Okay, I know I'm three days late on the whole NaBloPoMo thing, but I'm going to jump in anyway. I've been slow with just about everything lately, so there's no reason this should be an exception.
I must say, November is an excellent time to blog every day, because there's so much going on. Christmas season starts on November 1 for me (mind you, just the prep. I'm not one of those crazy people who puts up their tree and lights or switches to non-stop Xmas music at the earliest possible date). We like to have our Christmas party the first week of December, so I'm already on the cookie train, starting with recipes that'll freeze for up to three months. I figure I have about three more years until I have to perfect a set of mom recipes that will be ingrained in Ruby and Frank's memories, so this year I'm trying to knock off as many small batches as possible, sort of subjecting my family and friends to a taste test.
I'm a sucker for those Holiday magazines that come out this time of year, so most of my recipes will be from those kinds of things. Being a professional writer, I'm pretty mortified of copyright infringement, so I won't post the recipes here, but if you can't track down the mags and are dying to try these out, drop me an email and I'll be happy to share. All of today's recipes come from Better Homes And Gardens 2007 Christmas Cookies mag (on stands now!)
Okay, first up to bat: Mexican Hot-Chocolate Balls. I'm drawn to anything ball or drop-like in nature: I am definitely not the kind of girl who has the patience for too many cut-out or sandwich cookies. So, these babies are simple to make and don't even call for a whole lot of ingredients. Unfortunately, in this case, you get what you pay for. They're basically just a shortbread with loads of cocoa, pecans and some cinnamon. They taste okay, but are a little too crumbly and despite being chocolate, Aaron gave them a thumbs down for being too dry. Luckily the recipe only yielded about two dozen balls (I tend to make my cookies a tad to big), so they won't be my main attraction.
Next, Pistachio-Lime Balls, which are pretty much the same recipe as the Mexican Hot-Chocolate Balls, only with pistachio and lime instead of the cocoa, pecans and cinnamon. For some reason, these turned out much better, possibly because I added some lime juice along with the lime rind to make them more limey. The taste is pretty unique and they're much more moist than their cocoa cousins.
And finally for this week, Strawberry Shortbread, reminding me why I hate rolling out dry shortbread and cutting it and watching my uneven baking either burn or stay raw. Ugh. These took me pretty much all day to make, but man, are they delicious. They're basically just a standard shortbread with some strawberry jam thrown in (and strawberry icing), but the thing that makes them is a generous amount of almond extract. Crap, that extract is good. And, since there's going to be a ton of minty and chocolaty and nutty cookies on my table (I'm already feeling guilty for those nut allergy kids out there... sorry friends) a strawberry flavour will make a nice addition.
So, that's it. I'm going to try for three batches a week... wish me luck.