Ginger Cookies

These are my very favorite holiday cookies! This recipe came in the Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookie annual email series in 2008, I believe, and I made them as soon as I got home from college that winter break. I love that they are crackly on the outside and soft on the inside — they were a big hit at our holiday party last weekend.

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King Arthur’s Fudge Drops

Fudge Drops

Let’s start with first impressions: these cookies are called fudge drops. The description fits.

Let’s talk about the batter: it tastes like whipped chocolate ganache.

Let’s talk about how these cookies were done for within about 24 hours of baking: an entire batch, consumed by my dieting family (whoops!).

Oh yes, they’re good.  Like fudgy brownies in a cookie, complete with the shiny, flaky top you expect from brownies.

I’m not sure if this recipe is a King Arthur (we’re talking the flour company) original or if someone posted it to their site, but it’s a truly delicious chocolate cookie recipe and not at all complicated to make.

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Snickerdoodles!

snickerdoodle stack

Snickerdoodles…such a silly name, and actually, if I had my choice Snickerdoodles wouldn’t be my first pick – I like them, but I like other cookies more.  They’re my boyfriend’s favorite kind of cookie, though, so with that in mind I searched online for a quality, authentic recipe.  I went with this one, from Recipe Zaar, because the person who submitted it said her Great-Grandmother had clipped it from a newspaper.  I tend to go for old-fashioned recipes, because those are the originals; there is no need to fix what isn’t broken.  Grandma’s have a reputation for knowing best when it comes to comforting cookies! These were easy to make and my boyfriend loved them – the true test of this recipe’s success was met!

A Note on Cream of Tartar: It’s a random ingredient that most home cooks probably don’t have, unless they do a lot of baking.  I looked it up, though, and Snickerdoodles really just aren’t the same without it – it has something to do with both flavor and chemistry, so it’s pretty important.

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Blackberry Shortbread Bars

blackberry bars

Some might say there’s nothing to do in my little town.  We have about 5,000 residents, and many of them are farmers (yep…real live cowboys).  Until a couple years ago, the tallest building in town – three whole stories – was the Templeton Feed and Grain.  (For all you urbanites, a feed and grain is a farm supply store where you buy hay, grain, and other things that livestock eat).  As far as I can tell, Templetonians come out mostly at major holidays, such as the High School’s Homecoming Parade (ha).

On Wednesday evenings in the summer, the park is the place to be.  Apparently late to the trend, my boyfriend and I recently discovered these summer events.  It turns out they’re actually a lot of fun…mostly because everyone brings food and wine and enjoys the beauty of our Central California town on a summer night, and you always see at least a handful of people you know.  Last week, Brian and I brought his parents with us, and wanting to impress them with my baking, I found this recipe, which is delicious but also makes a great picnic dessert.  Brian’s mom loved them, and so did my coworkers, to whom I brought the leftovers to the next day. Delish!

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