Cookie Day

For Thanksgiving, most everyone has traditions related to food. Usually they are related to the Thanksgiving meal itself.  For me it’s to go over the top and make some fancy dessert. For Joe it’s the unfulfilled desire for marshmallows on the candied yams (because I refuse to make it that way). But for my friend Jacey the best part of the holiday is the day after. In her family they have been baking cookies that day, all day, for…I dont even know how long, but it’s a long time.

Jacey and I used to be housemates, and cookie day was something that was looked forward to pretty much as soon as the weather got cold and talk turned towards the holidays. The cookies probably never lasted more than a week. Tops. More like only a couple of days.

The best were the peanut butter buckeyes. Those things are awesome.

Anyway, this year I got invited to cookie day. So, I headed down to Jacey’s parents’ house in Olympia for the afternoon last Friday to hang out, eat cookies and let Lilli work her magic on a grandpa just out of the hospital.  On the way I had a road buddy, Copper, who was also our housemate back in the day. We were pretty excited to see the magic in action.

Once we got there it was immediately clear that I would not be baking any cookies, but instead that I would be following Lilli around while she dismantled all their Christmas decorations. It worked out OK though, since I was totally unprepared and didn’t actually bring any cookie recipes to make. I had been thinking of chocolate crinkles, but I’ll have to save that recipe for another day.

Copper however, was very well prepared. After a recent trip to Germany, she had been inspired to get traditional wooden cookie presses. She made a dough and kneaded it for a while, then painstakingly pressed each cookie, dusting the press each time. She manually cut around each one, placing them on baking sheets to dry for a bit before baking. In the end I had to leave her there to get a ride back with another friend who was coming back to Seattle a little later than I. The cookies took longer than expected to bake and I had to leave kind of early to attend another Thanksgiving dinner. 

Even though I left early I did not return empty handed. The rest of the ladies had been busy since 8 o’clock that morning and there was lots of things to sample and bring home. I ended up the proud owner of a box piled high with goodies and a whole batch of peanut brittle. (If you ever find yourself with a whole batch of peanut brittle and some vanilla ice cream, please mix them together. You can thank me later.)

Just before leaving, I did finally help by make royal icing and even managed to decorate a couple of sugar cookies, but then had to go back to toddler corralling. 

Today, Tuesday, we have only a few cookies left of what I brought home, and about 1/2 of the peanut brittle. Lilli is partial to the peanut butter blossoms and the ginger cookies, but my favorite are the cardamom crescents, which come from a recipe in a magazine that Jacey’s mom had saved. 

We might have drunk a little champagne, discreet tumbler style.
I’m a sucker for cardamom, and they were at once buttery and light. I didn’t see how many the recipe made, so you’ll just have to make them for yourself and find out!

Cardamom Crescents

2 ½ cups flour
¾ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ cups powdered sugar, divided
1 cup pecans
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350ºF. 

Whisk 1st four ingredients in a medium size bowl and set aside.  In a food processor, pulse the pecans and 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar just until a coarse meal forms, and set aside.

Cream the butter with the vanilla. Add nut mixture, blending until just combined.  Add dry ingredients, blend well (dough will be moist but still crumbly).  Transfer to a work surface and knead until the mixture forms a ball, about 4-5 turns.
Measure 1 rounded tbsp of dough, and form into a ball. Roll into a log about 1½” long.  Gently bend into a crescent shape, pinching ends to taper (cookies may crack slightly).  Repeat with remaining dough, spacing about 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.

While baking, be sure to rotate sheets halfway through. Bake until bottoms are golden, 12 – 15 minutes.

Sift remaining 1 cup powdered sugar into a shallow wide bowl.  Working in batches of about 8 cookies each, roll warm cookies gently in powdered sugar to coat and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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