When I began, I didn't have any particular selection parameters. As the recipes rolled in, I realized that I started to look for variety in flavors. The most submitted cookie recipe by far was rolled or sliced sugar cookies. Decorated, undecorated, in colors, in logs, or to be cut out. With lemon extract, vanilla extract, almond extract. I have to say, they all sounded wonderful and some of the photographs were absolute show stoppers! This suggests to me that sugar cookies are what we usually think of when we think of Christmas cookies. For a while there, I was tempted to bake all the sugar cookie recipes! I realized, though, that we needed to cover all tastes, and found myself looking for more variety.
The second most popular cookie recipe was a wedding cookie type of recipe. They're obviously Christmas favorites! Surprisingly, I received only three bar cookie recipes, and two of those were almost identical! What are the odds of that?
No brownies, no lemon squares, no linzer cookies, no spritz cookies, no gingerbread cookies! I'm not quite sure what that means.
This contest has turned out to be terrific for me personally. Baking one batch (or two today!) of cookies a week isn't an overwhelming proposition. We still have over a week to go before Christmas, and I already have a fabulous selection of delicious cookies ready to be served! I would love to do this again next year. Maybe we can work it into some sort of challenge so that some of you will end up with a lot of terrific of cookies, too. I'm not quite sure how to work it yet, but I love the idea of a cookie a week. I sent out my winter newsletter this week and included links to the winning cookie recipes. One of my friends who will be coming for a visit emailed me right away to ask if there would be any left when she arrives! LOL!
I'm also tempted to ask Berkley to let me do another Christmas book featuring *your* recipes! Wouldn't that be fun?
On to this week's winners. Originally, I thought we would have five winners. I was so intrigued by both of these recipes that I made them both anyway so we have six winners! Curiously, they're made in almost exactly the same manner but the flavors are totally different.
Our first winner today is Elisa Varey for her Mocha Crinkles! Elisa grew up in Alexandria, near Old Town, where my protagonist, Sophie Winston lives. She was just there and says it's all decorated for Christmas!
Here's Elisa's recipe ~
*** I love the mocha crinkle cookies...
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup low fat sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp instant espresso/ coffee granules
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Beat brown sugar & oil in medium bowl with electric mixer. Mix in sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Set aside.
Mix flour, cocoa, espresso, baking soda, salt and pepper in another medium bowl.
Add flour mixture to brown sugar mixture and mix well. Refrigerate dough until firm to 3 to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place powdered sugar in shallow bowl. Set aside.
Cut dough into 1 inch pieces. Roll into balls in powdered sugar.
Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 10-12 mins or until firm to touch.
Krista's take ~
When you walk into really great cafe, the aroma of coffee envelops you, and there's that undercurrent smell of freshly baked cookies. That's how these cookies smell when they're baking.
The dough mixed up very nicely. This is another easy Nina Reid Norwood recipe that anyone can tackle. One of the things I like about both of these recipes is that they have to be refrigerated. I made both in the evening and baked them in the morning. That means you can whip up the dough, stash it in the fridge and bake them later at your convenience.
They're rolled in powdered sugar and baked on an ungreased baking sheet. Very easy.
And then they come out of the oven all crinkled and smelling heavenly of coffee!
Our second winner this week is Laura Kramarsky for her Very Ginger Chocolate-Chip Cookies! I was intrigued by the combination of ginger with chocolate, and fascinated by the fact that the recipe uses crystallized ginger instead of powdered ginger.
Here's Laura's recipe ~
This is one of my favorites: very ginger chocolate-chip cookies.
Very Ginger Chocolate-Chip Cookies
½ cup crystallized ginger, chopped
¾ cup sugar, divided
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
¼ cup molasses
1 large egg
2 cups flour, all-purpose white
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks or large chocolate chips
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350°
In a food processor or blender, cut ginger into 1/3 cup sugar until ginger is finely ground. Pour from container and set aside.
Put butter and 1/3 cup sugar in mixer and beat until fluffy. Add ginger mixture, molasses (or cane syrup), and egg, continue beating to mix.
Mix flour, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl. Add to butter mixture; beat to blend well.
Stir in chocolate chunks.
Cover dough and chill until firm to the touch, about one hour. (Dough may also be frozen into a sliceable log at this point.)
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and coat in remaining sugar. Place balls 2 to 3 inches apart in lined or non-stick baking sheets.
Bake in a 350° oven until slightly darker brown, 11 to 14 minutes total (if using 1 oven, switch pan positions after about 6 minutes). Transfer cookies to racks to cool. Serve, or store airtight up to 1 week; freeze to store longer.
Krista's take ~
If you love gingersnaps and chocolate, you'll adore these cookies! Grinding the ginger made all the difference. The flavor is evenly spread through the cookies.
The hardest part of this recipe was grinding the ginger. I started with the small bowl of my food processor. It broke the ginger down, but only into tiny balls. I had more luck with a mini food processor, but be prepared to let it run a bit. Except for that, this recipe falls into the anyone can do it, Nina Reid Norwood category. I do think you need some kind of electric food processor or a very good blender to grind the ginger so that it's fine.
Once again, this recipe called for rolling the dough into balls and then rolling them in sugar. Both recipes would be fabulous choices for little kids who want to help bake. The dough was nicely manageable and it's fun to roll it in sugar.
And the result is two very similar cookies that don't look alike or taste alike!
The cookies in the middle are Mocha Crinkles and the cookies around the edge are Very Ginger Chocolate-Chip Cookies. Congratulations to Elisa and Laura!
And now, can you believe it -- I have to bake three kinds of cookies that are favorites in my family!