I almost didn’t make a sweater for this year’s cookie exchange, because really how many Christmas sweaters does a girl need? But at very nearly the last minute I decided to make a Totoro-yoked sweater, which is festive without being so holiday specific.
I based the colorwork on the charts for these mittens and the yoke shaping on the Elizabeth Zimmerman percentage system. The sweater was a big hit at the office and at the party. Now what will I make next year…?
On to the cookies!
I got the idea for this recipe at the Dicken’s Faire, where my sister got some lackluster hot buttered rum. I actually made a version last year to give out for Christmas presents, and they were really addictive even though they didn’t taste very much like the drink that inspired them. Stupidly, I did not write down the recipe and had to recreate it from memory this year. In honor of them still not being very hot buttered rumish, I’m calling this version
Spiced Rum Cookies
2 ¾ cup flour [add ¼ more if you plan to make cut-out cookies]
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup softened butter
1 ½ cup sugar [a mix of white and brown is nice]
1/4-1/2 cup dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix together dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugars, then mix in the egg.
Mix in half the dry ingredients, then the rum and vanilla, then the rest of the dry ingredients.
Roll into balls and coat with sugar (a 2-1 mix of granulated and turbinado is nice).
Bake for 10-11 minutes on a greased cookie sheet. Let stand 1 minute before removing to cooling rack.
Replacing the rum with apple sauce or apple cider makes a very pleasant non-alcoholic version, although be sure to cut the sugar down by at least 1/2 cup if you do so. I cut 1 whole cup, and the cookies were still plenty sweet.
A note about shortening: The texture of the rum cookies is quite different when using shortening vs. butter. The shortening dough comes out a little more like bread dough than cookie dough, and the resulting cookie is like a scone hybrid. The apple sauce/cider version doesn’t have this issue.