Christmas Spice Cookies

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I wasn’t sure I would get these done, but I was able to squeeze them in!   This recipe starts with a “Do Almost Anything Vanilla Dough” as the base and then you add in the Christmas spice…being cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice.

I have to start by saying everyone loved these!

I think they were intriguing to my tasters.  They appear to be sugar cookies but they are so different which catches you off guard.  These cookies are light, crisp, and bursting with spice.  I was afraid I would miss the icing since they seem like sugar cookies to me but surprisingly you don’t! There is enough flavor for them to hold their own.  (notice I found another use for my Swedish Sugar from our Tarte Tropezienne :))

The only downside I came across was dealing with the dough.  It is sticky.  You chill it either an hour in the freezer or 3 in the fridge before cutting.  That takes some timing but still doable.  The problem I came across, and would be curious if others of you had the same problem, was that as I was cutting out my shapes, the dough was quickly coming to room temp…like really quickly.  The first batch I did I couldn’t complete the cutting of my first rolled out dough.  I got smarter though afterward and worked very quickly on each batch.

I also cooked these for half the time recommended…more like 10 minutes.  All in all, I would have to say these were a sweet surprise and a nice addition to my cookie platters sent into work.

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Chocolate Truffles

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This week we made chocolate truffles…ganache bonbons made of a basic mixture of chocolate and cream.  We are told they are often rolled in cocoa powder to resemble the soil that clings to the freshly dug fungi.  I did try that…honest…but after seeing what they looked like, went a more festive approach. :).

(BTW…the mini chocolate chip one was the unanimous favorite!)

I have to tell you, although the recipe was easy, as I was rolling these truffles in my hands trying to battle quickly before they melted any worse, I was thinking to myself…I will never make these again.  I mean they were messy!…and that was after chilling them for 5 hours instead of only the 3 suggested.

On the flip side of this conversation in my head was me after sharing them…well, I guess it wasn’t that hard.  I could always chill them 24+ hours before rolling and see if that helps.

Obviously something changed my mind…

The recipe makes 36 truffles…truthfully I think you could make them even a bit smaller and get more.  I made these the night before my bible study luncheon figuring the recipe makes enough for my trusty tasters AND a luncheon.  Always a bit risky taking a new recipe somewhere before you have tried them out but I figured how could I go wrong with chocolate right?!

People RAVED about these truffles…those at the luncheon and my tasters.  They couldn’t get enough of them which is strange since they are so, so rich.  They loved them…told me they were quite possibly the best thing they had ever eaten…really??  Wow, I was starting to think maybe I will have to make these again.  After my husband had a second one, he said…are you really not going to make these again?

It looks like I am being forced to go back on my decision…I mean, how can I deprive these people of something they loved so much.  I see me rolling chocolate again in the near future…they are being requested for Christmas 🙂

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Pfefferneusse

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Pfefferneusse…which is German for “peppernut”…are a traditional spice cookie found at Christmas time. They can have an optional chocolate glaze or be sprinkled with powdered sugar.   These cookies are loaded with spices, chopped nuts, citrus zest, and freshly ground pepper.

I am not exaggerating with the spices:

  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • nutmeg
  • cardamon
  • pepper
  • dry mustard

I don’t think I have ever made cookies with dry mustard in them. The recipe tells us that it has the effect of making all the other spices sparkle.  🙂

I made half a batch of these cookies, which was plenty to share.  I think I came out with 2o.  They were easy to make and had me looking for new ingredients which is always fun…and what this is all about.  I opted to make the cookies with both toppings to see which we would prefer.  One was the simple dusting with powdered sugar and the other with the chocolate glaze.  This however is no ordinary glaze.  You start with bittersweet chocolate and then add to it the butter, but you continue adding…espresso ( I used instant coffee flakes) and then the option is to top the dipped cookies with freshly ground peppercorn.  If you look closely at the picture you can actually see it. I can’t recall ever adding pepper to a glaze on a cookie.

I couldn’t wait to try them out and also see what everyone else thought. Everyone loved the spice cookie…preferred the dusting with powdered sugar BUT everyone had something to say about the chocolate one.  It was SO interesting and different…very complex flavor with many levels to the experience.  It was weird and good at the same time.  You could really taste the chocolate and coffee flavors and then the pepper would hit you with a zing…literally!  So strange, but at the same time intriguing.  Most everyone thought they weren’t sure they liked it but ended up eating the whole cookie and changing their mind about it.  THIS is what I love about this baking group…trying out new things!!  It just never gets old! 🙂