Wednesday, December 19, 2007

C is for...

It's that time of year when butter goes on sale, and people drag out their stand mixers. I challenge you, my dear wonderful people, to tell me your favorite Christmas cookies. I'll start.

Six different kinds come to mind immediately. In descending order of goodness (Um, I guess I mean I'm saving the best for last. I may have accidentally said the opposite just then. Whoops!), here we go.

6) Gingerbread men. Half the fun is biting the heads off first, of course. But I also like the minimal decoration of a piped-on face and maybe some mittens. And, um, ginger!
5) Mexican Wedding Cookies (aka Russian Teacakes). Make sure to bake them thoroughly. I don't like any semblance of raw dough on the inside. Shaking them in a bag with powdered sugar is fun. This goes for all cookies: Use BUTTER. Not shortening, not lard, not tallow, not schmaltz. Butter.
4) Pizzelle. I've never made these. However, my black shirt is currently dusted with the confectioner's sugar remains of having just pounded five of them straight. Yum.
3) Christmas Sugar Cookies. I like making stars and trees and ball-shaped ornaments. Hint: Use the cutters that look like this, so that the dough doesn't get stuck in the cutter.
2) Cornflake Wreath cookies. Every Christmas when I was young, the Andersons would have a neighborhood holiday party. Mrs. Conway brought these cookies, complete with Red-Hot holly berries. I was a greedy little cow (Sorry, Mom!) and picked through the ginormous platter to get all of these. I remember feeling guilty. I think that was about the time I had my first communion. I don't think I confessed. Maybe I wasn't really sorry.

And the best one ever:

1) Springerle. Overwhelmingly hated by almost every person outside my family, this German cookie is made with eggs, sugar, flour, anise, and barely any liquid. You roll out the stiff dough with a special Springerle rolling pin (I've ganked my mom's), which embosses pretty patterns on top of the dough. You cut them apart into squares with a sharp knife, and then let the whole mess dry overnight at least. Then you bake them in a very low temperature oven for a longish time. They're hard as rocks and taste of anise. I love them. LOVE.

Your turn.