Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Dog's Favorite Christmas Cookies

Cody, a.k.a. The Codeman, my dog, is a complex canine. He loves Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney and choral music; he seems to enjoy watching the news, although for some reason he intensely dislikes one of our local meteorologists, and he also hates sports reports (too many people running, waving their arms and throwing things). And -- he likes spice cookies. Loves them, in fact. Loves them so much that he can launch his arthritic 13-year-old body into a perfect vertical jump onto the sofa in an attempt to coerce a cookie-eating human to give him a piece.

Here's the recipe of the cookies he loves. I like 'em pretty well myself. Unlike the Pfeffernuesse of my acquaintance -- hard little spicy nuggets that need about a week in a cookie jar to properly mellow -- these are soft, and spread out a bit, and are quite edible right out of the oven, although they too improve in flavor over the course of a few days.

Sour Cream Pfeffernuesse

3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 TBS butter
1/2 sour cream
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour (this is what the recipe says -- personally, I'd add a bit more)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper (don't be afraid)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
powdered sugar

In a large bowl beat granulated sugar, butter, sour cream, honey and vanilla until well blended.

Mix dry ingredients except for powdered sugar. Add to wet mixture and beat until a soft dough forms.

Divide dough into four pieces. With floured palms of hands, roll each piece of dough on wax paper to make a 3/4" thick roll about 10 inches long. Wrap and refrigerate up to three days. (You can also freeze up to six months.)

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice dough crosswise into 3/4" pieces. Place an inch apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until firm and lightly browned on edges.

Roll baked cookies, while still hot, in powdered sugar to cover, then place on rack to cool, out of reach of hungry little dogs.

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