When Ponny and I were first married we went all out for Christmas. We cut down our own tree and strung it with lights, played Christmas records and hung matching stockings–even one for our cat, Bisou. For the past couple years though, as we’ve gotten busier and the novelty of decorating just for the two of us wore off, we’ve kept our holiday celebrations low key and mostly food-based. This year we have a really good reason for a music and lights kind of Christmas: for the first time, we’re a family of four (I’m counting Bisou in there)!
This year is all about starting our little family’s holiday traditions, and while some will have to wait until Will is older, I have a few in mind that I’ll start this year. First, I plan to start sending Christmas cards. It’s a thoughtful way to stay in touch with friends and family who live far away, as well as a good excuse to get some nice family pictures taken every year. I used Basic Invite to print these cards and the experience couldn’t have been easier. The only reason it took me a while to design my cards is that there were so many modern Christmas cards to pick from and then I had to play with all the fonts and colors (literally 180 colors!).
I went with a simple design that showcased a family picture snapped by our friend, Lukas. I couldn’t pass up the pretty script and just tweaked the stars so they’re muted gold instead of white, then slightly adjusted the placement of the text. You can easily change fonts, move text and images, and change the color of any element, so the cards are truly customizable. And Basic Invite will address your envelopes for free, so all you have to do is add stamps and drop them in the mail. There is a very good chance I will actually send these out on time! They’re offering 30% off of holiday cards right now with the code HOLI30.
Second, I’m looking forward to starting some holiday food traditions. Growing up I always looked forward to my dad’s corn soufflé and Christmas morning hashbrowns and I want to have special Christmas food in our home, too. Ponny loves Brussels sprouts, a fairly traditional holiday side dish, but Will spits them out with a look on his face that says, “Why on earth would anyone eat these when they could have broccoli instead?” That’s right, my baby loves broccoli. So I’m planning a Christmasy take on broccoli for Will.
Cookies will be part of our family’s traditional Christmas foods, too. I love jam-filled thumbprint cookies and snowman-shaped sugar cookies glazed with royal icing, but no cookie tastes more like Christmas to me than a gingersnap. These are crispy around the edges and chewy in the center and they’re flavored with a spicy, aromatic blend of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. I dipped them in white chocolate to make them extra tempting but they’re also delicious plain, or dunked in cider.
White Chocolate-Dipped Gingersnaps
These cookies are crispy around the edges and chewy in the center and they’re flavored with a spicy, aromatic blend of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. I dipped them in white chocolate to make them extra tempting.
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour spooned and leveled
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup sugar plus more for rolling
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp fresh orange zest
- 12 oz. white chocolate optional
Preheat oven to 375º F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, 2-3 minutes with a stand mixer on medium speed. Beat in the egg, then the molasses, vanilla and orange zest.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients, mixing between each addition. Mix until just combined.
Fill a small bowl with some sugar. Roll the dough into tablespoon size balls, and roll in the sugar. Set on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for five minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Cool completely before dipping.
Melt half of the white chocolate in a double boiler, stirring constantly. Remove from heat as soon as the chocolate is all melted, and stir in the rest of the chocolate off heat. Dip cookies and place on a cooling rack to set.
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