by Phoenix Trent
When a light dusting of pristine white snow coats our Valley, it means one thing for my family and me . . . Christmas cookies. Nothing beats a warm cookie just out of the oven after a long day of snowball fights, sledding, and snow angels. Mind bogglingly delicious, these traditional gingerbread and almond crescents also make the perfect gift; just gingerly wrap them in parchment paper, and bring an extra dose of joy to your friends and family!
The Perfect Holiday Gingerbread Cookie:
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 lightly beaten egg
5 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup unsalted melted butter
Begin by preheating the oven to 350º and gently sifting together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside dry ingredients, and begin to combine the beaten egg, sugar, molasses, buttermilk, and melted butter in a mixing bowl. Add sifted dry ingredients gradually, stirring to blend until completely smooth. Mold into a patty, wrap in plastic, and allow to sit in fridge for three-four hours. Finish by rolling out the dough on a flat surface with a little bit of flour to avoid sticking. Cut into fun shapes with a cookie cutter of your choosing and carefully place onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until perfectly golden brown.
Packed with all the delicious spices that churn up childhood memories, gingerbread is the classic American holiday cookie. They look great when decorated with royal icing and pearl-sized candies of your choice, but don’t be afraid to go ahead and take a bite out of one of these bad boys au naturel.
Grandma Trent’s Crescent Cookies:
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Begin by preheating the oven to 350º and grinding the nuts, flour and salt in a food processor until very fine. Next, combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar, butter, almond, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the nut mixture and mix together with the wet ingredients until completely blended. Allow the mixture to chill in the fridge for about an hour.
For the baking portion, begin by buttering two large baking sheets. For each cookie, roll one tablespoon of batter into a cylinder and pinch at end to properly taper. Form the cylinders into a crescent shape on the baking sheet and allow to bake until the bottoms are perfectly golden brown, which should take about 15 minutes. Finish by gently sifting the remaining quarter cup of powdered sugar over the cookies.
Lightly dusted in powdered sugar, these lunar-inspired cookies go perfectly with a cup of tea on a cold winter morning or alongside a hearty scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for a post-dinner treat. Making these with my grandmother in her divinely aromatic kitchen are memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. So, go ahead and start your own holiday-inspired family tradition with these recipes from VISITvortex!