There are so many things to love about the month of December. Going shopping for a Christmas tree is always a treat. We make it a family affair with our girls, my husband’s parents and my sister-in-law and her husband. After we’ve all found the perfect tree, tied it to our respective vehicles we head back to my mother-in-law’s house for a nice family dinner. It’s one of my favorite things of the season closely followed by decorating the tree. While jovial Christmas music floated through the air, Maddy had fun putting decorations on and Molly had fun taking all the decorations off. It truly was a one step forward, two steps back type of operation.
We have plenty of other traditions too that I can’t wait for like decorating my father’s tree this on Saturday. Each year they wait for all us “kids” to come up to my dad’s house to decorate and share a big dinner together afterward. There’s also our annual family viewing of A Christmas Story. Although, I’ve mentioned to Mike that I’m not so sure this is a tradition meant for our little girls. This year we may have to watch it after they’ve gone to bed and perhaps institute a new family tradition. I vote for the first annual family viewing of The Polar Express. I don’t know that Mike would get behind that but I know that I could get the majority vote with the entire rest of the family. I think Mike would be odd man out on that vote because we all love that movie.
I also love that in December baking cookies gets kicked into high gear. Obviously, I bake all year-long but I find that I rarely ever make cookies but once December comes along it’s all out those little nibbles. This year I made Rugelach for the first time and Linzer Cookies were a first as well but why stop there? I like trying new recipes and this one is no exception. These Cinnamon Swirl Cookies are ones that I have made A LOT of this year! I’m talking about 15 DOZEN. I kid you not!
One of the other things I absolutely adore about December is that our social calendar is pretty full and this year it’s been all about “Cookies & Cocktails” parties. I had never been to one and this year I’m attending two. My friend Amber hosted one this past weekend and let me tell you, she knows how to throw a party. There were plenty of cookies, my favorite being these Salted Caramel Butter Bars that Shelly made. Make them. Right now! I assure you, you need those in your life. Of course there were cocktails and quite the spread of meats, cheeses, crackers, dips and so much more. Wow! Not to mention, cookies to go. This weekend my friend, Mike and his wife are also hosting one and I can’t wait!
Lightly spiced with cinnamon and sugar, these little cookies are thin, a little crisp with almost a shortbread consistency and I love their festive swirly appearance. They’re the perfect for a cookie exchange, a dinner party or just as a little treat after a family dinner. Oh and if you need to make an exorbitant amount, they’re perfect for that. You can make the dough the day before then just slice and bake the cookies the next day. Easy.
Crisp little cookies swirled with cinnamon flavor.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon extract
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon red gel food coloring
- 1 tablespoon sanding sugar, plus more for coating
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Using a mixer, in a large bowl cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla just until combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and beat just until combined.
- Split the dough in half and wrap half in plastic wrap.
- To the remaining dough, add the cinnamon extract, cocoa powder and food coloring and beat until incorporated. Wrap this dough in plastic wrap as well and refrigerate both pieces of dough until firm, about an hour.
- Roll each dough ball out to a 10x11-inch rectangle on a piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour. Place the red dough on top of the plain dough and roll over once or twice more gently. Remove the top piece of parchment paper.
- Trim the edges to even everything up. In a small bowl, combine the ground cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sanding sugar and sprinkle evenly over dough.
- Starting from a short end, tightly roll into a log and then roll the finished log in sanding sugar. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice 1/4-inch thick slices and place them 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes until puffy and lightly golden on the bottom. Rotate and switch the pans from top to bottom and bottom to top halfway through the baking time.
- Cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine.