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    Entries in cinnanananom (20)


    Cookies for Santa's Spicy Side

    With Santa coming this weekend, it’s definitely time to start thinking about cookies.  So many people put out super sweet sugar cookies, or rich chocolate chip ones, sometimes he needs a change of pace.  Let’s serve him up something that will wake up his taste buds.  My spicy oatmeal cookies are crisp around the edges, chewy in the middle, and filled with a warm blend of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg.  A delight for anyone who might find themselves placing presents under the tree a few short hours before Christmas dawn.   

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    ½ cup butter, softened
    ¾ cups sugar
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1 cup flour
    1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
    1 teaspoon cardamom
    ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
    1 ½ cups rolled oats

    Cookie dough comes together fairly quickly, so go ahead and preheat your oven to 375° before you begin.  As with most cookie recipes, this one starts by creaming together the butter and sugar.  Be sure to scrape down the bowl at least once.

    When that’s done, add the egg and vanilla.

    Beat those together until they are fully incorporated. 

    That’s it for the wet ingredients, so now for the dry.  Sift together all the dry ingredients except the oats.  Yes, I know you don’t have cardamom on hand, and yes I know it’s expensive.  But we’re talking about Santa here.  I mean, with all the cookies he eats on the big night, you want yours to be memorable, don’t you?  Not interested in impressing Santa, or really can’t get your hands on some cardamom?  I suppose you could replace it with ½ teaspoon of ground ginger, but it won’t be the same.    

    If they end up looking like this,

    Just whisk them together before adding them to the wet ingredients.

    Don’t over mix once the flour goes in, but make sure you do get everything incorporated. 

    It’ll be quite soft for cookie dough, but that’s ok because a bunch of oats are going in.

    Stir those in and the dough is done. 

    Line a sheet pan or cookie sheet with parchment if you want easy cleanup and easy cookie removal.  Now, usually in the world of cookies, I prefer small ones.  However, with these, I think the texture is better when they’re a bit larger.  Basically just scoop a big spoonful. 

    Mine is probably about 2 Tablespoons, if I had to guess.  This dough is a bit sticky, so I’m not sure how well a cookie scoop would work here, but if you have one the right size, have at it.  Me?  I just scrape the dough off of the spoon with my finger. 

    I know it’s not pretty, but it won’t matter after a trip into the oven.  Just make sure you leave plenty of space between them and try to get them relatively the same size. 

    Into the oven for 12 – 15 minutes.  They should be just barely starting to brown on top and around the edges. 

    They might look a little wet in the cracks, but that’s ok.  This is perfect. 

    Allow them to cool on the pan for 2 minutes and then move them to a cooling rack.  (if you have one)

    So there you go, Santa.  A cookie that’s not covered in icing and artificial colors or filled with chocolate.  Enjoy! 

    Santa sent my gift a little early this year, via UPS.  A KitchenAid food processor!!  I’d call it the Ferrari of kitchen gadgets, but with its size, I think Cadillac might be more fitting.  I’m sure I’ll be showcasing it sometime in the near future.  Now I just have to find a place to put it. 

    What do you want Santa to put under your tree this year?



    Eggnog Cinnamon Swirl Scones!  Mmmm...

    Eggnog is, without a doubt, one of my favorite things about this time of year.  Sweet, spicy, creamy… I just love the stuff.  The fact that you can’t get it the rest of the year just makes me look forward to it even more.  So, now that eggnog season is in full swing, I plan to take full advantage.  First up, eggnog cinnamon swirl scones.  Growing up in Utah, scones were big pieces of fried dough served with honey butter.  So for my friends and family from there, let me explain that these are not those.  To the rest of the world, scones are much more like biscuits.  (Don’t even get me started on the whole British biscuits are cookies thing.)  Anyway, no more time wasted discussing the name, let’s get started. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    2 ¾ cups flour
    ⅓ cup sugar
    1 Tablespoon  baking powder
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    ½ cup butter (1 stick)
    1 egg
    ¾ cups eggnog
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 Tablespoon cinnamon

    For the icing:

    ¼ cup powdered sugar
    1 Tablespoon eggnog

    The first thing you need to do is cut your cold butter into little cubes.

    Next comes the flour.  Now, I tend to have the Food Network on for background noise quite a bit, and so often I see whoever is on measuring flour all wrong.  It drives me nuts.  I mean, how did they get through culinary school not know how to do such a simple thing?  So, that being said, I’m going to show you the proper way to do it, just in case you’ve been corrupted by the tv chefs.  Fluff your flour a bit, and then spoon it into your measuring cup. 

    Scooping with the measuring cup packs it in and makes the measurement inaccurate.  So, once you have it mounded nicely, take the back of a butter knife, or whatever you have that’s straight, and scrape off the excess.  (obviously you want to do this over your flour container rather than the bar, but with only two hands, some pictures are impossible) 

    See?  One nicely measured cup of flour. 

    So, once you’ve got your flour measured, whisk it together with the sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg, and throw the butter cubes in.

    Mix until moist, crumbly looking. 

    Measure your eggnog, then add the egg and vanilla.  Use a really good eggnog, it makes a huge difference in the end result.  You want one that is very thick and creamy and with a high fat content.

    Mix well, and pour over the dry ingredients.

    Mix the ingredients just until they come together. 

    It’ll look like a bit of a mess, but don’t worry.  Just scrape it all out onto a floured surface. 

    Flatten it out just a bit and sprinkle over a tablespoon of cinnamon.  Yes, I know that sounds like a lot, but trust me on this one.  Oh, and get some fresh cinnamon.  If you have a place that sells it in bulk, that's a good way to go.  You can smell how fresh it is, and also only buy how much you need. 

    Knead the dough a few times just to create a swirled effect. 

    Isn’t that cool?  Ok, now divide the dough in half and roll it into 2 circles.  They  should be 6 or 7 inches across and about ¾ of an inch thick. 

    See, swirly!  Sorry, it doesn’t take much to make me happy when dealing with eggnog and cinnamon.  Using a pizza wheel, or a large knife if you prefer, cut the dough into 6 wedges. 

    Transfer all 12 pieces to a parchment lined sheet pan or cookie sheet, spreading them apart just slightly. 

    Now, place the pan into the freezer for 30 minutes.  After 15 minutes, turn your oven on to 400°.  I know some ovens say they only take like 5 minutes to preheat, but trust me, it’ll cook a lot more evenly if you give it more time.  So, after the 30 minutes is up, pull the scones out.  I chose to freeze half of mine for later.  If you want to do that, throw them into a ziplock bag and back into the freezer.

    When you’re ready to eat them, just pull them out and follow the instructions from this point, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time if necessary.  Brush the scones with a little bit of eggnog. 

    It won’t take much to get a nice coating. 

    I know they don’t look terribly fabulous yet, but put them into the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, and look what happens. 

    The oven is seriously a miracle machine.  They should be nice and brown, and when you pull them apart they should be moist cake like. 

    If they are doughy, they need a few more minutes.  Otherwise, move them to a cooling rack to cool for a few minutes while you make the glaze… icing?  Whatever you want to call it.  If you’re having them for breakfast, we’ll call it glaze.  If they’re for dessert, we’ll make it sound more indulgent and call it icing.  Either way, measure out ¼ cup of powdered sugar and add 1 tablespoon of eggnog. 

    Stir until it’s smooth and looks drizzle-able. 

    I like to put the scones back onto the parchment to drizzle it on. 

    Serve with your favorite coffee or a glass of milk.

    Crispy on the outside.  Warm and soft on the inside, with cinnamon that changes in intensity with every bite.   The eggnog flavor is somewhat subtle, but it’s there.  And then there’s the icing that follows when you lick it off your lips.  Ok, I seem to have a bit of an infatuation with these.  You can of course just pick it up and bite it, but I prefer to use a fork.  Icing makes for sticky fingers. 

    See the cinnamon swirling through there?  Nice. 

    What’s your favorite holiday treat?   


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