At last, the running around was over. It is cold outside, a thin crust of snow covers the landscape, not enough to ski or snow shoe, just to look good for Christmas. It’s been a race through advent time this year, and any Holiday spirit seemed not to come up. Today at last there was time to set up an improvised advent wreath and bake at least one batch of holiday cookies.
For the cookies, I adapted the soft cookie recipe for a Christmassy version --- gingerbread flavored with pine nuts, pecans and white chocolate chips. They are soft, chewy and elicit a feeling of holiday festivity.
Gingerbread soft cookies
- 1 stick unsalted butter, soften
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 TB maple syrup
- 1 TB organic molasses
- 2 teaspoons ground dry ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- zest of 1/2 orange
- 2 TB milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and electric hand mixer), cream together the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla extract, maple syrup, molasses and all the spices on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda and pudding mix.
- Put speed on low, and slowly added the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute; don't overmix.
- Toast the pine nuts and pecan in a dry pan for a few minutes (watch it!)
- Add the white chocolate chips, toasted pine nuts and pecans to the batter and mix until just incorporated.
- Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Using a small ice cream scoop, (or any size of ice cream scoop you like based on the size of the cookies you would like to make) form heaping 1 – 1 1/2 –tablespoon sized mounds and place mounds on baking sheet (ca. 8 cookies per cookie sheet)
- Press mounds slightly flat, and press 3 additional pine nuts on top of the cookie dough ball.
- Bake for about 12 minutes.
- Do not overbake since the cookies will firm up as they cool. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for about at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooking.
A real advent sitdown with home-baked cookies.