Instead of using store-bought spice blends, make holiday cookies really special by creating your own spice blend.
Homemade Spice Blend
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon mild chili powder
Candied Citrus Peel
- 2 cups strips or slices of lemon, lime, orange, and/or grapefruit peel (remove the peel with a sharp knife, then slice off the innermost bitter white pith, leaving a 1/4-inch thick layer)
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar, plus optional sugar for coating
- 3½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 10 tablespoon (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Candied Citrus Peel
For the candied citrus peel1. Put the citrus peels in a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water, and bring toa boil; drain. Repeat two more times.
2. Combine 2 cups water and the sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring todissolve the sugar. Add the citrus peels and bring just to a simmer, then reduce the heatto low and simmer very gently for 30 to 45 minutes until the peels are translucent. Remove from the heat and let the peels cool in the syrup.
3. Drain and finely chop. Transfer to wire racks to dry.
For the spice blend
Toast the ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom in a small skillet over medium heat,stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from the heat.
For the cookies
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift the flour, toasted spices, baking soda, salt, and white pepper into a bowl or onto asheet of wax paper.
3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer until light andfluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping downthe sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the molasses. Gradually beat in the flourmixture. Fold in the chocolate chips. Stir in the candied citrus peel.
4. Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing thecookies 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops feel firm when lightlytouched. Cool on the baking sheets for about 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to awire rack to cool completely.