First things first: It was no easy task to choose the winner of last week’s contest. There were so many great (and cheap!) gift ideas, but in the end there was one comment that really represented the spirit of the season. So with no further ado, the winner is… (drumroll, please)… Valeria! She suggested that the best thing to do with a holiday shopping budget (however small) is to help out folks in less fortunate parts of the world. A donation of 15 euros will buy Unicef with a polio vaccine and a thermal vaccine transport box.
“OK,” you say, “So I’ve donated my money and I’m going to give my friends a little card explaining that I bought them all polio vaccines for Christmas. But what can I put in their hands to make the gift feel a little more festive?”
Cookies of course!
These little butter cookies might look plain, but the deep flavors of maple and nutmeg make them anything but boring. One of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, is to thank for the recipe.
While we’re at it, here are a few other sweet gift ideas from my archives as well:
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 230 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 g) maple syrup
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in maple syrup and egg yolk until mixture is combined well. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg and salt. Fold flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 2 hours. Dough may be made 4 days ahead and chilled.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. On a floured counter, roll half the dough to 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness and cut into desired shapes. Leave the other half of dough in refrigerator until ready to use, then repeat the rolling and cutting process.
Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes each, or until lightly golden at the edges. Transfer to racks to cool. Cookies keep in airtight containers for a week