Friday, December 11, 2009


It doesn't happen often that I'm at loss for words, spoken or written. Could it be because I have a sensory block from all the food around me? Professors have been dropping off (right next to my desk!) doughnuts, pastries, and other goodies not completely consumed by their students on this last day of classes. I had to slice off a little piece of some irresistible braided pastry filled with raspberry and iced with frosting, candied cherries on top. This thing just looks like Christmas. I went to a jewelry party at lunch and there were cookies and cheese and crackers, then I went to lunch (had a salad). I found myself stumped today, almost overwhelmed by the abundance of holiday recipes and not knowing where to go. I'm a culinary deer-in-the-headlights so I went for help. I asked my facebook friends to tell me which holiday food means the most to them. Tom mentioned a spiral ham, but I've written about ham before. Thank you to Megan Mercier who loudly proclaimed "SNICKERDOODLES!" ... I hope to get many more ideas so fb friends, give me what you've got!

OK, here we go. I have been suggested the penultimate Christmas Cookie, so I went to the mountain for the recipe. Believe it or not, these are not in my cookie repertoire (yet) so I had to look to the most trusted source: The Food Network's Gale Gand offers us this version, which rates five full stars (the highest honor possible) from the 135 cookie lovers who evaluated this recipe. Clearly, people are passionate about their food memories and the warm feelings these cookies elicit during the holiday season. I expect they'll take their place among my family's favorites. The same may happen for you.

SNICKERDOODLES (Gale Gand, The Food Network)

* 3 1/2 cups flour

* 1 tablespoon baking powder

* 2 teaspoons baking soda

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

* 1 cup butter

* 2 cups sugar

* 2 eggs

* 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

* 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

To make the cookie dough, stir together the dry ingredients.

In a bowl with a paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add the sugar and continue to mix, then add the eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla, and mix thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Chill dough 1 hour if it's sticky or difficult to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll balls of dough about the size of a walnut then roll them in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Place on an ungreased sheet pan 2 1/2 inches apart.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until puffed up and the surface is slightly cracked. Let cool on the sheet pan a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

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