Greetings from Lake Tahoe! We are lucky enough to spend the holiday here while house hunting, which is definitely a nice break from the wet, windy weather of the Puget Sound region this time of year.
We’re back at Heavenly, where we spent our first honeymoon together. A mere few blocks away is the lake and a wonderful place to take the dog for his morning walk. Seriously, does it get any better than this?!
Not long before we began our journey south, it was not-so-subtly pointed out to me that I did not make Hanukkah cookies this year. I have made these family favorites for the last twenty years, give or take, and it just doesn’t feel like the sugar season without them. The recipe is from my grandmother and, of course, I have tweaked it a bit over the years.
Usually, we make a double batch of the dough and we use both Christmas and Hanukkah cookie cutters (and a half-dozen icing colors, too). This year, however, we were anxious to get on the road so I used just the Star Of David and the snowflake cookie cutters and I made only two icing colors, white and blue.
All in all, not a bad way to travel: homemade cookies and a Starbucks coffee refill available at practically every highway exit.
♥ ♥ ♥
Makes about 6 dozen cookies
6 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups non-dairy butter (1 pound), room temperature (I prefer Earth Balance)
2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
EnerG Egg Replacer to equal 3 eggs
3 Tablespoons non-dairy milk or cream
1-1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract (I generally use vanilla extract in the cookie dough and reserve the almond extract for the icing)
Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the non-dairy butter on medium speed until soft. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the egg replacer, non-dairy milk /cream and the almond or vanilla extract; beat well.
Add the flour mixture to the non-dairy butter mixture and combine thoroughly. Divide the dough into thirds, place each third into a separate bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours, or overnight.
After chilling, work with one dough ball at a time; leave the remaining dough balls in the refrigerator until ready to use. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Lightly dust the work surface and the rolling pin with flour and then divide the dough ball into thirds again. Roll each third to 1/4-inch thickness*, cut into desired shapes and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until a light golden brown.
Remove from the oven to wire racks to cool. When cooled, frost as desired.
*I use these handy rolling pin rings to roll out a dough of uniform thickness which also helps with the baking time.
1-1/2 sticks non-dairy butter, room temperature (I prefer Earth Balance)
5 to 5-1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 to 7 Tablespoons non-dairy milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
Seasonal food colorings [make sure that your red food coloring does not list “Carmine“, “Cochineal”, “Carminic Acid” or “Natural Red 4” in its ingredients – it is all derived from crushed beetles (I am so not kidding)]
Beat the non-dairy butter on medium speed until soft. Alternately add the sifted powdered sugar and the non-dairy milk/cream and beat until smooth. Add the almond extract and beat just long enough to incorporate.
Divide the icing into smaller bowls to make the various colors. Decorate the cookies as desired.
Note: paste food colors will not thin the frosting.