If you want to try my holiday sweets, be sure to head over to Carrots 'n Cake this morning where you can bid on my - and many more bloggers' - baked goods for a great cause!
It's flurrying here in Manhattan this morning, and there really isn't anything better. This weekend, Shaun and I got our Christmas tree! Though the decorating is still a work in progress, I'm happy to say that it's up and almost fully lit. Though Christmas tree hunting in an urban area isn't quite the Griswold Family Christmas, we still had a blast! For the past three years, we've gotten our trees at 14th Street Garden Center in Jersey City - classically located just outside the Holland Tunnel. We highly recommend this nursery if you live in the area. We got a nice sized tree and snapped up a poinsettia to boot. Here's Shaun scanning the aisles:
Once the tree is completely decorated, I'll share a pic with you! Meanwhile, I got to baking yesterday. Though I'll be baking with my mom (stay tuned for lots of recipes and ideas for holiday baking!), I just couldn't wait to try some out on my own and share a recipe for our virtual cookie swap! After scouring many cookie books and magazines, I chose to start with Almond Sweets, a crumbly Italian cookie ball coated with sweet almond frosting. Oooooh mama.
Though the frosting is very sweet, the cookie is hardly sweet at all, making it the perfect cookie balance. And have I ever told you of my obsession with extracts, particularly almond? I really just cannot get enough of the pure and delightful scents of extracts and Shaun will sometimes find me just sniffing them while I bake. Please don't judge me.
Anyhow, the point is that these sweet treats are delicious and super simple to boot. So try them. Immediately.
*Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens 100 Best Cookies
Makes 60 cookies
For the cookies:
3 C all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C cooking oil
1 tsp vanilla
For the almond icing:
1 C confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
2 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer), beat together the eggs, granulated sugar, oil and vanilla.
Beat in the flour. Once combined, roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, frost 'em!
To make the frosting, mix or whisk together the sugar, extract and milk until completely combined and no lumps. Frost and coat with sprinkles. Note: Since the frosting hardens very quickly, I added sprinkles after every third cookie that I frosted. Any more than that and it was too late! Instead of the sprinkles sticking, they merely bounced off the top of the cookie.
Luckily, since sprinkles are of the utmost importance to me, I learned my lesson quickly so I could end up with treats that look like this:
Say it with me...mmmm. So there you have it. My first recipe for the virtual cookie swap! What do you think? Do you already have your bake on this holiday season? If so, what have you been up to? And bonus question: Do you also have a weakness in the kitchen that you'd rather not share with the world (but will anyway, since I told you mine!)?
For more cookie ideas, check out our Cookie Swap page!