Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Baking, Part 1

Baking is one of my favorite holiday traditions, in addition to one of my favorite adolescent activities, and more recently a way of convincing non-Americans that American baked goods do not in fact suck like the nastiness you can buy at the big chain grocery store.

The two cookies that make Christmas for me are Sand Tarts and Oatmeal cookies, which we've made ever since I was little.  The Oatmeal cookies are taken from the Quaker Oats recipe (which makes this Quaker a little grumpy as seeing that box also brings back memories of being teased about funny clothing, television, and horses as a child (um, we're not Amish)).  However, sometime during the Craisin Craze in the 90's, I decided that craisins would be a good substitute for raisins, and they have remained my favorite cookie ever since.

In addition to the staple cookies, I usually make a chip cookie and a spice cookie of some sort.  This year, my father requested Black Forest Cookies, which are basically chocolate chip cookies with dried unsweetened tart cherries (mail order in these parts).  Very tasty, although I would probably use an equal chocolate to cherry ratio, rather than slightly more chocolate.

Finally, my husband picked a ginger cookie recipe off the internet, and we finished off today's baking with that.  They're tasty, although I prefer a spicier cookie.

In addition to baking, I finished two transcriptions! Only five more to go! What a successful day!


  1. Looks lovely! How do you get spicier ginger cookies, exactly? Is it just a matter of how much ginger you use, or do you need a sprinkling of other spices to bring out the snap?

  2. You can increase the amount or increase the number of spices. The standard mix is ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. You can add more of these, or you can add other spices (typically nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper). The recipe I used is here, and I would probably start by increasing the ginger: