Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Pretty Lady is not sufficiently beforehand with the world, to give everyone a free book for Christmas. So she is giving you her tried-and-true core recipes for Christmas cookies instead. Enjoy!

Gingerbread People

(This is a large recipe; feel free to halve it. One cannot halve the egg, of course, but this never seems to make any difference in Pretty Lady's cookies.)

1 cup butter ('shortening', or Crisco, was what Pretty Lady's mother used to use, but Pretty Lady is of the firm and researched opinion that butter is, against all received wisdom, actually healthier.)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses (if you use 'organic blackstrap' molasses, the cookies will be so dark as to be rather startlingly almost black, and will taste as if you perhaps forgot the sugar entirely. Fortunately Pretty Lady's family likes them this way.)
2 tbsp vinegar
5 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 to 3 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves

Thoroughly cream butter with sugar. Stir in egg, molasses, and vinegar; beat well. Sift together dry incredients; stir into molasses mixture. Chill about 3 hours. On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8" thick. Cut with gingerbread lady and gentleman cookie cutters. Place 1" apart on greased cookie sheet. Decorate with raisins for faces and buttons. Bake at 375 degrees, 5 to 6 minutes. Cool slightly; remove to rack and cool. Makes 5 dozen 4" cookies.

Apricot-Almond Balls

1 pound dried apricots
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
finely grated rind of 1 orange
1 cup minced, blanched almonds
sifted confectioners sugar and sweetened, grated coconut for dredging

Put apricots through food processor on 'chop.' Place in the top of double boiler, set over just boiling water, and mix in sugar, orange juice, and rind. Cook, stirring now and then, for 1/2 hour; mix in nuts and cook 5 minutes longer. Cool in pan until just slightly warm, then drop from a teaspoon into confectioners sugar and coconut and shape into 1" balls. When all balls have been shaped, roll again in confectioners sugar. Store airtight.

Bourbon Balls

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate bits
3 tbsp honey
1/2 cup bourbon ('or light cream' says the recipe. Hmph.)
2 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (this is almost a whole box, with enough left over for snacking. Pulverize them in the food processor, preferably before you do the apricots.)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans are best)

Melt chocolate over hot water. Add honey and bourbon. Combine vanilla wafer crumbs, powdered sugar and nuts. Add chocolate mixture (if cream is used, add 1/2 tsp vanilla. As if.) Let stand 30 minutes. Shape into 1" balls. Roll in powdered sugar. Let ripen in covered container at least 3 days. (This last almost never happens. Pretty Lady made hers yesterday.)


The Aardvark said...

Thank you so much, PL.

We shall enjoy these. You are a dear.

A blessed and merry to you!

Desert Cat said...

I'm into the first chapter of said book and it has my interest so far.

But thank you too for some more recipes to try next Christmas.

Crom said...

PL -

May the full blessings and bounty of this Christmas season be yours for the asking. May you find fortune, love and the peace you seek.


Chris Rywalt said...

I made these latkes on Christmas Eve and they totally ruled.

heidi said...

I had those latkes myself on the 2nd night Hanukkah. A wonderful recipe and a funny one too. :)