Friday, May 7, 2010

Spice Cookies-- Perfect for a Rainy Day!

Let me preface this post by saying that I am a complete nut over ebay's Daily Deals. A couple weeks ago, I got a pair of silicone baking mats for $7 (Prices start at around $10 a piece usually, so I was quite pleased with myself). And wow. I am IN LOVE. No greasing, no burning, no sticking and hardly any clean-up! Love, love, love. Anything to make my baking experience a little easier!

Anyway. Now to the good stuff!

Yup, that's my sorority sister and me, in our own homemade craft. It is sea-worthy! Yaaar! :]

My sorority had our first big philanthropy event last weekend-- a recyclable-material boat building competition with races across the campus pool. We invited all of the other Greek sororities and fraternities and with each invitation, we've been bringing cookies for their active bodies. The chapter that I coached, the Triangle fraternity, is actually my sororities's brother fraternity, a group also geared towards students in science and engineering. Since they're such a special group to us, I decided I wouldn't just bring them a package of store-bought cookies. They deserved something a little more thoughtful and unique!

Spice cookies are very reminiscent of ginger snaps, but with a lot more kick than just the usual snap. I made small ones, so there's more to "share" and you feel like you can eat more because they're so small (bwahaha, yes I know that's cheating). But they're wonderful with a cup of tea and when I made them yesterday, it was gloomy and grey outside, so the house seemed especially cozy with the smell of cookies wafting around. "But, Annie!" you say, "You live in San Diego, isn't it supposed to be sunny all of the time?" Ah yes. Thank you for this tremendous amount of abnormal rain, El Nino. Luckily, the day of the race was gorgeous and one of the first days of really good weather we've had down here for a while.

By the way, my team took second! I'm so proud of my Triangles. Good job guys. Maybe it was the bacon cookies I made for them on the day of the race, but they definitely showed everyone what they were made of that day! Can't wait to see how things go at next year's race! :D

And OMG go buy a silicone baking mat soon if you haven't already! A definite MUST for the baking enthusiast. I really can't stop raving about them! *squee*

Spice Cookies (adapted from Martha Stewart)
3 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 c sliced almonds

1. Line 2 mini loaf pans with plastic wrap.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed for 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs and spices. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions.
3. Press cookie dough into pans, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Freeze for 1 1/2 hours (or up to 1 month).
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from 1 pan. Let soften slightly. Cut eight 1/8-inch-thick slices with a sharp knife. Cover remaining dough, and freeze in pan until ready to slice and bake.
5. Place slices 1 1/2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat. Top each with 2 to 3 almond slices. Freeze until firm, 5 minutes. Bake until dark golden brown, 10 minutes. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack. Repeat.

* I made a batch without almonds. Still yummy!

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