Is it too early to start Christmas?? Not that I don't love all of fall and Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie--'cause I sure do! But I'm thinking about my mother's Spitzbuben christmas cookies today. I'm going to try to reproduce them this Christmas. I've checked out a couple recipes but one uses ground almonds, which she never used in her baking, and the other uses confectioner's sugar, which I'm sure she didn't use in those cookies. So I'll be searching for Spitzbuben's like Mama's. I used to bake bushels of Christmas cookies many years ago just for us because it was Christmas and we had to have lots and lots of cookies. I don't make as many now but I want them to be special and festive--not a cookie you can have everyday. Gingerbread is one of my favorites and can be baked ahead of time and frozen or just stored in sealed tins. I'm not starting quite yet, but this year I plan to begin trying new recipes right after Halloween before the serious Christmas preparations begin. Of course, Reinhart's Panettone and Stollen will be part of our holidays this year. I'll share the recipes I like here.
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1-1/2 cups mild flavored molasses (you can use dark if you like)
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix shortening and sugar well. Blend in the molasses. Stir in water. Mix the dry ingredients and add them to the mixture. Chill the dough for at least an hour--overnight if you like.
Heat oven to 350 deg. Roll out dough on floured board. This is a sticky dough so keep flour on the board and rolling pin. Cut out with cookie cutters and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. They will spread some--don't put them too close together. Bake 10-12 min or until there is almost no imprint when you touch them lightly. Don't overbake or they will become hard. Ice cooled cookies. These keep well if frozen or stored in an airtight cookie tin. The flavor and texture improve in a day or two.
Icing for cookies:
1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 Tbsp. cream
Blend all ingredients. If too thin, add more sugar. If too thick, add more cream. Decorate cookies with an icing bag or cookie decorator. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I have an adult pair of socks on my needles now. I'm using some of the yarn I bought in Baltimore. If you check my previous blog, it's the multicolored yarn at the front. They should look good running through the autumn leaves while we're waiting for Christmas, don't you think??