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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

Last week I took these cookies to my neighbor's Cookie Exchange and I wanted to share the recipe. These cookies are a family favorite, with the recipe coming from an old Better Homes and Gardens magazine that featured my father-in-law's cousin, Winnifred Jardine. Winnifred was an amazing cook who had a regular cooking column in the newspaper. I've taken her original recipe and "kicked it up a notch" by dipping it in white chocolate. Either plain or dipped they are the perfect Christmas cookie, soft, chewy and full of holiday spices!

The ingredients - flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, butter, sugar, an egg and molasses.
The process is like any regular drop cookie - cream butter with the sugar, add the egg and molasses and beat well. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix until well combined.

 Roll dough into balls and dip or roll in sugar. I like to use sanding sugar, the crystals are a bit bigger.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

 Let cookies cool completely, then melt a bag of white chocolate chips acccording to package.

Dip each cookie into the white chocolate and place on a 
sil-pat or wax paper to dry.

 These package up beautifully for gift giving- 
if they last that long!

Big Soft Ginger Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter at room temp
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbsp sugar

Combine flour, ginger, soda, cinnamon. cloves salt; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Slowly add flour mixture and combine thoroughly.
Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in additional sugar. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until light brown and puffed. (Do not over bake!)
Cool completely on rack. If desired, dip into melted white chocolate and cool until set.
Makes 2 dozen large cookies.

I like to join these parties
                   Seasonal Sundays @ The Tablescaper

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Cookie Exchange

Last night my friend Sandra hosted a Christmas cookie exchange.  She selected just a few friends whom she knows love to bake and asked us each to bring 7 dozen cookies. What fun it was to see the different cookies everyone brought! 
 I baked White Chocolate dipped Ginger Cookies (I'll share the recipe in another post).

 15 Year old Avery made these Peppermint Macarons. This girl is an amazing young baker!

There were Thumbprint cookies with candied fruit,

 and stacks of Snickerdoodles - my husband's favorite.

Jeni baked Salted Caramel and Chocolate Shortbread.

 Traditional Chocolate Crinkles.

 I'm not sure what these are called , but they are layered with chocolate, almond and raspberry flavors. Yum!

Ruth brought her huge Chocolate Oatmeal Pecan cookies with dried cherries

We nibbled on mulled punch,  

"snowmen" doughnuts,  

and German Lebkucken. 

Sandra loves to decorate for the Holidays. She and her husband lived in Germany while in the military and she has an amazing collection of European ornaments.

The attendees all packaged their cookies so beautifully, ready for gift giving or serving for our own holiday gatherings.

There were lots of smiles and hugs as we packaged up our treats to take home! 

Tips on hosting a successful cookie exchange

1-Choose friends whom you know love to bake.
2-Choose a date early in the season before the calender is full. Most cookies freeze easily so you will then have treats on hand for parties or gift giving.
3-Coordinate with the guests so everyone brings a different cookie. Each guest brings as many dozen cookies as they will take home. 
4-Keep the guest list to a manageable number, I would recommend 12 or fewer.
5 -Serve a few samples! 
6 - It's nice to share recipes too.
7- Ask guests to package their baked goods in easily transportable but attractive containers. (I think it's much nicer to have cookies pre-packaged and ready to take home instead of open plates that everyone is handling!)
8- Provide boxes or bags for guests to take their goodies home in.

A cookie exchange is such a nice way to start the Christmas season. My pantry is stocked and ready when friends and neighbors drop in !

I like to join these parties

                 Seasonal Sundays @ The Tablescaper

Thursday, October 30, 2014

French Sidewalk Cafes

The weather in Arizona has turned to fall, which means it's finally time to be outdoors - biking, hiking, gardening, and dining. Our time in France this past summer taught us that the French LOVE dining al fresco, in fact, it seems mandatory! Every street, every neighborhood has restaurants with an outdoor cafe. Our choir group had a photo contest to see who could take the best shot of a sidewalk cafe. What a fun challenge! Enjoy...

          Trust me, we didn't forget to enjoy the cuisine!

      All of these photos were taken by myself or members of the Sonoran Desert Chorale.

                                                I like to join these parties

                  Seasonal Sundays @ The Tablescaper