I set myself a goal of baking four different kinds of cookies this month (theoretically one kind each week, but I am a procrastinator...). I remember when I was growing up that a friend's mom really outdid herself every December with tons of amazing cookies. And then when I was in college, my supervisor at the college library invited me to her house for a full day of crazy Christmas baking. I've always wanted to do something like that since then, but finding the time and motivation has been a challenge, for about 20 years. This year, though, felt like the year to at least make an attempt.
I started the month out with snickerdoodles, which I've never made before, although I love them. They ended up tasting OK, but something wasn't quite right. They spread out a lot in the oven and the taste was...missing something. So I definitely need to shop around for a different recipe to try next year.
(Note that I only baked my cookies for 10 minutes because they were much smaller than the 6" gingerbread people called for by the recipe.)
I really liked the way the cookies tasted (the ground pepper surprised me as an ingredient, but somehow worked), but I did not use the Royal Icing, which, according to my Joy of Cooking cookbook is better for when you care more about how something looks than how it tastes. Instead I used a super basic recipe of 2 cups powdered sugar mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. And I also used the ziplock bag method of icing application, which involves spooning the icing into the bag, sealing it, and cutting a tiny notch out of the bottom corner of the bag so the icing will come out in a neat and controlled manner. (Note that it is super important that you are careful when you put the icing into the bag, because if you aren't, it's possible that you won't be able to seal the bag, and that you'll decide it's not that big of a deal if you don't seal the bag, and then there will be a massive ooze of icing all over everything instead of in neat ribbons or buttons on your cookies, which is the opposite of neat and controlled.)
I forgot to get a picture of my best cookies before I sent them off to a party that Gemma was going to, but I did get a picture of the ones that mostly turned out OK (with respect to the icing, I mean):
Anyway, if you have a favorite holiday cookie recipe, please feel free to share in the comments. I'd love to have some more great recipes to try!:)