Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Handmade Holiday #5: Sweet Treats

there's a reason plates of homemade cookies are passed around at this time of year; they're tasty! It might not be groundbreaking, but it always seems welcome. I've been doing a little experimenting with my favorite cookie recipe, and I have two new versions to share with you - how about a little lime and lavendar or cardamon and almonds to get your holiday started?

first off, a few things from the local co-op to round out the basics in my pantry...

And then on to cookies!

Lime and Lavendar Stars:

12 Tbl butter, softened
1/4 c. sugar
grated zest of 2 limes
1 1/2 T. lavendar buds (a good use for those dried summer herbs!)
1 egg
1-2 T. vanilla (use good Mexican vanilla if you can find it; but make sure the label says "no coumarin")
2 1/4 c. flour

extra sugar, or demerara sugar, if possible

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add zest and lavendar, blend to combine. Pour in vanilla and add egg, beat until just combined. Add flour and blend. Gather dough into a ball. Flatten slightly into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour, until firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Unwrap dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured roller. Cut into shapes, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. How thick to roll them? That's really up to you; I probably roll mine to 1/4th to 1/8th of an inch thick. Thicker cookies take a little longer to bake and their centers are ever so slightly al dente after baking. So, make them thinner if you like a really crisp cookie.

Sprinkle sugar over the tops of the cookies. These cookies aren't really sweet, so the sugar is a nice addition. I invested in some demerara sugar finally, and I am so glad - mostly because I get to use the leftover sugar in my coffee and tea and it is SO good!

Bake cookies about 10-15 min (mine actually take about 17 min), until edges are just starting to turn a faint brown. Cool on a rack, and enjoy!

next up: cardamon and almond cookies, inspired by a delicious Swedish sweet bread that I tried last week.

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