Mick Telkamp

Mick Telkamp

Christmas cookies with herbs
Holiday cookies made with garden herbs: ginger snaps, lavender meringue cookies and rosemary-orange marmalade cookies.

How soon do you start baking your Christmas cookies?  Just a couple of weeks from the big day and I’m already feeling behind on my holiday preparations. Ho ho ho. Getting a slight jump by baking some of the cookies now — including some cookies made with garden herbs — removes at least one thing from the “to do” list during the mad scramble that takes place somewhere around the end of the world, if the Mayans are to be believed.

Baking cookies for the holidays is a tradition we are happy to sink our teeth into. And we all know what that secret ingredient is (yes, mom. It’s love). But some not-so-secret ingredients from the garden are making their way in this year too. Using herbs grown at home puts a little extra “home” in that homemade and the wonderful flavors that come from using fresh herbs (and some we dried ourselves) bring an elegant complexity to these holiday treats. Here are three holiday cookie recipes with flavors straight from the garden.

Ginger Snaps

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 cup sugar (for rolling)

Combine flour, baking soda, salt cinnamon and cloves together in a bowl and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together in mixer.

Add sugar, brown sugar, molasses, egg, ginger and flour mix to bowl and mix until fully combined.

Refrigerate for one hour to firm.

Form into 1 1/2” balls, roll in sugar and space 2” apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Using the bottom of a glass, press cookies flat.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, until edges begin to brown.

Lavender Meringue Cookies

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons dried lavender
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 drops purple food coloring

Combine sugar and lavender in food processor until lavender is reduced to dust.

In stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

Add sugar/lavender slowly and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Add food coloring and continue to beat until color is even.

Spoon meringue into a large Ziploc bag.

Cut a small hole in one corner of the bag and pipe meringue into dollops onto baking sheets sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake 45 minutes at 225 degrees. Turn off oven and allow to cool completely before removing cookies.

Rosemary-Orange Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup butter, room temp
2/3 cups sugar
1 T  fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup almonds, crushed
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup orange marmalade

Cream butter and sugar together in mixing bowl.

Add rosemary, almonds, salt and flour and mix well.

Refrigerate one hour to firm.

Form into 1 1/2 “ balls and arrange on an ungreased baking sheets.

Press a hole into the center of each cookie with your thumb and fill with marmalade.

Bake 18 minutes at 350 degrees.

Allow to cool completely before removing from baking sheets.

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