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National Cookie Day

December is here. The skies are littered with Christmas lights and the scent of freshly chopped trees fill the market areas. While there are many beautiful and significant things about this season, there is no doubt that indulgence has become one of them!

I admit, I took some time in deciding which recipe would kick start the Christmas season, then I stumbled across three very profound words: National Cookie Day.  What better way to begin the Christmas season of cupcakingly delicious recipes!

Thanks to my new friend Pinterest  I learnt some interesting facts about the history of the cookie:

  1. The name cookie derives from the Dutch word koekje, which means little cake.
  2. Cookies are typically made of eggs, flour, sugar, butter or cooking oil. Common ingredients are raisins, chocolate chips or oats.
  3. Popular American cookies were traditionally Macaroons or Gingerbread Cookies.

With Christmas just on our doorsteps, what better recipe to share other than the Gingerbread Cookie.

Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread Men

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Queen of Hearts

14 February…

This is either a date that you look forward to with eager anticipation, or a day that you may refer to as S.A.D (Single’s Awareness Day). Yes, people do use this acronym. Whichever way you look at it, today is a day to indulge in cakes and bakes.

While couples empty the seasonal aisle of it’s chocolates, stuffed toys and novelty cards, you may want to consider this simple sugar cookie recipe…Wait! Before you reject the idea of baking for your valentine, believe me when I say that this is one of the simplest recipes you’ll come across – even for a beginner. If your valentine is a lover of cakes and bakes, then seducing their sweet tooth will definitely win you brownie points (yes, there’s a recipe for this too!)

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

Unsalted butter 200g
Caster sugar 280g
Vanilla Extract 1/4 tsp.
Egg x1
Plain flour x400g
Pinch of salt7
Cream of tartar 1/2 tsp.
Royal Icing (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas Mark 5

Put the butter, sugar* and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Add the flour, salt and cream of tartar,** being careful not to over mix. The dough should be light, soft and easy to handle.

Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. (I usually sprinkle a little flour on the rolling pin too, to avoid the dough sticking). Cut out shapes with your choice of cookie cutters and place them on a baking tray with greaseproof paper. (Optional: Use a pastry brush to base the unbaked cookies with milk for a slightly golden colour).

Bake for 10-12 mins, regularly checking that they don’t burn. The cookies should be light and golden on the outer edges and paler in the centre. Leave to cool on a rack before either decorating with royal icing sugar or sprinkling with dry icing sugar.

*I usually reduce the sugar quantity by 80-100g and it still tastes sweet enough.

**Cream of tartar can be found in the baking aisle, along side baking soda (powder).

[If your cookies don’t happen to turn out the way you planned, present them in a box all the same, with a tag saying “Made with Love”. It’s kind of hard to resist a home-baked gift that was made with loving hands!]

Happy Valentines xo