Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Simple Sugar Cookies and Christmas is Comin'

It's December and that means the holidays are upon us. I don't know about you guys but I have already been pre-gaming for weeks (seriously guys, my body is made of cookies and mulled wine right now). With just a week left to go, I am frantically running around trying to collect some last minute gifts that are both thoughtful and useful because let's face it, when everyone on your list is older than you, you realize that cute pair of tongs that look like a monkey with cymbals is just not going to be appreciated in the same way you think it would.

Luckily, I have many distractions to keep my mind otherwise occupied.

The Advent Collection! To be fair, the penguin one is from last year and it's a somewhatkindofnotvery useful tool to learn German. Oh, and the Mini Mani Manor Advent Calendar from Ciaté is just . . . okay, no excuses, I just really wanted to spoil myself (I've only had an Advent Calendar once in my childhood!)

Then there was also Nikolaustag on the 6th, which as I've mentioned last year, is the day St. Nick comes by and drops off sweets to all the good chickadees of the world. So to all you non-believers out there, here is the proof:

Oh, you thought I meant the proof that St. Nick is real? Psych! I meant the proof that I've been good.

I also went to a few Christmas Markets. Here are a few shots from the one in Spandau (my first one this year!)

It was such a nice market! Way better than some of the central ones. If you are in Berlin and can visit the one in Spandau, I do recommend it!

Now I did mention cookies earlier, didn't I? I invited my friend Jaqueline over to make some sugar cookies with me a week ago. I've been experimenting with cookies for the past few months now so I decided to just kinda whip them up without a recipe and it turned out really well! They are very simple so it's important to use good ingredients, especially good vanilla extract. I've been making my own vanilla extract from some pods I ordered when I was back in NY and they have just taken my cookies to another level. You obviously don't have to make your own extract, but if you can splurge a bit, please use quality ingredients!

Simple Sugar Cookies
Makes 4 trays of cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (I used raw brown sugar)
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup vegan margarine
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 packet (about 2 tsp) vanilla sugar
3 tbsp non-dairy milk (I used rice)
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

In a mixing bowl, cream your margarine together with the sugar. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter mixture, a third at a time, mixing along the way. Once it's well incorporated, the texture should be a bit sandy. Now add non-dairy milk, a tablespoon at a time (note: if you need more milk, add a tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a ball but is not sticky). Flour your surface and your rolling pin. Roll out the dough in segments, cutting out shapes with a cutter or knife and adding extra dough to the remains.

Place on a tray with baking paper and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. Take them out and cool before adding any type of frosting. Guten Appetit!


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