Sugar and spice. And butter. And salt. And well you know, a few pistachios and dried cherries don't hurt either. For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie, we are making Grandma's Sugar Cookies, which are a very simple cookie that offers lots of room for improvisation. These cookies were chosen by Ulrike of Kuchenlatein and you can find the recipe on her blog.
I baked two versions -- one a simple version with lots of spicy cinnamon baked inside (I love Penzey's Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon) and a light dusting of cinnamon sugar sprinkled on before baking. These remind of a crisper, neater Snickerdoodle and they are really well suited for accompanying afternoon tea or late night cocoa.
My second batch was studded with dried cherries and pistachios. I love this combination for the holidays as you get the red & green effect but in more muted tones than brightly colored sugar. And the flavors are so good together.
For the record, I don't make shaped, frosted cookies for the holidays. Or for anytime. I have nothing against those cookies, and I know that the TWD bakers are going to knock themselves out with creativity and artistry on this week's challenge.
But you see a while back, I worked for a cookie company that specializes in hand-iced cookies. The cookies look gorgeous, and sometimes they don't taste bad either. But when you have a job where you watch people ice cookies for 8 hours a day, and they do it really, really well and really, really fast... Well, let's just say your motivation to do it at home definitely wanes. I ate so many iced cookies at that job. And I have never even liked iced cookies that much to begin with! But they were everywhere, all day long, and when a hunger pang or a boredom streak would hit, there the cookies were - so pretty, so inviting, so damn fattening. Sigh.
Every once in a while, we would have to test out new packaging and we would try eating really old cookies to see how they had fared. Needless to say, somebody has to spit out yucky, rotten cookies in order to tell you when they are "best eaten by." And that person was occasionally me. So, yup, I'm over iced, shaped cookies. They look pretty, and I bow down to all of you who slave over them. But as for me, I am now solely a "slice and bake" gal when it comes to sugar cookies.
Speaking of which...I like to wrap my cookies in parchment rather than the saran that Dorie recommends. I find it's helpful if you write the baking time and temp on the packages so you don't have to root around for the recipe later. I usually make 6 or 7 different cookie doughs for the holidays. I freeze the doughs in parchment rolls or individually scooped balls, label them and then bake in small batches for gift bags as I need them.
This year, these cookies will definitely be in the line-up.