Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

The sun has set this Christmas day, and I type this as we've reached a lull in the action of our day.  I'm drinking tea, and Dan is napping on the couch.  Not that there's really been too much action.  Wedecided that this year we'd spend a quiet day, just the two of us, free from the strains of company and a dinner deadline.  No time schedules today.  No planning around anyone else but us.  Sound selfish?  Good.  That's what we were going for.

It's been a good Christmas so far.  We ate a killer breakfast that included potato cakes and poached eggs.  Expect more on that later.  After we'd digested a bit and talked on the phone to our families in their parts of the country, we went for a walk.  Someone ordered sunshine today, and the weather gods relented, giving us clear skies as the short afternoon turned to dusk.  We sojourned to our community garden to pick rosemary and sage for our dinner tonight.  Then we pseudo-hiked through Ravenna Park, the wooded ravine near our apartment with trails cutting through amongst giant trees and ferns and other greenery that almost lets you feel like you're walking in the woods.  The sun and the park turned into a great prize in the Cracker Jack box of our day.

These cookies are another prize.  This is my third year of making them, but the first time I've made them gluten-free.  I found the recipe through Vegetarian Times, and fell immediately in love.  The cookies are a spicy, gingery and crisp with crystallized ginger and chopped walnuts throughout.  These little gems are coated with a lime glaze that completely contrasts the spice with its tangy sweetness.  They are my favorite holiday cookies.

You may be wondering why there's a cactus in that picture up there.  That's our Christmas cactus.  I bought it three years ago to stand in for the tree, back when Dan and I were living in a teeny little apartment that in no way could accommodate a tree.  What better to sub in than a red and green cactus in a green pot?  We put silver beads on its spines and haven't considered replacing it with a real tree since.  No effort, no mess, just move it from the windowsill to the table and, blam.  Christmas.

We do things a little bit differently around here, if you hadn't guessed.

So here you go.  A cookie recipe. I have a feeling that most of you have already baked and eaten enough goodies to last you through until next holiday season, but here I am, on my own schedule, with my own agenda.  Merry Christmas.

Ginger Gems
makes 24-30 cookies

1 C. sorghum flour
1/2 C. brown rice flour
1/ 2 C. potato starch
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
2/3 C. sugar
1/4 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 T. blackstrap molasses
1 T. vanilla extract
1/4 crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1/4 C. walnuts, finely chopped
juice of 2 limes
2 C. powdered sugar

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 8 ingredients until well blended.
  • In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and softened butter until fully creamed.  This can also be done with a mixer, but I like the work out.  Add the oil, molasses, vanilla and 1/4 C. warm water and whisk until well combined.  Stir in the crystallized ginger and walnuts.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a little at a time, and stir until just combined. 
  • Drop spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto a greased baking sheet, pop 'em in the oven and bake 11-13 minutes.  The cookies should look dry and be a little bit soft and springy when prodded with a finger.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes on the pan, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • While the cookies are cooling, put the powdered sugar in a bowl and add the lime juice.  Stir the glaze until smooth.  If it's too dry, add more lime juice.  Too wet, add more sugar.
  • Once the cookies have cooled, dip their tops into the glaze and place on waxed paper to dry.  
  • Eat, enjoy, and be merry.



    1. I've been reading that a lot of people opted for a quiet and relaxing Christmas, I like that idea a lot. That cactus is just gorgeous. It has given me some ideas for decorations next year down here in Mexico. And those ginger cookies look delicious.

    2. These look great. I just got some sorghum flour
      and this looks like a good way to try it out


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