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December 8, 2011

Belsnickle Cookies, so Christmas appropriate...


I was in the serious mood for baking this week.
There is nothing like baking good ginger spiced cookies around this time of the year.
The aroma, the flavor, the texture, and the spirit you feel...

I would like to introduce a very nice cookie recipe this week.
This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbook, "Cooking from Quilt Country" by Marcia Adams.
Yes, it is Amish cookbook (FYI; I am not an Amish..., but I adore them) and I found this German originated cookies are so Christmas appropriate.
It is soft ginger cookies with orange glaze on top.
Some calls them Belsnickle cookies - I like this name better for the season.

 Who is Belsnickle?
You will read at the picture below.

The beauty of this recipe is not just about the taste or the simpleness of how to make them.
These cookies freeze beautifully, which I always look into, so that I will always have fresh cookies ready whenever I need.
You can eat them right out of freezer and they are still soft and cake-like, only cold...

 Here are the ingredients. I used powdered buttermilk mixed in water.

 Add baking soda to milk and you shall see some serious foam on top. Set aside.

 In a mixing bowl throw sugar, molasses, eggs and oil

 Mix well until you see the dark side of a force turn into mud.
I forgot to take a important picture here (I'm getting older), but you need to add the buttermilk at this point.

 In a separate bowl sift flour, spices and salt altogether.

Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. 

Here is the batter. Yes, it will be quite thin, almost cake batter-like.
You need to let it sit for 15 minutes. It will thicken up a little.
BTW this cookie scoop is one gadget that I can't live without. Everybody seems to have their favorites. What is yours?

Drop by tablespoonful of batter on a lined baking sheet. 
See, the cookie scoop will be your life savor for this job because all the cookies will be same in size.

Put them in a hot oven, 325ยบ F. 
Enjoy the aroma and the beauty of brown roundness behind the glass.

While your cookies are baking, zest an orange.

 and squeeze out the fountain of their youth.

In a small bowl mix powdered sugar, orange zest and the juice, tiny piece of very soft butter, vanilla and a pinch salt. I had to increase the amount of glaze a little more than given amount.
I am a glaze lover...

 Mix altogether until you get a nice, somewhat thick, glaze.

When they comes out of oven, immediately transfer hot cookies onto a wired rack.

 Drizzle about 1 tsp of glaze on top of warm cookies

 and smear around just a little. The glaze will spread out on its own.

 I transferred them on to another baking sheet to let them set in the fridge.

I recommended to keep them flat in a ziplock bag with parchment paper in between the layers and store them in the freezer.
Snack them whenever you feel like...

 Soft, cakey, nicely spiced with hint of orange...
I am going to hand them out to my guests, 
and even to a very special visitor on the night before Christmas.
I bet he will love them.

I am tired,
and my kitchen is covered with the flour dust,
loads of dirty dishes and pans to wash
but I feel good.

Next week...
I will post another sweet treat that I made.
Until then
Have a holly jolly weekend, y'all.

 Belsnickle Cookies
(Soft Ginger Cookies with Orange Glaze)
Makes 3 1/2 to 4 dozen

1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark molasses
2 eggs
3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 cups plus 1 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 Tbsp butter, very soft
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp grated orange rind
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Speck of salt

In a small bowl combine buttermilk and baking soda and set aside. They will foam up. In a larger bowl combine oil, sugar,molasses and eggs and beat until well mixed (about 1 minute). Add the buttermilk mixture and blend. Sift together dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture. Let mixture stand 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto oiled cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 9 minutes until the top springs back when touched with your finger. Do Not overbake. The cookies should be quite soft.

While cookies are baking combine glaze ingredients. Remove cookies to wax paper lined wire rack. Frost while warm with 1/2 tsp of glaze for each cookie. Let cool completely. Transfer to trays and place in freezer to completely set if neccesary or to freeze for storage. Once frozen pack in tins in single layers seperated by wax paper. These freeze well.

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At December 8, 2011 at 1:22 AM , Anonymous Shuhan said...

oh i love the sound of these! just pronouncing it makes me feel all christmassy!

At December 8, 2011 at 8:31 AM , Anonymous Lyndsey@TheTinySkillet said...

These cookies are perfect for Christmas. I like the orange peel in the frosting. It reminds me of my grandma, she would make molasses cookies with pink frosting...just for me. Such good memories.

At December 8, 2011 at 3:38 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Hi Lindey
You must have been dear to your grandma. Pink frosting sounds so pretty.

At December 8, 2011 at 3:39 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Thanks Shuhan.
The smell of these cookies do bring Christmas feel to your kitchen, which I love...

At March 21, 2012 at 5:29 PM , Anonymous Jeanenecc said...

Holly! I too am a huge fan of Marcia Adams' book about Amish cooking. I used to watch her show years ago, and I still use many of the recipes, although I never bought the book. (I think I can still find it out there somewhere) I love the peanut butter pie, or wedding pie. I made half a dozen for my sister's bridal shower. Hope you guys are well. Jeanene


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