I think that most foodies and cooks will agree that the parts of the holiday season that produce the most enjoyment involve food. We look forward to the elaborate meals, the home-made specialities and appreciate the effort that people put into entertaining family and friends.
There are several treats that always signal Christmas in my family. Two of which I thought that I would share:
Though the name implies that these should be snappy, I also like them when they’re still a tiny bit chewy. You can do either with this recipe depending on how long you bake them.
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
600 g granulated sugar
1 cup molasses
2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp water
780 g all purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking soda
4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
In a bowl or mixer, mix together butter and sugar but do not cream them. Too much air in the recipe will cause the cookies to spread too much and they will look like lace cookies.
Add the remaining wet ingredients.
Mix together all of the dry ingredients and then slowly add them to the wet. The mixture will be a little bit dry and may require that you use your hands.
Refrigerate the dough and when ready, roll it into balls and press down with a fork.
Bake at about 350 or 325 in a convection oven until they are slightly brown on the edges. This will take about 6 or 8 minutes depending on your oven.
The ground cardamom is really tasty in this recipe and can be found at most supermarkets but can certainly be omitted if you don’t have it.
Caramel Corn or Poppiecock
This recipe is very easy to make and relatively affordable. I like to make it for Christmas gifts for friends. It can be made as plain caramel corn but that’s boring so I add a melange of nuts. You can use salted or use unsalted and season them yourself. Salted caramel is always delicious.
1 cup butter
½ cup dark corn syrup
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Salt to taste
6 litres popped corn
Mix together all the ingredients except for the popped corn in a sauce pot and place on medium heat.
Let the mixture heat until it is nearly at a boil. It will bubble quite a bit and the sugar will dissolve into toffee sauce. Watch it carefully as it will boil over if it gets too hot.
In a large bowl, toss the hot sauce with the popped corn. Try to coat it well but be gentle so that the corn doesn’t break into little pieces.
Pour onto two parchment-lined baking sheets and bake at 325 or 300 if you are using a convection oven.
Toss the corn with a spatula every five minutes or so and bake until the caramel puffs a little bit. It will become slightly lighter in colour as well.
Allow to cool while gently tossing with a spatula. All of this tossing will help to keep the corns loose rather than having one big caramel corn sheet.
Package in Ziploc bags when cool and eat within a week or two. If the corn gets a little soggy it can be freshened up in the oven for a few minutes.
Posted by Andrew