A few weeks ago I fessed up to having an addiction to Anna Olson and her Food Network show Bake with Anna Olson. Thankfully, Scarlett shares my obsession and we can stop watching The Fresh Beat Band whenever the TV is on. I swear each episode gives us at least one more baked good we're dying to make. I think somewhere deep, down inside of me is a pastry chef waiting to happen. Unfortunately, it's not going to happen yet. I'm up to my eyeballs with what I've got on my dessert platter now. Even so, you won't stop me from baking, especially around the holidays.
On Monday, I introduced you to our best friends the Coutts family and their adorable kids Sophie, Chloe and Simon. We spent a day together doing some holiday baking–we gave the oven in our photographer Maya's studio a serious workout. We also fertizlized the floors with flour but that's something we won't speak of in front of Maya. I bet she's still finding it in weird spot. This might be a good time for me to mention I saw some of it tumble behind the new cabinet. Sorry Maya.
Photos by Maya Visynei
I found this recipe from Martha Stewart and I only switched all purpose flour for spelt. I know. I know. You're thinking "Why didn't Miss Baking Pants make up her own recipes." But the truth is folks I just didn't have time. We just been putting the finishing touches on our book so next year at this time while you're eating my original cookies recipe while flipping through our lovely book (you'll buy the book, right? What if I beg?) you'll understand why.
Now, if you've ever baked with four kids then you know there is a lot of discussion about who gets to do what and why that person gets to do it. This was something I wasn't used to since I have one kid who basically has to do everything while Mommy relaxes. Ok, that's not true but I'm hoping it will be one day.
Once we got the jobs sorted the kitchen hummed like a well-oiled machine and the kid's enthusiasm was palpable. (That might have been because of the flour everywhere though.)
Christmas Tree Cookies With Lemon Icing
2 1/2 cups spelt flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter an sugar with a hand mixer until creamy. Beat the egg and then add. Mix until combined. Add molasses until combined.
With the mixer on low, gradually had your flour blend and mix until combined. Remove your dough from the bowl and then wrap it plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to firm, at least an hour and up to 3 days.
Preheat oven to 350. Place rack on the top third and bottom half of the oven.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 2 inch wide triangles.
You don't have to be too fussy here. You'll notice some of our trees were more bushes or hedges but it really didn't matter. We were having too much fun to worry about the fact we were making the Griswald family tree.
Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper 1-inch apart form each other. Bake until cookies are firm and lightly browned on edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
By the end of the day, we'd eaten a lot of these trees. As far as I was concerned, the over abundance of treat or calories didn't count. After all, what are the holidays are for?