Today is the official first day of Winter. The solstice is upon us, and this year it seems to be a bit balmy in temperature with a high of 70 degrees and random fits of rain showers… and just last year we were watching snow fall on Christmas day, then digging out on Boxing Day. Don’t get me wrong. I love our seasons and milder climate. I’ve celebrated Christmas in tropical climates and much colder northeastern US climates. About a month of brisk Winter weather is fine by me… as long as it’s chilly enough to break out the Christmas sweater on Christmas day.
Speaking of Christmas, and movies and cookies, we’re just a couple days away from Santa’s visit and I don’t know about you, but I like to save my favorites for the finale. One of those favorites is “Miracle on 34th Street”, the original black and white version please. It’s a sweet story and deserves a sweet classic cookie, that also happens to make a great hostess gift when paired with a hot cocoa mix. I found this recipe for Candy Cane Biscotti. Though it’s somewhat step intensive (mixing dough, baking dough, slicing then baking again, dipping in white chocolate and sprinkling with crushed peppermint bits), the results are quite pretty (and tasty). So, the extra effort pays off in a rewarding, “You made these for me?! They look too pretty to eat!”
Now, for our second movie and cookie pairing, “A Christmas Story” and White Chocolate Gingerbread Blondies. Gingerbread is one of the classic, timeless treats of the season (and so is “A Christmas Story). By this point, I’m looking for quick and simple. These mix-em-up-spread-em-in-a-pan-bake-and-eat blondies were the perfect match. The original recipe makes quite a big batch (great for parties). I didn’t need to make the whole recipe, so I adapted to make a smaller portion.
Here’s how I adapted the original recipe from Martha Stewart Living:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 6 ounces white chocolate chips
- Line the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat butter and both sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add egg, mixing well, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Beat in vanilla and molasses.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the spices, baking soda, salt and flour.
- Gradually add flour mixture to the creamed mixture, beating on low speed until just combined.
- Stir in the white chocolate chips by hand.
- Spread the batter in the prepared pan and place in center of oven to bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Let the blondies cool in the pan or on a wire cooling rack. Cut in squares when cool, and enjoy with a glass of cold milk.
Cheers, and the warmest wishes for a joy filled Christmas holiday to all the Localistas out there!