“I love baking more than cooking,” I used to say. Maybe it is still a little true. What brings me to the kitchen are the connections with people and food. When those ingredients are there, I can’t stay away. I find time and energy. My camera is always there too. I like to cut and mix by hand. I like to taste and smell as I go, even the raw eggs. My recipes have been getting larger though. Some of my food adventures are sometimes events for hundreds.
I am very happy to get appliances for Christmas. They are as “personal gifts” as it gets for me. My husband knows my needs and wants — that makes it special. Thank you hubby. One Christmas I got a Pizzelle iron and 2 years ago my first stand mixer. I sometimes resist adding new appliances to my life, but they have been great help and fun.
I have been happy to use my mortar and pestle, box grater and blenders for over 20 years but I am really excited about this year’s gift – a “robot de cuisine,” (food processor). I always liked hearing the chefs on cooking shows calling it a robot when I lived in France.
Here recipes for a couple of our favorites: Pizzelles, traditional Italian waffle cookies and Gingerbread Cookies, varieties found in many cultures.
For the Pizzelles, I adapted the recipe from the Pizzelle iron box and advice from my friend Dawn Graham.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted at room temperature
1tsp anise extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
Beat eggs and sugar by hand until just combined. Sift flour and baking powder into the bowl. Mix by hand. Add melted butter, stir to combine.
Place dough on the bottom part, I use an ice cream scoop and drop about 1 tablespoon of batter. Cook on low for 10-15 seconds on each side. Carefully remove cookies from the iron, using a fork to full them out from the iron if needed. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Pizzeles freeze very well.
This recipe can be made with Gluten Free flour.
For the Gingerbread Cookies
adapted from Joy of Baking
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups of rye flour
1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger, or 1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
Royal Icing Using Egg Whites:
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or more as needed
3 to 4 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted.
Gingerbread Cookies: In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.
Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside while you roll out the dough.
cookies made by my children
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a floured cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. With an offset spatula lift the cut out cookies onto the baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1 inch (2.54 cm) apart.
Bake for about 8 – 12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Small ones will take about 8 minutes, larger cookies will take about 12 minutes. They are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown.
Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minutes. When they are firm enough to move, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies depending on the size of cookie cutter used.
For Royal Icing with Egg Whites: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. Tint portions of frosting with desired food color.. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.
From my kitchen to little hands for decorating during the North Troy Holiday Celebration at the Sanctuary for Independent Media
Me with Lina and Santa — good times!