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Monday, December 13, 2010

Who Wants a Cookie?

I started my cooking "career" by learning to bake and for a long time that's all I could do in the kitchen.  If you asked me for an elaborate cake, I could deliver.  If you asked me for a plate of spaghetti, I would have had a problem.  In fact, in the early years of our marriage, one of my few dinner entrees was broiled chicken with lemon pepper.  Sad but true.

As you have seen, I have widened my repertoire considerably.  In fact I don't think I've made broiled chicken with lemon pepper in years.  I'm not sure I even have any lemon pepper in my spice drawer.  But the point of all this is that I still love to bake, and it's what I think I do best.

I am not a big holiday cookie maker.  First of all, I don't bake cookies to give as gifts, which is sort of a shame because I'm pretty sure people would enjoy receiving them.  Ted would probably agree because my sweat equity would save him a lot of money on gifts.  I'm not sure why I don't bake as gifts but I don't.  Second, if I'm not going to give the cookies away in an organized fashion, then why have dozens of cookies around the house?  True, Charlie and Kate are like vacuum cleaners when it comes to anything home made, but so am I.  That's why I don't need to have dozens of pretty cookies around the house.  Enough said.

Nonetheless, it's the holiday season and it's seems fitting that I pass along a recipe or two.   The other day on the Today show I saw Martha Stewart demonstrate a recipe for Glitter Balls.  They're a simple butter cookie sandwich rolled in sanding sugar with a ginger buttercream filling.  They're festive and feel just right for the holidays.

So, now having now made made these cookies, I guess I have no choice but to give them away.  And maybe in the process, I can save Ted some money.

Glitter Balls
(Martha Stewart, 2010)


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Sanding sugar in assorted colors
Creamy Ginger Filling (see below)

Preheat oven to 350.  Beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt with an electric mixer on medium high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary.  Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low, add flour, and mix until just combined.  Shape into 3/4 inch balls.  Place sanding sugar in shallow bowls.  Roll each ball in sanding sugar, and place on parchment lined baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are lightly golden, 15-18 minutes.  Let cookies cool completely on a wire rack.  Spread two cookies with just enough filling to allow them to stick together.  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Creamy Ginger Filling


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 cup confections' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon honey

Beat all ingredients by hand or with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth.  Filling can be spored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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