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Home Cooking 235

Are you thinking about Christmas cookies yet? (Seriously!)

Julia_T | Nov 10, 201107:28 AM

Yes, I'm already excited about Christmas cookies and have started a list.

Are there any other anticipatory bakers out there? What will you be baking this December?

Here's my cookie list at the moment... Most years we give cookies to the girls' teachers and after-school activity coaches, school front desk staff, relatives, friends, neighbors, etc. This year I'm trying to focus on things that can be made somewhat quickly... I always say that but the best laid plans...!

1st cookie: molded classic shortbread - recipe thanks to Chuck (; I add a few T water into the dough, and prick with a fork after pressing into my snowflakes pan; dust w/confectioners sugar when cool.

Also: one or two of the following:
• Tartine soft glazed gingerbread recipe (molded with a cookie press or pan).. or a new recipe that was designed for pressed cookies.. possibly then dipped in chocolate
• Tartine biscotti recipe (delicious, but they did not spread as much during baking as I would have liked... ideas?)
• hazelnut shortbreads from the Bakesale Cookbook; or
• Chocolate "nut" molded cookie with a ganache filling
• “Florentiners a la Mama” - King Arthur Flour
• Speculaas or springerle from this site

• Chocolate fudge (need a fabulous recipe - dark and not too sweet or peanut butter/chocolate), or
• Gourmet’s classic lemon thins (I wonder if it's possible to make these uniformly round - have not yet tried this recipe), or
• Mexican wedding cookies

Has anyone ever given ganache as a gift? I mean how easy is that?! I was thinking of putting it up in little jars, maybe to gift in trios of three, with pretty labels (Grand Marnier ganache; peppermint; Kahlua; etc), with instructions to keep in the fridge, plus I suppose instructions on how to use or turn it into a buttercream frosting.

Is that just way too much chocolate sauce for people to receive, do you think? If not, has anyone ever tried making white chocolate ganache, and is there a way to do that inexpensively? (I am a total cheater and just use Nestle's chips from Costco with hot cream - but does Costco sell white chocolate?) Where would I get trios of very small jars? (Target had some mid-sized Bell jars... did not see small; maybe at hardware stores? online source?)

Nuts are another matter. These days, a lot of kids have life-threatening nut allergies. Most adults do not have this allergy, and most of our gifts are going to adults (teachers; school staff; our own friends, etc). Any opinions what to do about this? Should I label each cookie tin "DANGER - NUTS," or put the gingerbreads and classic shortbreads in a separate container - another step and expense, but considerate? Or should I give the recipients more credit and not assume they're dingbats? - Almost everyone who works with or has young children is at this point used to not giving them unknown baked goods - but who knows; it's a busy time of year.... Maybe the easiest is simply to put a pretty "Contains Nuts" label on the tins...

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