21 December 2009

Christmas Cookie Adventures

Yesterday, I spent nearly eight hours making Christmas cookies. The first four hours were really fun; the last four hours were not fun at all. Ah, well.

The Good: Cranberry Pinwheels and Ginger and Molasses CookiesThese pinwheels were the surprise of the day and my favorite of the lot by a lot. The ginger and molasses cookies both turned out well, though it's hard to tell them apart by color. Mmmmmm!

The pinwheels seemed complicated but ended up being worth the time. The dough, which includes orange peel, is rolled into a thin "square" and then covered with the cranberry, sugar, pecan filling. Then it's rolled, chilled, and sliced before baking. They tend to cook more evenly the thinner they're sliced. Look out for lots of varieties of pinwheels next year!

The Bad: Sugar CookiesWhen I got the dough out of the refrigerator, it was nearly frozen...so I let it thaw. By the time I got around to rolling it out, it was so soft that it was impossible to cut and lift. I was particularly disappointed because we were given these awesome kiwi- and New Zealand-shaped cookie cutters for the wedding, and I was excited about giving out NZ Christmas cookies. Only one Kiwi survived, and his little beak ended up burned. At least the boring, round cookies taste good. :-)

The Ugly: Buckeyes
Growing up, I loved buckeyes, but my mom rarely made them. After my frustrating experience yesterday, I totally understand. I used this recipe (with extra peanut butter because it was so dry), but I did not freeze the balls. Strike one: crumbling balls of peanut butter. Strike two: impossible chocolate and lack of double boiler. Good thing I didn't keep going long enough to get a third strike and give up forever!

Any guesses on which cookies were made during the first four hours and which were made during the second four hours?

This evening, George and I took some containers of cookies to a few of our neighbors. I got a real kick out of the various responses, all indicators of life in the 'burbs. One neighbor either wasn't home or didn't answer the door. Another neighbor's teenage son answered the door and was shocked when we identified ourselves as the immediate next door neighbors. A third neighbor was really surprised by the cookies and very pleased to meet us. It's sad that we don't really know our neighbors, aside from the occasional wave, even after living here for nearly three years. Perhaps this will open up an opportunity to get to know those who live (literally) feet away from us. Who knew that cookies could be so powerful?!

Note: I linked the recipes above. The pinwheel, sugar, and ginger cookies came from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. The molasses cookies came from the McCormick gingerbread whoopie pie recipe. The buckeye one was a random online recipe.

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