Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Carols, Cookies and Christmas Cheer

The holiday season is in full swing, and though this is the most busy time for some, it's actually a bit slower in our household, believe it or not. The preceding months were absolutely action packed, and try as I might, I did not get to do nearly enough blog-worthy kitchen experimentation. 

Every holiday season, I attempt to add another cookie to my highly selective baking repertoire (find two of our other favorites HERE and HERE). As a prerequisite, the recipes I repeat must be both very easy to master and predictable in outcome. Nothing bothers me more than doing everything exactly the same and getting a less than stellar result, but such is life with baking, and that's why to this day, I will always prefer to cook. 

This year I have had a bit of an inexplicable thing for shortbread (all my life I had no idea it was so easy to make, often with only 3 ingredients in the dough! ) so Ina Garten's Shortbread Jam Thumbprints drew me in almost immediately. After one test run for half this large-batch recipe, I was convinced that it was totally foolproof. A baker I am not, but I know a good cookie when I taste one. 

You'll find the link to the recipe in the photo below
. You can make them ahead and freeze them too! I used unsweetened Coconut Flake whereas the Contessa calls for sweetened. I think ours came out delicious. Pull them just when the coconut stars to get slightly golden. You can't miss! 

Ina's Jam Thumbprint Cookies - Click HERE for Recipe! 
Next up, with all sugar and holiday treats around, I set out to bake an ever so slightly more virtuous treat for my family, one a little less sweet, maybe a little more biscuit like, but still satisfying over a cup of tea or, for the little one, a sippy cup of Milk. 

Arrowroot Flour always catches my eye in the health food store, and I've always been curious about it.  Given this, it only made sense that I should try and recreate a childhood favorite, Arrowroot Cookies. Turns out Arrowroot itself is pretty interesting.  It is a tropical tuber and is native to Indonesia, though is widely used across the eastern world in particular. The starch from derived from this tropical root, commonly referred to as Arrowroot Flour, is known for being easily digestible and satisfying. It was prized in ancient South and Central American cultures particularly. Arrowroot, as the colonists renamed it sometime in the mid 1600's, is almost certainly derived from an Arawak word "aru-aru" which means "meal of meals."   

Once I got my hands on a super simple recipe from another blogger, I was pleased both by how fast the easy dough came together, the equally quick bake time and of course the results. The original recipe from Someone's In The Kitchen Blog appears below with my only change, the addition of a 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon, a favorite spice in our house, and the fact that I used light brown sugar instead of dark. Either would work. 

Kids and adults of all ages will enjoy these simple, homey treats, and you will love the cost savings as compared to other kid's crackers. You could get creative and cut the dough into letter shapes, stamp it, decorate with a fork as I did, or even engage your kids in the effort. 

Enjoy and I hope the holiday season is as stress free and fun as possible! 

Simple Cinnamon Arrowroot Biscuits
Lightly Adapted from Someone's In The Kitchen
Yields 25-30 Cookies 

Simple Arrowroot Cookies - So many possibilities! Photo: NK 


1/4 cup butter brought to room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon 

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a KitchenAid or using a hand blender, combine butter and brown sugar together until creamy

Add vanilla and egg and beat well.

Sift together flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon if using.

Combing dry ingredients with egg mixture and mix until incorporated. 

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into about ¼ inch thickness.  

Cut into desired shapes and put
 cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet, not too far apart as they will not spread out when baking. 

Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool on rack.

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