Perfectionista free baking

December 15, 2008

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Normally, I’d be up to my eyebrows in flour by now but this year I’m cutting back to ensure that when the holidays arrive that I’ll be ready for fun and not a nap . In fact, I’m only baking a few essential items that we need to feel festive. Here’s what’s on my family’s essential holiday baked goods list:

Ultimate Buttertarts

Holiday Hermits

Barb Holland’s Double Ginger Crackle Cookies (see recipe below)

Yup, it’s only three items and not an exhaustive Christmas offering by a long shot. But, since we’ll be doing lots of visiting, I’m sure we’ll get to have a shortbread and few sugar cookies along the way. It will all work out. (I’m repeating that mantra over and over and over.)

How many different items will you bake this holiday season? Are some of these recipes essential for Christmas to be Christmas or do you mix up your repertoire every year?

Barb Holland’s Ginger Crackle Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

3/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp finely grated lemon peel

1/4 cup coarse sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour with baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt and crystallized ginger. Toss until crystallized ginger is well distributed.

Beat the shortening until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until light. Beat in molasses, egg and lemon peel until smooth.

Gradually mix in the dry ingredients; scrape down the sides as needed. Place the coarse sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll dough in small balls or scoop using a 1-inch ice cream scoop.

Roll each ball in sugar and arrange on prepared baking sheets. Flatten gently with the heel of your hand.

Bake for 10 minutes or until cracked on top and golden. Cool on a rack.