How To Make Your Holiday Cookies Look Even Better

Shaun and I have off from work today so after a quick trip to the gym, we're heading out to finish off our Christmas shopping and pick up some supplies for food that I signed up for to bring to my parents house tomorrow and his parents on Saturday. On the list? A vegetable tart (which I also made for dinner one night and cannot wait to share with you guys)

my sundried tomato + olive tapenade...

and perhaps a seasonal cupcake (contemplating one of the eggnog variety...thoughts?). Topping off the day will be present wrapping, a viewing of Scrooged (one of my favorite holiday movies) and a fancy dinner at Edward's here in Jersey City. Let's get this party started!

Meanwhile, I wanted to do a quick post for you guys and share a super simple tip to make all of those holiday cookies look extra awesome come Christmas. The key? Powdered sugar! There's nothing like a snowy white dusting of powdered sugar over holiday cookies to make them look extra special...and extra delicious to boot.

 

To get the look, I picked up a small sieve at Walmart for about $2. I scooped in a tablespoon of confectioners' sugar and sifted it right over the top of the cookie platter.

and in for the close up...

So there you have it. A super simple way to turn those cookies up a notch. Oh and this is a great way to jazz up any cookie, be it store bought or homemade. Easy peasy. So what do you think? I do have one more cookie recipe to share with you, which I will try to post this evening for any of your stragglers still looking for the perfect dessert or have ample time tomorrow morning to bake. And just a hint...there's Nutella involved.

How are you kicking off the holiday?

Cookie Swap: Chocolate Ginger Cookies

Want to contribute your favorite cookie recipe to our  Virtual Cookie Swap? Email them on over (with photo, please!) to theavidappetite [at] gmail [dot] com, we'll continue posting them as they roll in!

How is everyone this morning? It's a balmy 25 degrees in NYC but the sun is shining and flurries are falling! I'm just wishing it was more like real snow. Meanwhile, I've got Rockin' Holiday on Pandora and am ready to tackle the day. It also doesn't hurt that my Giants destroyed the Vikings last night - and I actually stayed awake for the whole game. It's a win all around!

Today we're dishing up another delectable cookie swap recipe! When the lovely ladies over at Like Mother Like Daughters, one of my favorite blogs, sent over their recipe for Chocolate Ginger Cookies, I was over the moon with excitement. They look gorgeous (especially with that profesh baker's twine! I need to get me some of that) and I cannot wait to add these to my cookie repetoire this holiday. Here's their note:

Thought we would send along our favorite Christmas cookie...so fun that you're doing this! We really enjoy your blog - looking forward to seeing what everyone submits! -Nancy


Chocolate Ginger Cookies
7 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, pulverized or 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons boiling water
¼ cup white sparkling sugar

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cocoa. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and crystallized ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add the brown sugar, and beat until combined. Add molasses, and beat until combined.

In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water. Beat half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Beat in the baking soda mixture, then the remaining half of the flour mixture. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Turn dough out onto a piece of wax paper. Pat the dough out to about 1-inch thick, seal with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in sparkling sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 9-11 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

So what do you think? Didn't the ladies do an amazing job? I for one cannot wait to add these to my holiday assortment and I love that they changed up the traditional spicy gingerbread by adding a bit of chocolate to the mix! So what I want to know is: Are you a gingerbread fan?  For me, anything spiced in cool weather is tops!

Getting Our Cookie Bake On

Happy Monday to all! Though I'm typically not a fan of the Monday, I do love having my apartment clean and pretty to start the week. Oh and the Giants game tonight doesn't hurt either. Meanwhile, we finally finished our tree last week. You may notice that there's no topper on the tree. Well, that's because I purchased a pretty star for the top but it was dwarfed by the size of the tree and just looked...well...dinky. So for now, it's going topless.

I spent Saturday getting my holiday baking on with my mom. Though it's usually an event for my sisters, my mom and me, the two of us got the party started since Kimberly and Christine are busy with wrapping up end of semester school things (Kim's in law school and Stine is in undergrad!). We made some old favorites, along with some newbies. On the list? Cherry kisses, mint chocolate snowcaps, thumbprints, and butter cookie cutouts rounded out the oldie-but-goodie list.

 The pink color of the cherry kisses just makes me happy. Here's Mom flattening them out...

 

 I think the mint snowcaps are just about the prettiest cookie ever! Here's hoping they freeze well for Christmas!

 One taste of the thumbprints, and I knew it was Christmas. We never have these cookies the rest of the year. The nutty, brown sugary flavor with raspberry jam just screams Christmas morning - my favorite time of the year to eat cookies. They never taste as good as on Christmas morning, in flannel jammies with a big glass of milk! Santa style!

Since the cutouts are a family (and fan) favorite, my mom and I did one little bit of them since I just couldn't resist. (Fear not, sisters, there are still like 5 more rolls of dough - in red/pink and green - to be done!).

 

In addition to some of our favorites, I also tested out some cookies from our virtual cookie swap! The recipes we've gotten thus far have been so mouthwatering, that I just had to give 'em a whirl. First up, I made Barbara's Seven Layer Italian Rainbow Cookies. It all started with this delightfully scented ingredient:

 

We had some trouble getting in there. I layered the finished product together...

 

...and then packaged it all together with a heavy book on top to sit in the fridge overnight.

 

Who knew that coffee table books doubled as baking tools?

I also got my frosting on with Lauren's red velvet cookie sandwiches with white chocolate buttercream. Oh my lord, these were delicious. Not that I would know, since I saved all of them for Christmas.

Ok, I may have sampled one along with my Dad who also cannot resist a good buttercream. These were unbelievably decadent and delicious. The cookie was soft while the buttercream was silky smooth and sweet. The perfect combo.

Even Chloe got into the baking fun. Or she may have been not-so-subtly telling us that it was dinner time.

By the end of the day, my mom's beautfiul kitchen looked like this:

But it's all in the name of baking. I can't wait to do more with my sisters in the coming weeks! Now I'm just wishing I had a little plate of cookies for lunch today. So what I want to know is: What is your favorite classic holiday dish that you look forward to each year?