To the new year and new beginnings – Happy 2015

December 2014 is over. Xmas is over. It is a new year and a new start. We are 7 whole days into 2015 already and it feels like 2014 passed away at the blink of my eyes.  The euphoria to ring in the new year starts with “It’s the holidays!“- So says everyone post December the 15th (or perhaps earlier) and it is a time to kick back and relax and unwind with family.

The relaxation came in a strange way for me. It came via packing the bags and queuing up at the airport early Saturday morning just to spend the weekend in Kuala Lumpur with some family. It came via scouting for artisan chocolates to tie with red ribbons and wrap in colorful gift paper – the kind of paper with red reindeer or blue bells or white snowflakes and green Xmas trees on it. It came via flying to Mumbai from Singapore to meet some family just for 3 days only to physically hand them my home baked Holiday spiced cookies and the “Epic Marble Cake” which is in demand no matter what the occasion or season is.

holiday cookies (2)

These cookies were whipped together the evening before I left for Mumbai.  I was hoping to put my holiday cookie cutters to use to create fancy reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflake and Xmas tree shaped cookies. Then wanted to pipe out some fine white icing on their rims to make them look just like the freshly baked ones displayed on any bakery counter. Fingers crossed, I set out to make the dough as per the instructions of the cookie dough recipe on the goodhousekeeping.com website. Alas the dough was not chilled enough and I had difficulty rolling as it kept sticking to the surface and the cut cookies kept breaking as I tried to lift them up to transfer to the baking sheet 😦

So I decided to take the whole dough and pull out small round balls of dough, press them using a fork, spread over a baking sheet and bake them. I was pleased once they came out . They had the exact spice flavor combination and the exact chewiness I wanted, with the lovely dark molasses sugar spreading deep inside them along with them making the pretty gift I wanted to wrap up in a box.

holiday cookies (4)

 

holiday cookies (3)

So the year ended with butter and sugar shared gleefully with family over a cup of chai. I realized that there have been ups and downs this year- More downs than ups at times and many a dull moment. At the same time, I will be grateful for all the good and the bad that has paved the path for the life we lead. I hope for happier and healthier days in 2015 and wish for writing more on the blog.  Wish you all beautiful, happy and fun times ahead 🙂

holiday cookies (5)

 

holiday cookies (1)

Holiday Spiced Cookies Recipe

This recipe is a combination of the Basic cookie dough recipe and Gingerbread cutouts recipe from the Good Housekeeping website. I changed a few proportions and have written the modified amounts below. I was unable to pipe out any icing as previously noted and enjoyed these just like that 🙂

Ingredients
500 gms all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
225 gms unsalted butter softened
180 gms dark brown sugar
1 free range egg
5 ml vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp ground ginger powder
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
60 grams dark molasses sugar

Directions

1) In a deep bowl combine flour,spices, baking powder, and salt.

2) In a food processor or mixer beat butter, brown sugar and dark molasses sugar until creamy, occasionally scraping the bowl with rubber spatula.

3) Add egg and vanilla; beat until well mixed.

4) Reduce speed and gradually mix in the dry ingredients until blended

5) Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate at least for 3 hours or better still overnight.

6) Before baking pull out small balls of round dough,press in center with a fork

7) Lay out on a baking sheet keeping enough gap between the unbaked cookies since they will flatten out once baked

8) Bake in a preheated oven at 180 deg centigrade for 12-15 min

9) Cool completely before serving. Store excess cookies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature up to 2 weeks

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