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Christmas Cookie

For the past six days or so I’ve been trying to catch up with my baking. I’ve baked thirteen different kind of cookies–two are double batches, too. Here’s one of my favorite recipes. It’s one of the most involved recipes I make because it involves grating fresh ginger and chopping crystallized ginger, but the cookies are worth all the work. Enjoy!

Spicy Ginger Cookies
2 2/3 C all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
2 t ground ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 ground allspice
1 C packed brown sugar
3/4 c softened butter
2 eggs
1 T honey
2 t grated ginger root
2 T finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 C sugar

Directions
Stir together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and allspice in bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar. Add molasses, eggs, honey, and ginger root. Beat until well mixed. Add flour mixture at low speed until well mixed. Stir in crystallized ginger. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar and place onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until puffed and centers just begin to set. Don’t over bake.

Makes about 60 cookies.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Carol Favorites

Christmas carols have been streaming out over the airwaves since the Monday before Thanksgiving. I don’t really mind because I love them. A friend of mind always reminds me that radio stations proclaim the birth of Jesus Christ for a whole month—and everybody sings along. A good thing, right?

Here are some of my favorites in no particular order:

1. Silent Night—I love playing this one on my piano. This is one of the few songs that I add notes to the left hand. The first time the notes happened was a serendipitous event. I didn’t plan to play the notes; my fingers just added them to the ones printed in the hymn book. Sweet experience. I especially like David Crowder’s rendition of this classic carol.

2. O Holy Night—This song seems holy in its own right to me.

3. Go Tell it on the Mountain—For the longest time, I thought this was simply a children’s song. It’s not. It’s gorgeous, particularly the James Taylor and David Crowder versions. Here’s David Crowder’s link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lO6HW7WgKFQ

4. Some Children See Him—This song brings tears to my eyes almost every time I hear it. I heard it first on James Taylor’s Christmas CD. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s49gEmTlOTk

5. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s words are beautiful and knowing that he was grieving his wife’s accidental death and his son’s tragic wounding in the Civil war when he wrote them adds to their beauty. The Casting Crowns’ arrangement is BEAUTIFUL. If you’ve never heard that one, treat yourself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK8xB1opuQ8

6. What Child is This?

7. Good Christian Men Rejoice

8. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing—I like that it’s featured in It’s a Wonderful Life.

9. Joy to the World—Years ago, the church I attended used this song as an incentive to donate to the Christmas fund. Whenever the amount given reached a certain dollar amount, we’d get to sing so many notes. Yes, we’d have to stop right in the middle of a measure if we hadn’t received the necessary amount to sing the notes. FRUSTRATING.

10. We Three Kings of Orient Are—The Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan version is really special.

11. And here are a few more that I love to play on the piano: It Came upon the Midnight Clear, Gentle Mary Laid Her Child, Away in a Manger, and O Come, All Ye Faithful. I’m sure I’m leaving out some great ones, but this is a pretty good start.

Just for fun here are some of my secular favorites:
1. Rudolf, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
2. Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas
3. Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
4. Up on the Roof Top
5. Here Comes Santa Claus
6. Winter Wonderland
7. Jingle Bells
8. Silver Bells
9. Silver and Gold
10. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Did I choose one of your favorites? What do you like to listen to at Christmas?