Perfectionista free baking



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.

17 Responses to Perfectionista free baking

  1. Natashya says:

    I definitely mix it up. I make a lot of cookies for hubby’s office. He likes to bring them in at least once a week in December for a little treat. It’s the least I can do for the man who keeps me in baking gadgets!
    I like the less sweet cookies, this ginger one sounds awesome, I love the sugar crystals glittering on them. 🙂

  2. Rosa says:

    Those Ginger Crackle Cookies look perfect and delicious! This year, I also baked a few essentials…



  3. […] A fellow blogger wrote a fantastic post today on “Perfectionista free baking « Dana McCauleyâs food blog”Here’s ONLY a quick extractThis entry was posted on December 15, 2008 at 7:26 am and is filed under Baking, Desserts and sweet stuff, Holidays, Recipes. Tagged: Baking, christmas, cookies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. … […]

  4. Diva says:

    Dana, I’m envying you your “perfectionista-free” attitude this year – and will likely seek to adopt it … next year! I’m too far gone to pull back at present, but it sounds entirely sane and lovely. Good for you!

    For me, it wouldn’t be Christmas without my decorated sugar-cookie cut-outs. They’re time consuming, but the recipe has been in my family for generations and they are essential, as are the Hungarian Horns. Those two cookies are non-negotiable, and my husband insists that it wouldn’t be Christmas without Peanut Butter Blossoms, so those are a must-make as well. I generally vary the fourth cookie and this year I’m doing a chocolate/peppermint cookie as the variable.

    I will typically do at least four different cookies, one batch of fudge and one batch of chocolate peanut butter bark. I guess I’d better get back to baking if its all going to get done!

  5. Peter says:

    Dana, my family’s holding back too…too much temptation!

    I’m seeing a lot of cracked cookies and these make a strong argument to have some “laying around” for the holidays.

  6. Elra says:

    Delicious looking cookies. Such an appropriate cookies for the season.

  7. I adore ginger cookies! These look great.

    We used to bake about a dozen different cookies each Christmas, mixing things up a bit. But over the years we have cut back and decided that we would stick to the ones we like best. This year, I made six for the family.

    I’m always trying new ones for my blog, but my family has decided on the Christmas classics and won’t budge. Okay, but the other 11 months of the year? I’m experimenting!

  8. danamccauley says:

    Sounds like there will be no shortage of delicious nibbles in your households this holiday season!

    Charmian, I can’t believe you used to make 12 different things for the holidays – that’s a lot of ingredients! My highest baking out put has to be under 10 and likely between 6 and 8 things.

  9. Hélène says:

    We usually make Swedish Ginger Cookies, Cream Cheese Bars, Sugar Pie, Truffles, Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Pecan Bars.

    I haven’t started yet. My daughter is flying from Ottawa Thursday, so we will do this together. She likes baking.

  10. Jude says:

    I have a few true and tried recipes that I bake for the holidays. If there’s anything I learned from baking, it’s that I should never offer something I haven’t made several times over. So I’m talking about 3-4 recipes, just like you.

  11. danamccauley says:

    Helene, what about that yummy fudge you wrote about last summer? I expected that to be one of your holiday favs.

    Jude, that’s good advice we would all do well to remember. Trying a new recipe when you want to impress, is usually a bad idea.

  12. Luke D. says:

    Like every good Canadian, I’m a huge buttertart fan – I’m definitely going to give those a try!

  13. Cheryl says:

    I love that I can see all the distinct sugar granules on top of those cookies. I feel like I can smell them, too…

  14. Hélène says:

    Updating to say that I had made two batches of fudge, on Friday, to send with my son that was going to meet friends and Vancouver (they rave about my fudge), and I will be making some for our Holidays.

  15. Terry says:

    We are big fans of Hello Dollies, Chocolate Macaroons, and Nanaimo Bars,…but I have to make them last minute as I have absolute ZERO willpower once they’re made. My mom used to try to make hers ahead and freeze them,….my brother and I just learned to love frozen cookies. 🙂

  16. I love the crackle cookies – these looks divine!

  17. […] been using Demerara sugar for quite a few years to sweeten my tea and to add sparkle to cookies, but until this week when I was fact checking a chef’s manuscript, I had never thought about this […]

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