We have anxiously been awaiting the delivery of Cook Ise’s famous Christmas cookies. Cook Ise is the fabulous cook at the Church camp we attended for 8 years growing up. Besides making a mean mac’n cheese in the summer, Ise bakes heavenly cookies that we drool over each December. Our favorites include Russian teacakes and classic gingerbread men. But the best are her chocolate gingerbread Loon cookies. Yes, you read that right. Cookies in the shape of our state bird, the loon. So Minnesotan. So great.
But this year our order got lost in the mail. Oh no! A Christmas cookie nightmare! On top of this, we did not realize that our loons and gingerbread men were lost until today when we called Cook Ise, hoping to hear that they had just made a short stop to see Santa on the journey to our front door. But alas, there was no such Christmas miracle. The Grinch stole our order.
There was a moment of panic in our household. No gingerbread men? No loons? What were we dippers to do?
We strapped on our aprons and preheated the oven. Got out our spatulas and blasted Christmas music. One day before Christmas guests arrived…it was game time.
Four hours later the cookie containers were filled to the brim with…
Maple walnut spice cookies
Classic gingerbread cookies (men, stars, and trees!) And unlike many gingerbread recipes, this recipe did not require the dough to be refrigerated for hours. A quick fix that was perfect for the cookie rescue mission.
To finish, we whipped up dark chocolate walnut biscotti. Perfect for dipping in coffee or into a hot toddy.
Christmas 2012 is saved.
Merry Christmas! Happy double dipping!
Old Fashioned Gingerbread Cookies– adapted from eatliverun.com
makes about 4 dozen large man-shaped cookies
- 3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 T ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- Preheat the oven to 325.
- Combine the brown sugar, molasses, ground cloves, white pepper, cinnamon and ginger in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil on the stove for about three minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Take pot off the stove and add the baking soda (this is the exciting part!!!). Stir well.
- Add the butter, adding only a few chunks at a time and stirring well so each addition melts before the next. Add the egg and stir.
- Finally, add the flour and salt. The dough will be very soft and still warm, but roll out on a floured covered surface. Cut with cookie cutters or use a large glass to make regular shaped cookies.
- Bake for twelve minutes.
- Enjoy with family and friends!
Maple Walnut Spice Cookies – adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
makes about 2 dozen cookies
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir well with a whisk.
- Place brown sugar and ¼ cup vegetable oil in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add maple syrup and egg; beat until well blended.
- Beating at low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat until just combined.
- Form dough into 1 inch balls and place on non-stick baking sheet. Using thumb, press down middle of cookie and place a few toasted walnuts in indent.
- Bake for 14 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from baking sheet and let cool for 10 mintues.
Dark Chocolate Walnut Biscotti – adapted from Martha Stewart
makes about 24 biscotti
- Vegetable oil, for baking sheet
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for work surface
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a baking sheet with oil; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir in walnuts and dark chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Add to flour mixture; stir just until combined.
- On a lightly floured surface, with floured hands, pat dough into a loaf about 1 inch thick, 2 1/2 inches wide (and about 7 inches long); transfer to baking sheet. Bake until risen and firm, 20 to 25 minutes; cool completely on sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
- Place loaf on a cutting board, and using a serrated knife, cut diagonally into 1/4 inch-thick slices; place slices in a single layer on sheet. Bake, turning once, until dried and slightly golden, 25 to 30 minutes; cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 month.
- Enjoy with coffee or hot apple cider!