At this time of year in particular, when stopping by to visit the site of someone who lives in a more northern region of the country, I’m often indulged with engaging scenes and descriptions of wintery weather. Narratives filled with tantalizing visions of powdery snow, icicles glistening in the morning light, and brightly colored birds flashing through bare trees lull me into a mood that has me wanting to cozy up with a good book and a hot cup of anything I can get my hands on.
The reverie lasts only briefly as I cast my gaze out the window to see a bright blue sky punctuated by wispy clouds, brilliant green foliage on trees and shrubs, camellias in full bloom, and sea gulls pacing about, waiting for a morning snack. Those of us who choose to don a scarf most likely do so to make some sort of fashion statement, or to convince ourselves that it truly is December and that as much as we might be a bit chilly in the early morning, by noon, it will be a pleasant 70 degrees.
It makes good sense, then, to consider that snowmen cookies are one way to enjoy the season. They’re a soft bite of spice that just might surprise you and are guaranteed not to melt on a sunny day.
I’m not sure what it is about mint, but it’s never been one of my favorite flavors. I could blame it on the Junior Mints I ate too many of one afternoon in at a matinee when I was a kid. But then again, it might have been the time that my grandparents took us to Howard Johnson’s to have ice cream and I chose a double scoop of peppermint and apple streudel which, if you think the way I now do, don’t exactly go well with one another. Sadly, those cheerful red and white hard candy disks never quite appealed to me and just the thought of York Peppermint patties made my teeth ache. Mint tea has no appeal whether I’m under the weather or not, and mint juleps remind me of cough medicine.
Mention Girl Scouts’ Thin Mints, however, and you’ll have my undivided attention. It has to be the crunch. These holiday cookies may not be Thin Mints, but they come very, very close.
I’ll have to give them a good dunk in the chocolate next time instead of making a big mess slinging chocolate all over my kitchen.
Each year that the holiday cookie spreads come out in food magazines, the Linzer cookies catch my eye. Most often, they appear in bar form, constructed on a sheet pan, spread with jam, covered with a lattice top, and perhaps sprinkled with powdered sugar. Thinking about the attraction now, it was the pastry that caught my attention, and when I made them, they were always a favorite.
With that interest, I chose Hazelnut Linzer Cookies as my first choice for our holiday bake fest. Although nothing like the Linzertorte I’ve enjoyed in the past, these cookies are a pleasant combination of nutty crunch and sweet, tart jam.
If they’re so satisfying and the first to be baked, why not the first to be shared? My notes tell the story.
This is my last official 12 Days of Cookies entry, finished a week behind my other cookie-baking buddies: Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench, Courtney of Coco Cooks, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, and Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants. And you’d think I’d be completely done with all cookies after this marathon, but I agreed to baking a few more for a good friend’s party yesterday.
I think it’s fitting that these flourless bites of chocolate and almonds found their way onto her big cookie platter, don’t you?
One of Gourmet’s Favorite Cookies from December 1994, Heart-Shaped Chocolate Almond Spice Cookies, or “Basler Brunsli” are a pleasant shift from the norm both in taste, ingredients, and preparation for me. The “dough” is predominantly nuts and chocolate with egg whites and sugar. A food processor makes the prep simple.
Yesterday I was a baking maniac, working to finish working on the remainder of my 12 Days of Cookies, belatedly. With our bedroom in decent order, and the family room beginning to resemble a place where we can relax again, I was able to put in a full day while the resident hunkster kept one eye on the television and football, and worked through his honey-do list — laundry included.
I asked my 16-year-old to design some faces for Gingerbread Men, one of Gourmet’s Favorite Cookies from December 1959. Of course you’d never find gingerbread men looking like this in the time of “Leave it to Beaver,” so I’m thinking Gingerdoodz would be more appropriate.
Well, except for the one I designed.
He’s a bit on the happy side…or just plain loopey. After all, no one sane would wear an outfit like that, would they? Definitely a candidate for “What Not to Wear.”
But every group needs a cheerleader, right?