Monday, December 10

A Simple Christmas : For the Cook

A Simple Christmas may seem a little bit of an oxymoron for the cook!

But I enjoy cooking and baking (a lot), so it wouldn't seem like Christmas to me if I didn't do a fair amount of baking.  It's kind of sad that most of the people I know (with a couple of exceptions) claim "they don't like to cook."

But for those that is my favorite cookie recipe.  I've been making these since I was a teenager, and they are good:

Iced Butter Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (the real stuff, not imitation)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Cream the butter and sugar together until creamy and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, blend well. Add the flour. The dough should come together in a big ball or mass of dough.

Place in plastic wrap (I shape it into a thick frisbee shape) and chill at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Roll out half of dough at a time, use favorite cookie cutters to make shapes, place on un-greased baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees about 10 to 12 minutes or until just turning golden around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool completely before icing.

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablspoons water
food coloring (optional)

Mix together in a bowl.  Ice cookies!  This makes a sort-of off-white icing color.  You can add a few drops of food coloring to make different colors, if you like.  I just make the off-white color, I like it.  I've considered getting some natural food coloring (India Tree makes little kits just like the conventional ones), but haven't gotten around to it.

Depending on the size cookie cutter you use, you can get anywhere from 4 to 6 dozen cookies from one batch. I made two batches and got about 12 dozen.

If you have a cook on your gift list, here are a few ideas :

Top : Psalm Cutting Board, from ExquisiteInks

Middle : Personalized Labels, from LittlebeaneBoutique
Gourmet salt sampler, from Craig's Market
Rustic Craft Designs' Wood Butter
MidTown Olive Press' Infused Olive Oils

Bottom : Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food
Komo Grain Mill
Earth to Table, Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm

And if you are interested in fermented foods and priobiotics, Cultures for Health is a great resource.

What are your favorite cooking tools and supplies?

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