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St. Nicholas Day 2015

Weeks before Christmas Day arrives, a cherished European holiday provides a special opportunity for Americans to spread joy to others through simple gifts and acts of generosity. December 6 is St. Nicholas Day, and much like its namesake, this feast highlights the spirit of sharing through simple gifts from the heart.

Each December, I love to share a quick and easy recipe, plus creative packaging ideas, for those who wish to embrace the spirit of St. Nicholas and share a gift from their kitchen. At a time when shopping, wrapping, mailing, and decorating are all on our to-do lists, simplicity is essential, so this year’s recipe is Gingersnaps. These spicy cookies, with the perfect balance of sweetness and spice, capture the flavor of traditional gingerbread cut-out cookies, but in an easy drop-cookie form.

This recipe is an adaptation of one given to me 40 years ago by a co-worker. They were a part of many of our Christmas celebrations until I misplaced the recipe several years ago. Imagine my excitement when I rediscovered it this fall, tucked into the pages of a favorite cookbook. It was like finding an old friend. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family and friends have through the years.

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

-Christy

Gingersnaps

Ingredients:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add molasses and egg, and beat 1 minute more; set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger until they are well blended. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture with a large spoon until they are well combined.

Lightly grease cookie sheets. Roll teaspoons of dough into small balls between floured hands and place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake 13 to 15 minutes until the cookies are done, remove them from the oven, sprinkle with sugar, and allow them to cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet. Transfer the cookies to a rack until they are completely cool; then store in airtight containers.

Yield: 3 ½ dozen cookies