Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Countdown: Day 5 Baked Delights!

I love to bake... Some of my best childhood memories surround baking and the homemade cookies that were in my lunch kit daily. Christmas meant cookies at our house - and homemade chocolates. When I was six, my mom worked part time in a craft store so cake decorating, chocolate making and Christmas crafts were part of the fantastic memory building every child needs! Some might say I go a little overboard... Considering I didn't actually start making cookies until I met my husband (I decided cookies were far too much effort for such a small reward), I have gotten rather efficient at making them! Over the years, I've narrowed down my Christmas baking to a few key things... Whipped shortbread, Pippakarka and Ginger Sparklers are the top "must haves" in our house... Although I'm quite certain that my husband would not protest if I only made ginger sparklers... I don't know when I first made them for him - I think it was after we moved to our house (maybe that first Christmas here) but he ate himself silly on them. They are his favourite cookie (after my chocolate chocolate chip cookie) but because I only make them at Christmas, they get scooped up quickly! Pippakarka is Swedish for gingerbread - it is a traditional recipe from my maternal grandmother. Although it really isn't anyone's favourite, it just doesn't seem like Christmas to me if I don't make a batch! The whipped shortbread was a recipe I got from a dear friend. My husband likes shortbread but prefers a buttery one instead of the lighter, cookier version I grew up making. I'm excited to share these with you - I hope you and your family enjoy them just as much as we do!

Whipped Shortbread
1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

Add all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixed until well blended. Continue to beat for five minutes. Roll into small balls and depress with 1/2 a maraschino cherry or depress slightly with fork tines and sprinkle with coloured sugar. Bake at 375 degrees Farhenheit for 10 minutes or until golden.

1 cup white or brown sugar
1 cup margarine
1 cup Roger's Golden Syrup
2 eggs
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 cups flour

Mix well and cover. Let stand over night. Roll on lightly floured surface and cut with cutters or glass. Bake at 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes or less.

Ginger Sparklers
3/4 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves

Beat first four ingredients until light and fluffy. Blend in remaining ingredients. Shape into small balls and roll in granulated sugar. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Thank you for stopping in today - we'll see you again tomorrow for Day 4!

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