Christmas Cookies!

This weekend was spent inside with a sore knee (yoga injury, if you can believe it), and lots of baking. Both Shane and I had work parties and events coming up, and I somehow felt like making Christmas cookies, which is something I never, ever do.

These are wonderful 'Triple Ginger Cookies' from one of my favorite cookery writers, Heidi Swanson from her blog 101 Cookbooks. The recipe is wonderfully healthy for a cookie (of course, I just used a mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat). These are the perfect size for a discreet gingery hit; they are crisp on the outside and slightly chewy.

These are 'Crisp Chocolate Bites' from the book Cookies by Williams-Sonoma which I borrowed from the library. I added a teaspoon of cayenne to give it a kick. It turned out pretty well, though it could have done with a minute or so less baking. These suckers are surprisingly spicy, but in a nice way.

And now, the classic Mexican Wedding cookie, from the same book (though the recipe is everywhere). These are definitely my favorite - nutty, buttery, and oh so very rich. I don't like a lot of icing sugar, so they look a little plain.

Finally, I made two batches of a sugar cookie recipe from the same book. However, since this recipe calls for a cup and a quarter cup of butter per batch, it is more like a shortbread. Indeed, the cookie cutter shapes I cut out ended up being pretty fragile. So I gave up on that and made really ugly balls / lumps instead.

The batch pictured above have rosemary as a flavouring. This really worked - it didn't taste too herby at all, but the rosemary added a mysterious depth that made you wonder.

The second batch below had the addition of citrus (lemon, orange, lime, kaffir lime leaf). This turned out pretty well, with quite a pronounced aroma.

So...the decorating. This was harder than I anticipated, and I really didn't like working with icing, which really ruins the cookie with sickly sweetness, in my opinion. So I ended up mostly 'painting' on a really transparent, colourful sugar glaze.

All in all, a pretty productive weekend. At least I got the baking urge out of my system!

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