I had been growing up in Germany and obviously Thanksgiving had never been much of a big deal. Why? Someone actually asked me that… Well no pilgrims, no Indians, no Thanksgiving Day, that’s basically the explanation for the lack of it in an otherwise very holiday friendly German calendar. Now it’s one of my favorite holidays, in addition to the giving thanks part and for someone who likes to eat like me, it can’t get any better. We spend Thanksgiving Day with some dear and some new friends. The beauty about this had been, that these group of people are good friends since a long time and had once lived in the same city, now they are spread all over the continent and still come together to celebrate for many years. Keeping in touch and coming all the way to Atlanta for a couple of days every year is a major proof of their friendship and I admire their special relationship. In regards of food it couldn’t have been any better, I had been rotten spoiled this day.
As fast as Thanksgiving Day approached this year, it also passed by too quickly and everything is suddenly about Christmas. A tradition I liked to adopt is setting up the Christmas tree right at the beginning of December. Back in Germany I would have been waiting until a week before Christmas and some people are keeping up the tradition to trim the tree not before Christmas Eve. There is no better way to get into Christmas mood than getting tangled up in a chain of lights, sipping hot tea, nibbling cookies while listening to Christmas songs.
There might be endless recipes for Christmas cookies out there, but this one is for sure one of the easiest. Without getting my cookie cutters out, it comes down to mixing up some dough, pressing it into the skillet and baking it in the oven while I got lost hunting for the Christmas decoration in the basement (I am so not Indiana Jones).
Finally I came up the stairs with boxes full of tacky snowmen and ornaments, a scent of Christmas tree and fresh baked cookies with a hint of warm spices filled my home and made it smell like Santa’s house somewhere at the North Pole minus the reindeer stink. The cookie wedges have a gooey, soft center and come in thick slices, great for dipping into hot chocolate. Are you doing some decoration and baking these days? I am just getting started. Stay tuned for more sweet treats all December long.
- 250 g / 8.8 oz. all-purpose flour, unbleached (about 2 cups)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt
- 15 g / 0.5 oz. all natural unsweetened cacao
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- ¼ tsp. ground allspice
- ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
- 170 g / 6 oz. unsalted butter, softened (¾ cup)
- 50 g / 1.8 oz. granulated sugar
- 200 g / 7 oz. light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 200 g / 7 oz. raisins or dried cranberries
- Preheat your oven to 175 C / 350 F. Grease a 10 inch ovenproof skillet, preferable cast iron skillet.
- In a medium bowl, measure and mix flour, baking powder, salt, cacao and spices, set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add the egg and continue mixing for one more minute.
- Add dry ingredients one third at a time, mix just until combined to prevent over mixing. Add dry fruits and mix shortly. The dough is on the firmer side and you may need to use a wooden spoon to stir once more to make sure there are no flour pockets and the dry fruits are well contributed.
- Place dough into the prepared skillet, press with your fingers to distribute evenly. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack and cut into wedges, serve with ice cream, caramel or chocolate sauce. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.