEFINITELY done something wrong. I took a second look at the recipe and heaved a great big sigh. Then, I took out the sheet pan and promptly shoved the whole shebang into the garbage bin, and started again.

As you can see…I got it right the second time. These REALLY do taste like regular snickerdoodle cookies.

If at first you don’t succeed: try, try again.

12 Days of Christmas Banner Second

Day 1: Springerle Cookies

Day 2: Speculaas Cookies

Day 3: Gingerbread Caramel Crunch

Day 4: Cranberry Pumpkin Gingerbread

Day 5: Sticky Caramel Pecan Babka

Day 6: Speculoos Truffle Cookies

Day 7: Aniseed Cookies

Day 8: Magical, Memorable, Marvelous Cookies

Day 9: Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Day 10: Café Coffee Cookies

Day 11: Snickerdoodle Biscottti

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Snickerdoodle Biscotti

Recipe Courtesy of Food.com

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Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 14teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg white

Directions

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.

Measure flour into a large bowl using the scoop and level method. Add 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.

Mix oil, vanilla and whole eggs in a small bowl, and add to the large bowl (your dough will be dry and quite crumbly).

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 7 or 8 times.Divide in half. Shape each portion into a roll about 8 inches long, and place them six or so inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Flatten each roll to 1 inch thick.

Combine the 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon, then gently brush the tops of the rolls with the egg white and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Remove from the sheet and cool for 15 minutes.

Cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices and lay them cut sides down on the cookie sheet again.Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees F and then bake 10 more minutes, turn over and bake 10 more. They’ll be soft in the middle but will harden as they cool.

While biscotti are in their final bake, combine the remining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in a small, shallow dish with a fork. When the biscotti are done, dip both flat sides into the cinnamon sugar mixture, then set on a wire rack to cool.

Café Coffee Cookies

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Baking twelve batches of Christmas goodie recipes is no small task, guys,

It’s a whole lot of butter, sugar, flour.

A.WHOLE.LOT.

Like, I don’t think you understand how much of those three things you’re going to end up using.

And spilling. And cleaning up.

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Eventually stuff just starts blurring together; the sound of the mixer, the stray sprinkles that fall on the kitchen floor, the empty eggshells and used butter wrappers, the measuring cups and measuring spoons that you continually have to rinse out and dry between recipes, the sound of the oven buzzer going off telling you to take the next ‘batch’ out. You run out of counter space and end up having to get ‘creative’ to find spaces to let your bakes cool off and or set up. You go through countless rolls of paper towel, parchment paper and aluminum foil.

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Also, your feet swell and ache from standing up for hours.

I pretty much turn into a mixing, measuring, baking Elf for this series.

But somehow, I still end up loving it.

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Spoiler Alert, guys: as much as I love doing the series, I actually don’t end up keeping/eating most of the food I bake.

I mean, come on: it would just be a bad idea for me to keep 12 batches of baked goods in my house. I probably wouldn’t be able to fit out the door of my house if I did that. Plus, Christmas is the season of giving, right?

So, what I usually try and do is give away as much of the treats as possible to people I know; neighbors, family, friends. I send it to Christmas parties and potlucks. There’s a lady in my grandparents church who gets the bulk of them to pass out to kids in her neighborhood.

In short, when you do this much baking at a time, it’s just best for you to share the wealth…most of the time.

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Except, that’s not exactly what happened with these. This time around, I didn’t want to “share the wealth”, I wanted to hoard it. So I did.

These cookies, I kept. All for myself. That’s how yummy they are.

It may have something to do with my being somewhat of a coffee addict, but I seriously loved these cookies. They’re soft, fudgy and rich. The combination of chocolate and coffee works SO well here. The flavor really is reminiscent of  your favorite latté at a coffee shop. Because I’m such a huge coffee fan, I did bump up the amount of instant coffee in my dough to 4 tbsp. However, because I know that not everyone is as fond of coffee as I am, I kept the printed recipe as I originally found it. (But if you love coffee as much as I do, I recommend bumping it up).

There’s only two more days left of our series, guys. Whoop whoop.

12 Days of Christmas Banner Second

Day 1: Springerle Cookies

Day 2: Speculaas Cookies

Day 3: Gingerbread Caramel Crunch

Day 4: Cranberry Pumpkin Gingerbread

Day 5: Sticky Caramel Pecan Babka

Day 6: Speculoos Truffle Cookies

Day 7: Aniseed Cookies

Day 8: Magical, Memorable, Marvelous Cookies

Day 9: Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Day 10: Café Coffee Cookies

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Cafe Coffee Cookies

Recipe Courtesy of Betty Crocker

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules or instant espresso coffee (dry)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 bag (11.5 or 12 oz) semisweet chocolate chunks (2 cups)

 For Coffee Drizzle

  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules or instant espresso coffee (dry)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions

In large bowl, beat granulated and brown sugars, butter and egg with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until creamy. Stir in flour, 1 tablespoon coffee granules, the baking soda and salt. Stir in pecans and chocolate chunks. Refrigerate cookie dough for at least one hour, or preferably overnight.

Heat oven to 350°F. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased large cookie sheet.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and edges are set. Cool 4 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon coffee granules in water. Stir in powdered sugar until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle cooled cookies with Coffee Drizzle.

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

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I’ve been a pretty busy girl today.

I mentioned that we’re moving to a new place earlier and the hectic to do of packing, lifting, pushing boxes, furniture and whatnot has really been taking it’s toll on yours truly. It’s also making me forget that we now have less than one week until Christmas. I would much prefer to be doing this at a much better and more convenient time than 6 days until Christmas, but as  it’s not up to me, I’ve been keeping a stiff upper lip about it and soldiering on.

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If I could afford it, I’d literally pay for a team of big strong (and preferably very attractive) men to pack and move all the stuff for me, then also unpack it. But unless theyd’d let me pay them in food that they buy and I cook, I doubt that’d be a price I could afford.

Maybe we should go back to the old days when instead of paying for services with cash, you’d barter with somebody with something of value that you could offer or provide them with.

“Hey Chris Hemsworth-lookalike-guy: can you please move this dresser for me? I can bake you a three layer cake that’ll bring you to tears from its sheer deliciousness.”

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“Hey! Dude with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson arms and grin; lift this box for me and I’ll bake you a batch of homemade cookies. Also, take me out on a date.”

You can tell I really hate moving. Hate it with a passion. As huge an undertaking as baking, photographing and writing up these posts for the Christmas series is, it’s a welcome distraction from the strain of moving from one place to another.

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This morning I woke up bright and early to finish photographing the last few recipes for the series. It seems crazy to me that we’re nearing the end but we are. I’m super happy with how it all turned out, and I even feel a little bit proud of myself, considering that I had to squeeze them in while in the process of a move.

Today I’m bringing out more cookies for you guys.

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Butterscotch is a polarizing flavor, I’ve found. It’s very rich and sweet. As such, people either love it, or they…don’t love it. I’m one of the people who happen to enjoy it, which is why I pinned this recipe to try out a long time ago.

This cookie is for the “soft and chewy” cookie fans. The spices of your typical gingerbread cookie meet, date, fall in love and marry with the rich sweetness of the butterscotch chips mixed into the dough. And I happen to think that they make a super cute (not to mention delicious) “couple”.

The party is still going on at this week’s Fiesta Friday #99 Christmas party, cohosted this week by  Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking and Linda @ La Petite Paniere, so I’ll also be bringing these cookies there.

12 Days of Christmas Banner Second

Day 1: Springerle Cookies

Day 2: Speculaas Cookies

Day 3: Gingerbread Caramel Crunch

Day 4: Cranberry Pumpkin Gingerbread

Day 5: Sticky Caramel Pecan Babka

Day 6: Speculoos Truffle Cookies

Day 7: Aniseed Cookies

Day 8: Magical, Memorable, Marvelous Cookies

Day 9: Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Recipe Courtesy of Nestle®

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/3 cup mild molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 2/3 cups (11-ounce package) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Butterscotch Flavored Morsels

Directions

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in small bowl.

Beat sugar, butter, molasses and egg in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in morsels. Refrigerate cookie dough for at least one hour or preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Aniseed Cookies

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Am I the only one that will buy a particular, somewhat rare, yet hardly-ever-usable spice for ONE recipe…then just let it sit in the cabinet indefinitely because I literally don’t know what else to do with it?

I HATE THAT.

But I’m still guilty of it.

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I bought saffron once. It’s main use was to make St. Lucia Buns, but I told myself I’d use it to make paella later. Did I make the paella? No. But the St. Lucia Buns turned out fantastic, and I have made them again since that first time.

The first time I brined a turkey, I bought a small bottle of whole juniper berries that were supposed to go in the brine. Prior to that, I wasn’t even sure of what a juniper berry was supposed to even taste like. The turkey turned out fine, but I still haven’t touched them since then, which was…November of 2014.

I buy vials of whole star anise to make my favorite Cranberry Clementine sauce. Do I know anything else to do with whole star anise? Heck no. But it gives an irreplaceable flavor to the cranberry sauce, so I buy it anyway.

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When I looked over the recipe to make my Springerle cookies, I saw that I would need something called Baker’s Ammonia. Had I EVER used Baker’s Ammonia before? Nope. But for the sake of my cookies, I bought some. I used 1 tsp for the entire batch. I still have just about the entire 2.7 ounce bottle left….and no idea what else to do with it.

I bought orange blossom water to make my very first batch of Baklawa. I put 2 tbsp worth in the syrup. The problem is that it was from a 10 ounce bottle….and sadly, I still have not touched it since then.

Whole cloves. Whole peppercorns. White pepper. Whole cinnamon sticks. Pomegranate molasses. Sumac. Fennel seeds.

Those are just a few of the spices I currently have in my cabinets that I purchased for maybe 1 or 2 recipes, and have yet to find other uses for.

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Another one I should add to that list would be whole aniseeds.

Why would I buy whole aniseeds?

I bought them for last year’s 12 Days of Christmas series where I made Biscochito cookies…and to my shame, I have not found another use for them since then.

Or should I say, since now– today’s recipe for Day 7 of our series.

Anise is a flavor that people typically either love or hate. If I had to describe it, I would say that it’s mildly reminiscent of licorice. But even if you THINK you don’t really like the flavor of anise, I still think you should give this recipe a chance. These cookies are that good.

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Also, if you’re like me and you have a 2 oz. bottle of aniseed sitting in your cabinet, then allow me to give you just the recipe to put those suckers to good use. It’s well worth the two whopping tablespoons that goes in this dough. I already knew when I rolled it out that I would love these cookies; the dough just ‘felt’ good to me. It’s very smooth and pliable without being too sticky.

The cookie isn’t chewy, but it does have a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture that I just loved. The citrus zest that you choose to include (whether it’s lemon or orange) also gives a very pleasant balance to the flavor of the aniseed. These really remind me of the type of cookies you would serve at a tea party alongside some tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

Or, of course: alongside some milk for Santa.

12 Days of Christmas Banner Second

Day 1: Springerle Cookies

Day 2: Speculaas Cookies

Day 3: Gingerbread Caramel Crunch

Day 4: Cranberry Pumpkin Gingerbread

Day 5: Sticky Caramel Pecan Babka

Day 6: Speculoos Truffle Cookies

Day 7: Aniseed Cookies

Aniseed Cookies


Recipe Courtesy of Anne Burrell

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Ingredients

  • 3 sticks (12 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar,plus more for rolling
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest (I did use orange, but that’s just my preference)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. aniseed, toasted
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • About 6tbsp. raw sugar

Directions

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the first two ingredients on medium high, occasionally scraping down side of bowl until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg and next four ingredients; beat until smooth. Add the aniseed and half the flour, beat on medium low until just blended. Repeat with the remaining flour.

Turn the dough onto a work surface dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Knead until it just comes together, two or three turns. Shape into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (I let it sit overnight in the fridge).

Preheat oven to 35o degrees Fahrenheit. Let the dough soften until slightly at room temperature, about 10 minutes. Place onto a work surface dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Dust dough with more sugar; roll to 1/4 inch thick. Using 2 1/2 inch cookies cutters, cut out shapes. Gather up the scraps; roll again, refrigerating if dough is too soft. Arrange on parchment lined baking sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart. Refrigerate cookies on baking sheets for about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle each cookie with about 1/2 tsp raw sugar. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden around the edges, 10 to 13 minutes. Transfer on the parchment to racks and let cool.