What I’m Reading Today

It’s cookie baking time!  Enjoy.

Andrew Scrivani/The New York Times

If you know me well then you know I’m crazy about baking cookies.  With my annual holiday cookie exchange coming up, I’m on the hunt for a little something different to make.  These Pistachio Linzer Cookies from the New York Times are festive, beautiful, and not all that hard to make.  Love the addition of orange flower water too.  If this recipe doesn’t inspire you, the Times has a whole slideshow with 17 more recipes to get you baking this season.  Remember, when making any cookie that starts with creaming the butter and sugar, your butter must be at room temperature.  Also, don’t be shy-cream the mixture until it is very light and fluffy, usually doubled in volume and 3-4 minutes-you can’t over mix it at this point.  This ensures all the sugar is dissolved and the cookie itself will have a very smooth texture.

Myrung Chun/The Los Angeles Times

I rarely duplicate a recipe at my cookie exchange.  Eight years running and I try to innovate but, my honeycomb recipe was such a hit the first time I made it that I couldn’t help but bring it back a few years later.  The candy reminds me of the seaside sweet shops we’d visit as kids.  I’d always beg for a few dark chocolate covered pieces of honeycomb.  It’s got the flavor of toffee but the addition of baking soda creates loads of air bubbles that make it both light and crunchy at the same time.  The LA Times brings us a Honeycomb recipe from Nancy Silverton, almost identical to mine.  If you’ve never made candy, this is a great place to start.  Buy yourself a candy thermometer and you’re good to go.

Evelio Contreras/The Washington Post

If you really want a showstopper, you can make this sugar cookie tree.  It’s simply cut out sugar cookies “glued” together with a bit of royal icing and decorated.  The Washington Post has the step-by-step video to walk you through it and it’s surprisingly simple.  I think it would be the perfect holiday vacation activity to do with kids.  Gail Dosik, of One Tough Cookie in NY, decorates her tree very precisely (no surprise when you see how stunning her website looks).  I might err on the side of rustic, using small candies and a variety of icing colors to really it make it pop.  Either way, you can be sure this project is coming our way soon after school’s out this month.

Happy Reading and Happy Baking.

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