It’s that time of year, isn’t it? That rush-about-hustle-bustle-get-everything-done-on-time time of year, and it’s more that than it ever has been here. A week ago, I was in bed recovering from knee surgery, and today, a week later, feeling pretty good about my physical therapy session today. Christmas is in how many days?
Now that I think of it, we have few worries. One of the perks of being an empty nester with three adult sons who aren’t married is having very little Christmas shopping to do. We can actually think about strolling around this next weekend — maybe with one crutch in tow — enjoying ourselves, mulling over one choice for a present or another, taking advantage of the deals not available even a few weeks ago, and afterward treating ourselves to dinner somewhere with a crackling fire. Yule Log on a flat screen would be more the reality around here, and I’d settle for that considering it’s supposed to rain this weekend.
On the other hand, I’ve been too leisurely about posting my second recipe for the Cookies We Love Challenge featuring sweets from Saveur’s “Smart Cookies: Favorite Holiday Treats from Around the World.”
The first treat I made, Caramel Crumb Bars from New Zealand, disappeared fairly quickly, so they’ll be tough to top. Because of my semi-ambulatory state, I settled for an easy to whip up recipe from Mexico next: Galletas con Conchitos or Cookies with Sprinkles which could be made any time of the year, actually — especially if you are a busy person in desperate need of a tasty butter cookie, or someone with children who like to be involved in baking.
Mine were baked one evening, wrapped the next morning, and mailed to my son in San Francisco along with quite a few other holiday teeth rotting treats to share with his dorm buddies. Or is it resident hall acquaintances? No matter. They won’t care if any of it is in one piece when it arrives, but I always ask.
Mexican Butter Cookies
1-1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. sugar
8 T unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract, preferably Mexican*
3 egg yolks
1 egg white, lightly beaten
multicolored sprinkles, for decorating
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl, beat sugar, butter, and vanilla until fluffy, then add egg yolks one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Scoop a generous tablespoon of the dough from the bowl and roll into a ball. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and using the end of a wooden spoon, poke a hole in center of each ball. Chill for 1 hour. While the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 300°. Brush each ring with egg white, then dip into sprinkles to coat. Return to baking sheets; bake for 15 minutes. Let cool. Makes about two dozen galletas.
- The directions above are mine. I decided to cut to the chase and avoid the whole rolling into a log, then cutting, then rolling, then cutting. The tablespoon works.
- What doesn’t work — at least for me — is the sprinkles. I’ve never made cookies before where the sprinkles go on before they’re baked. Interesting. Clearly, the jimmies weren’t the best idea.
- I chilled my dough for the entire hour. Maybe even longer. Regardless, I had spreadage. I hate that. Can someone please put me out of my misery on this? I know it’s the water content in the butter, isn’t it? Anyway, the very deep hole I poked into each ball flattened out almost entirely. Go figure.
- The low baking temperature is also interesting. I used a non-convection oven for exactly 15 minutes and they didn’t look quite done — pale in color and very soft. My husband said they were, mumbling through a mouthful of warm cookie. Buttery cookie. Try and stop with just one even though they’re not as cute as you’d like them to be.
- The Caramel Crumb Bars are still in the lead.
Don’t forget to stop by my holiday baking buddies who are most likely on cookie No. 3 by now. Courtney of Coco Cooks, Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, Michelle of Big Black Dogs, RJ of Flamingo Musings, Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench, and Tiffany of The Nesting Project.