Christmas Cookies, Part 4: Spice Stars

These are my favorite.  And up until this year, it was pretty much a guarantee that nobody in the house liked these but me.  It’s a very spicy, not-too-sweet dough that contains both white and black pepper.  These cookies start out beautifully warm, and then give you a kick.  I love them.  They are all mine.  Or they were.  This year I caught Redman dipping a finger into the dough when my back was turned.  “That’s spicy,” I warned, “You probably won’t like it.”  He tasted warily, then beamed at me.  “It’s great!!”

Little shit…

Here’s the recipe, and I as I always say to my friend Claudia, “Smartass commentary optional.”

Spice Stars

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (Breathe)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup (Breathe.  It’s OK, it’s Christmas.  Original recipe calls for dark corn syrup.  I used “lite” syrup and it’s fine.  Or you could do 3/4 cup lite syrup and 1/4 cup molasses)
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 5 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (Mmmm, yes, Debbie, yes)
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • White nonpareils, or sanding sugar

Melt butter with sugar, corn syrup and vinegar in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

Sift flour, baking soda, spices and salt into the bowl of your mixer, or go get your ziplock bag if you pre-measured.  On low speed, gradually add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients.  Once incorporated, stir in eggs until batter is very smooth.

Divide the dough into two portions, wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into a disk and refrigerate at least 3 hours.  OR freeze, this freezes very well.  If frozen, let thaw in refrigerator overnight

Preheat oven to 350.  Divide each disk in half, roll out on lightly flour surface.  Cut shapes and transfer to baking sheet.  Sprinkle with nonpareils (and if anyone can tell me how to sprinkle nonpareils on cookie dough without them rolling and spilling all over the damn place, you get a batch free)

Bake cookies until edges are golden brown, 7-8 minutes.  Let cool on wire racks.

Divine with a cup of coffee.  Celestial with a glass of red wine.  Unbeatable at three in the morning when you’re just passing through the kitchen to get some water.



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