Going Through The Stack

Each year, a key step in the cookie-baking process is going through my stack of tried and true recipes — some of which were singed around the edges by s close encounter with a stovetop in 2014 — and deciding what to make this year. After the recipes are selected, it’s time to prepare the shopping list and hit the neighborhood grocery store before the morning rush really starts.

Every year, I try the new recipes I’ve posted on the blog, so that decision is easy enough. And for me, at least, it wouldn’t really be Christmas without iced sugar cutout cookies and Dutch spice cookies, so they’re in, too. And people seem to really like the cranberry hootycreeks, and they’re fun to make, so they’re in, too.

But what else should be pulled out of the stack? It’s decision time!

Double Oven Dreams

Lately, when I go into our kitchen, I am drawn to the shiny, aluminum-clad appliance in the far corner, next to the outside wall.  I look at it, and think about possibilities.  Happy, hopeful, heated, holiday possibilities.

It’s the double oven, of course.

IMG_7516_2A double oven may not be a big deal for those who’ve always had  one, but I’m not in that category.  I’ve only had a single oven, which has been . . . sufficient.  There aren’t many times when you really need two ovens.  But the holiday season is one of those times.  And now, with Thanksgiving only two days away and the Christmas cookie season right behind it, I think of what I might be able to accomplish with deft use of the double oven.

For Thanksgiving, the benefits of a double oven are obvious.  The turkey can be cooking away in one oven, perhaps with one or two other dishes, and the other oven can be used for warming pies, candied yams, rolls, a green bean casserole, and on and on.  No more desperate attempts at oven space management, trying to jam every course into the nooks and crannies around the turkey in a doomed bid to get everything hot and ready to serve at the same time.  In short, the double oven affords the luxury of ample space.

For Christmas cookie baking, the potential benefits are different.  The double oven should allow me to maximize efficiency and eliminate the down times, when I’ve got a sheet of cookies ready to bake but I’m waiting for those in the oven to finish.  I look at the shiny aluminum facing and I think of Dutch spice cookies turning a rich golden brown in the top oven as I’m loading a tray of Cranberry hootycreeks into the bottom unit.  An efficiency expert would undoubtedly be able to calculate how much time I might save by deft use of the double oven options.  It will require careful planning and sequencing, of course, but I’m eager to tackle the challenge.

And now I wonder — do I have enough counter space for all of these cookies?

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes (2010) (Cont.)

I like a good chewy cookie, and these fill the bill.  They also are a bit different to make, and a good change of pace cookie on a long day of baking.

Cranberry Hootycreeks

Ingredients:  5/8 cup all-purpose flour; 1/2 cup rolled oats; 1/2 cup all-purpose flour; 1/2 teaspoon baking soda; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/3 cup brown sugar; 1/3 cup white sugar; 1/2 cup dried cranberries; 1/2 cup white chocolate chips; 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

Today's batch of cranberry hootycreeks

Layer these ingredients in a large jar, in the order listed.

Other ingredients:  1/2 cup softened butter; 1 egg; 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a cookie sheet.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together butter, egg, and vanilla until fluffy.  Add the entire jar of ingredients, and mix together by hand until well blended.  Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool for 2 minutes, then move to a plate.

2009 Christmas Cookie Recipes