So the Baking Day tradition continues at my house, and so last Saturday My mom and I, and my friend and her mom packed into my mom's kitchen to bake and bake and bake. We made two recipes each.
We had: Lemon bars, soft ginger cookies, dainties, apricot bars, lace cookies, pistachio shortbread sandwich cookies, snowballs, and chocolate & jam bars. Yum yum. By the end of it there's always so much to go around. I have a freezer full that I'm taking to my boyfriend's grandmother's for Christmas.
Here are pictures:
From the back: Snowballs and Dainties, Sandwich Cookies, Chocolate Meringue Bars, and Apricot Bars
Lace Cookies, Chocolate Meringue Bars, Lemon Bars
Dainties (filled with preserves and pecans)
Snowballs (shortbread with lemon icing)
And as always, this was my favourite day of the whole Christmas season. I think I might even like it better than Christmas Day itself... Well, almost!
Pistachio-Cherry Sandwich Cookies
1 1/2 cups shelled pistachios
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (or Earth Balance for you vegans!)
1 cup sugar (I used half that amount)
1 large egg (or egg replacer)
1 Tbs. lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup cherry preserves
1. Process pistachios in food processor 1 minute, or until finely ground. Transfer to bowl, set aside. (I only have a hand food processor - my arm was tired!!)
2. Cream butter and sugar in food processor 30 seconds. or until fluffy. Add egg and lemon juice; pulse 15 seconds, or until combined. Add pistachios, flour, lemon zest, baking powder and salt. Pulse 15 seconds more, or until combined and dough starts to clump together. (I just mixed in a bowl).
3. Divide dough in half, flatten into two disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 1 hour, or until firm.
4. Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out 1 dough disk on sheet of lightly floured parchment paper, to about 1/8" thick. Transfer parchment and cookie dough onto cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Place in freezer 5 to 8 minutes to firm up.
5. Cut out cookies with 2 inch cutter, and place 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 12 minutes or until edges are golden. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
6. Spread 1 tsp preserves on half of cookies. Top with remaining cookies.
Soft Gingerbread Cookies
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
3/4 cup light brown sugar (I used about half cup of each)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened (again, I used Earth Balance)
2 3/4 tsp ground ginger
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon (who measures that out??? Just go by "feel")
1/2 tsp salt
3/8 tsp ground cloves
1 large egg, beaten (or egg replacer)
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup crystallized ginger (I forgot this ingredient at home, so omitted and the cookies still tasted really gingery)
1. Combine molasses and brown sugar in saucepan; heat over medium high heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until sugar dissolves and bubbles appear around edges of saucepan. Remove from heat, and stir in baking soda. Add butter, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and cloves, stirring until butter is melted. Stir in egg, then flour, and mix until no white streaks remain. Add crystallized ginger.
2. Line workspace with 10" long sheet plastic wrap. Roll out still warm dough to 3/8" thickness on plastic wrap. Cover with plastic wrap, and place on baking sheet. Chill 10 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 350F, and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut dough into shapes with cookie cutter, and transfer to prepared baking sheets. (If dough is too warm, refrigerate 10 minutes). bake 10 minutes, or until firm to touch. Serve warm, or transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Notes: I used a 1 incher cookie cutter, so I knocked off a couple minutes baking time.
I used store bought egg replacer for these recipes, instead of other substitutes like applesauce or banana because I didn't want any competing tastes.
For the Pistachio cookies, less is more with the preserves. You don't need much to hold the cookies together, and it keeps them nice and moist for days.
Lemon bars and dainties to come...