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Saturday
Dec082012

Cookie baking season is here

My absolutely favorite thing to do before the holidays is bake cookies. I have always made Christmas cookies with my family.  I have to say, Christmas means baking cookies to me.  I like to plan them, bake them, make pretty trays, and give them as gifts. Many specialty bakeries sell traditional holiday cookies for $10 a pound or more, so when John and I wrap our cookies up and give them as gifts we know they are very much appreciated.

I always start with my Springerle cookies the day after Thanksgiving.  A German heritage tradition, John’s grandmother always made them. John called them pillowcase cookies. After baking, his Grandmother Cookie placed them in a pillowcase and hung them from a hook on her sun porch. It was both cold and screened in. So lots of air circulated through the very cold cookies. I opt for packing them in a cookie tin and storing them in the fridge.

Use a flour sifter to prepare a rolling surface. Roll the dough out in narrow strips. The dough should be about ½ inch thick. Sift flour over the top of the cookie dough before using the cookie roller.  As you roll the carved roller over the dough, press hard to get a deep impression. Sifting will prevent clumps of flour from filling up the carved areas of your cookie rollers. Don’t be afraid to use quite a bit of flour. The flour will easily brush off the surface of the cookie and you will prevent the cookie dough from sticking inside all of the little carved spaces on the roller. Brush the flour from the roller before rolling with it again.

After rolling the dough, use either a knife or a decorative pastry cutter like I have used above left, to cut the cookies apart. Sprinkle anise seeds over the surface of several cookie sheets. Arrange the cookies on top of the seeds making sure that a few seeds are under each cookie. Cover loosely with clean kitchen towels. Set them aside to dry overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 18 minutes until the edges just begin to brown. Remove cookies from baking pan and place on wire racks to cool.

See how the cookies puff up like little pillows. When cool, pack the cookies in an air tight cookie tin or other storage container. Sprinkle the loose, toasted anise seed from the baking sheet over the cookies as you pack them. Keep in a cool place (like the refrigerator) for about 5 weeks. When you open the tin the fragrance of the anise and lemon will have mellowed into delicious licorice flavor. The cookies will be perfect for dunking in a mug of hot coffee.  Make extra, as this is the first cookie made and with weeks to wait, cookie thieves will be unable to resist the temptation. Enjoy!

When you give cookies as gifts, it’s nice to add a card with the recipe. You can purchase my Mrs. Cookie recipe cards at Cozy Cottage in Ft Collins, CO, or you can order them by email. Send request to SusanSchmittArt@gmail.com. Cards are $6.00 for a package of 10. Choose from 4 designs.  

I have been collecting these fabulous cookie rollers and butter stamps for many years. You might even have one and not know what the intended use is! I’ve seen new carved cookie rollers and stamps in Specialty gift shops during the holidays but my favorites ones have been found in antique stores. If you are purchasing a cookie roller look for deep carving in each picture. Don’t forget to care for the roller properly and it will last for many generations.

  • After use, brush all loose flour out of the carved area.
  • Wipe down with a damp towel.  Never submerge the rolling pin in water.
  • Don’t forget to treat your wooden kitchen tools with food safe oil that will moisturize the wood and protect them for many years to come.

 

Reader Comments (3)

I can hardly wait for a taste!

December 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJudy P

Judy, I can arrange an early tasting for you.

December 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterSusan Schmitt

lovely lovely post... I so look forward to spending time with you in ATL after our long catch up phone call tonight!!

December 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeg conley

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