Please Note: This picture was taken about half an hour after my mother arrived Friday night and NOT after spending an entire weekend on the fringe. Enough said.
Please remember to tell ‘grandma’ that you enjoy seeing her featured, because she she fought me for this picture. I just couldn’t imagine NOT using it. It’s not often I get a perfect photo.
I really wanted to post this weekend, but I got sidetracked. Friday was the start of Hanukkah and FringeKid sang us a lovely Hanukkah song. Although we are not Jewish, my children wish we were. They love the music and playing with a dreidel ranks high on their list of favorite things to do, not to mention the allure of getting a present everyday.
So, for my Jewish friends…
We had a fun few days that began with a town wide Christmas celebration. Santa arrived bright and early on a frigid Saturday morning that required long-johns and hats for all. Something happens when the temperature drops below twenty degrees that makes you look lovely in hat hair. In fact, I don’t think my mother shed her long-johns the entire weekend. When she began shivering in church on Sunday, I leaned over and suggested that she should have worn her long-johns. With a sideways look, she slightly lifted her pants leg and I knew she was teetering on the edge of antiquity. How will I ever keep her warm when she reaches sixty, seventy, or eighty?
I am still waiting for a phone call to find out who has been crowned cookie queen; however, I no longer expect to be wearing my crown around town. There were cookies so fabulous I suspect they were baked in the North Pole and delivered by Rudolph himself. FringeMan says when most of the town looks like Aunt Bee, you can expect them to bake a good cookie.
I chose my cookie recipe based on flavors that I equate with the holidays and the cost of ingredients; however, if you are ever in need a prize-winning cookie recipe, just ask. You guys sent me recipes that knocked my socks off, made my mouth water, and my hips swell. Thank you Gabriela for single-handedly ensuring I run a hundred miles this year! I am already planning on using one of your recipes for next years competition.
Here’s the recipe for these cherry & almond cookies. I added green food dye to the icing just to kick my festive mood of jolly up a notch.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries (see Cook’s Note)
1/2 cup slivered, blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (see Cook’s Note)
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons water, plus extra, as needed
For the Cookies:
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, and salt until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in the egg. Add the flour and beat on the lowest speed until just blended. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dried cherries and almonds.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a log, about 12-inches long and 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Dough can be made up to 3 days in advance).
Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut the log crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Transfer the dough slices to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges and puffed, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before icing, about 30 minutes.
For the Icing:
Put the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the vanilla extract and water, adding more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes a drizzling consistency. (Makes about 2/3 cups icing, enough to ice both variations.)
Put the cooled cookies on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Using a spoon or a fork, drizzle the cookies with the icing, allowing any excess icing to drip onto the baking sheet. Allow the icing to set before serving, about 1 hour.
I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. Did you do anything exciting?