January 23, 2014

Winter Spice Cookies

HEY FRIENDS!!  Remember all that big big talk from me a couple weeks ago about how I looooooved January, and it was so calm blah blah, and so peaceful blah blah, and I was just way into January now, and I was going to totally embrace it, and most hilariously of all.....I said that I might even prefer it to the crazy chaos of December??

LIES. All lies. I'm amazingly good at lying to myself, and to my sweet blog friends it seems. Here's how I'm feeling right now:

hating January

can't get out of bed very well unassisted

very tired


sick of grey skies

not inspired to get business cards made for my photography, or do any of the 29 billion organizey things I should be doing

not inspired to clean my closet

apparently I have major allergies to either 1) our cats, or 2) our heating system, or 3) WINTER.

Andrew and I have noticed that EVERY YEAR it's the same. You know why it's the same? Because I have SAD. (seasonal affective disorder) This year it's a bit different though, because I knew it was going to slam into me mid-January like it always does, and instead of beating myself up about it, I've been saying out loud, 'I don't feel well right now, but it's going to get better', and I'm basically acknowledging the dark shroud of gloom, instead of freaking out about it.

I'm trying to eat a lot of fish (which maybe isn't a good idea if it's Pacific fish but that's another discussion) and upping my vitamins (I don't really take vitamins, so taking any vitamins at all is upping them) and I've been telling myself it's ok, and I have a warm house to live in and it's all ok.

Julia and I have been watching a lot of 'Frozen' song videos, and Idina Menzel 'Defying Gravity' videos, and I used what was left of my Amazon gift certificate from my mom-in-law to buy the 'Frozen' CD soundtrack.

Oh and we saw 'Frozen' again. SO AWESOME!!!

I have not been inspired to cook AT ALL. I just want to eat sushi all the time. I've been plumbing the depths of my cabinets and making things that will use up the pantry and fridge gunk that's been hanging around, like old ramen packets, canned baked beans on toast, omelets and biscuits (ok that's not gunk) and trying to use up the 5 open bags of various pasta shapes. I'm calling these Pantry Meals.

Andrew was like, 'is that a thing?', and I was like, 'It is now, my friend.'

And I made Nigel Slater's Winter Spice Cookies. These are them, what you see here, interspersed with my rambling. That's some whopping good English I just used there.

Here's the thing about Nigel. He's not your average sugar baking guy. His desserts don't have tons of 'sweet' to them, they have more 'depth' to them. That might be jarring for you at first. I am preferring the depth to the sweet these days, so I'm very ok with that notion.

Also, I think I made these cookies wrong, I think I was supposed to roll out the dough really thin, so that the cookies would be more crisp. Mine came out more soft and biscuity. Don't think you can leave out the rolling in the sugar part, because then they would be really biscuity, and not sweet enough. That's what I think anyway.

These are have-with-tea cookies, or cider or hot chocolate. You need a drink of some kind, because like I said, they are kind of biscuity. I'm not selling these very well. Julia and I really liked them! And they kept in perfect condition for a good week in a cooky tin.

WINTER SPICE COOKIES ~ via 'Ripe' by Nigel Slater


5 tablespoons butter (i used unsalted)
1/3 packed cup of light brown or muscovado sugar
2 heaping tablespoons dark molasses or black treacle
8 cardamom pods, crush the seeds (i used about a heaping half teaspoon of ground cardamom)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg yolk
3-4 tablespoons milk
confectioners' sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer or stand mixer until light and fluffy, then add treacle or molasses. Break cardamom pods and crush the seeds finely. (or use ground cardamom like I did) Add them to the mixture with the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and egg yolk. Beat in a couple tablespoons of milk, then slowly add more until you reach a point where the dough is soft enough to roll.

Bring the dough together, then roll out on a floured surface like pastry. Cut into rounds, moons, and stars. Lay on a lightly buttered baking sheet and bake 12-14 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack, then toss in confectioners' sugar.

~can't remember the yield, makes around 15 or 20? depends on the size you choose to cut them out.

(Apparently Nigel makes these during Christmastime and likes to have it with pear cider, and says they are the kind of cookies that are found all over Europe during the winter and holiday months. If you have not tasted treats with cardamom before, you are in for a delightful surprise -- it tastes like cinnamon's exotic cousin!)

Is it spring yet????? oh and here's Idina in full green Wicked Witch mode. SO FAB. I'm obsessed.


  1. These are so lovely and look so scrumptious.

  2. Big hugs to you! It's only 6 degrees here. Wind chill -15. It kinda sucks, especially since the girls were running around outside with jackets only a few days ago. The cookies look good! I'm trying to avoid baking right now. I made homemade mac and cheese a couple nights ago, even though I'm seriously trying to avoid too many carbs and cheese. Sigh. I want the cold weather comfort foods, but then they make me feel yucky. Frozen is awesome. Hope we get to see sing-along Frozen!

  3. I hope you'll feel better soon. I believe there is such a thing as an allergy to winter. I lived 20 years in the cold and I was constantly sick. Miraculously, all my ailments disappeared once I moved South. Well maybe the fact that I got married, got out of my home, away from my very controlling dad etc helped too ... I can say for sure that I really hated winter! But you now, Spring will be here soon enough so you'll blog about your garden again, and many fun things :) The cookies seem really good! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  4. January is bleh! I'm looking forward to February, when I can begin getting hyped about Valentine's Day. Oh, and my daughters and I are hosting a "Princess Dress Up Tea Party" on the first Saturday, which will certainly wipe away the January gloom. I hope you stay cozy and feel better soon.