We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cookie Recipe #259 - Springerle

Last weekend was our anniversary, so we celebrated it in San Francisco. On our way home we traveled down Highway 1 along the coast stopping at a couple of thrift shops. The treasure I found was this old rolling pin used to make today's cookie. I was so excited to find it and for only $4.00 (everything was 20% off that day). This is a crispy, spicy cookie that would be good dipped in a cold glass of milk or hot cup of steamy coffee.

Ingredients: 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup)unsalted butter, softened, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1 large egg, 2 1/2 tablespoons half and half cream, 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, 1 egg white, beaten until frothy, granulated sugar for sprinkling.

Instructions: Combine the flour, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg in a small bowl. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, add the sugar, and continue beating until light. Beat in the egg, half and half, and the lemon zest. Add the flour mixture gradually and beat until the dough is smooth. Divide the dough in half, form each piece into a disk, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate until firm but not rock-hard, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. With a regular rolling pin, roll the dough out slightly thicker than 1/8 inch. Use the springerle rolling pin to roll out the dough one last time, flattening it out until it is 1/8 inch thick. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar. With a sharp knife, cut out cookies following the outlines made by the rolling pin. Place an inch apart on prepared cookie sheets and bake 10-12 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven. Edges should be just lightly browned.

Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 5-6 dozen cookies.

"The Christmas Cookie Book", Judy Knipe & Barbara Marks, Ballantine Books, New York, 1990.

Cookies Rule!!!

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