A few years ago, my entry into the Star-Telegram Christmas cookie contest made the first cut. It was exciting even though the prize was no big deal.
I didn’t win.
These cookies did–I think, or maybe it was second place. I’m not sure. Anyway, I printed the details and stuck it in my someday-I-want-to-try-this file.
When I heard our church needed cookies for the Christmas baskets we give to the older and less mobile members, I dug out this recipe. It was the perfect opportunity to experiment because I would have something to do with them besides stuff my face. Turns out they make excellent gifts for three reasons:
- They don’t crumble.
- They stay fresh and delicious up to 3 weeks or can be frozen.
- No decorating required.
By the way, I made up the name “Crunchy Gingerbread Bites” because who can pronounce their real name unless you speak German? I won’t even try to explain the translation, pepper nuts, but you can read about it on Wikipedia.
These miniature sweets are some trouble, officially qualifying them as Christmas cookies. I’ve figured out if you want to be labeled a Christmas cookie, you must be either red, green, or labor-intensive. Not saying these are difficult to make–they couldn’t be easier. It just takes a chunk of time to cut all those little pieces of dough. Don’t worry, the last tray only took about a third of the time of the first tray.
Originally, I thought I would roll each little ball by hand. HA! There must be about a thousand per batch. People eat them by the handfuls, so trying to make them look perfect is wasted energy.
To package them, I put about 3/4 cup in each cellophane bag (available at craft stores) and tied with red raffia. A cute Christmas label would have been nice. (Sigh) Maybe next year.
p.s. While “googling” about the Star-Telegram cookie contest, I ran across this post written by Amy of Sing for Your Supper. She is a local food blogger who actually won the cookie contest in 2010. She published her winning recipe here. I have met Amy and was so excited to find out about this. A belated “Congratulations” to you, Amy.
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons dark syrup (I used date syrup but dark corn syrup or molasses is also good)
- 3-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons soda
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon anise oil (optional)
- Whip room-temperature butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and egg and continue to beat.
- Add remaining ingredients in order given.
- Pull off small pieces of dough and roll to the thickness of a pencil. Slice into ¼-1/2 inch pieces. Place on a cookie sheet covered with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown.