2022 Annual Historical Romance Holiday Cookie Exchange
Welcome Cookie Hoppers!
I am Kathryn Le Veque, USA TODAY Bestselling author, a charter Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Contemporary Romance. I write epic adventures, rich and detailed characters, and a romance that will stay with you long after the story is over. I craft great tales of love, battles, passion, and romance in the High Middle Ages.
Medieval people partied. A lot. Each season had its special holiday, or feast days, or any number of other reasons to throw a massive feast to sup with your friends. This went for peasants as well as the nobility. And these feasts weren’t short – some of them could go on for days. Three days of drinking and eating, much like the Romans used to do, which wasn’t strange considering Christianity stole some Roman as well as pagan holidays and called them their own.
Here are five fun facts of Medieval Christmas:
1. It was, literally, the 12 days of Christmas beginning on Christmas Eve and stopping on January 6, the Epiphany. Twelve days of merry-making!
2. There were no Christmas trees (until the 19th century).
3. Mistletoe was used – and kissed under – and couples were supposed to remove one mistletoe berry for each kiss given.
4. Christmas gives were indeed exchanged on the 25th with another round of gifts coming January 1. The January 1 gifts were carefully given, meant to symbolize good fortune for the coming year.
5. The holiday feasts were incredibly fancy – for example, roasted peacock with the feathers reattached to give the illusion of a living bird. Tablecloths (if used, but usually only by the super rich) were changed between courses.
The cookie recipe I’ve given isn’t a Medieval one, mostly because I just happen to love Molasses cookies. Medieval people had their own recipes for cookies, but not like we know them and they weren’t called cookies, but cakes or simply sweets. Sugar was available after the Third Crusade because crusaders brought it back with them from the Holy Land. It wasn’t called sugar, but ‘sweet salt’ and it was extremely expensive, so sweeteners in Medieval times were mostly limited to honey unless one had the coinage to cough up for sugar.
Kathryn’s Gingerbread Kookies
- 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (this can be optional)
- Dash of nutmeg (about 1/4 teaspoon)
- Additions: ½ teaspoon of orange zest if you’re feeling spicy!
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer, cream the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat on medium high speed until combined and creamy-looking. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Next, beat in egg and vanilla on high speed for 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick and slightly sticky. Divide dough in half and place each onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap each up tightly and pat down to create a disc shape. Chill discs for at least 3 hours. Overnight is better. Chilling is a must for this cookie dough.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Remove 1 disc of chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator. Generously flour a work surface, as well as your hands and the rolling pin. Roll out disc until 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes. Place shapes 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.
- Bake cookies for about 9-10 minutes. If your cookie cutters are smaller than 4 inches, bake for about 8 minutes. If your cookie cutters are larger than 4 inches, bake for about 11 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once completely cool, decorate as desired.
- Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Thank you for joining me on this cookie hop and I wish you a very happy holiday season!
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