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Sugar, Spice & Chocolate is Nice!

The holidays are around the corner which means baking, sharing, and giving are upon us. Offer up something from your kitchen that can be enjoyed now and over the hectic weeks to come. Both options make great hostess gifts, pretty care packages, or sweet somethings for no reason at all.

Ginger-Sugar Snaps

These tuile-like cookies bake into lacy, thin crisps perfect for teatime.

8 T. (1 stick) softened butter
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. ginger-sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together over wet ingredients and beat until just combined.

Form dough into a 10- x 2-inch log and wrap in parchment like tootsie roll. Chill at least 4 hours or up to 2 days before baking.

Preheat oven to 375°. Slice dough into 1/4-inch rounds and bake 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, 10-12 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. Sprinkle tops with remaining ginger sugar while still warm. Store in an airtight tin when cool. Makes 3 dozen.

Ginger Sugar

2 T. grated, peeled gingerroot
1 1/4 c. sugar

Pulse the ginger and sugar in a food processor to mix. Transfer 1/2 cup to a pretty gift jar with directions to use to sweeten hot tea or cider. Keep chilled. Makes 1 cup

Mariebelle Aztec Hot Chocolate is more than just a beautifully packaged gift, it is a robust, shaved chocolate made from single-origin South American cocoa beans that melts beautifully into hot water (European style) or hot milk (American style) and can be used in dessert recipes. Serve Aztec hot chocolate spiked with a pinch of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick stirrer for warm, Latin flavor.

MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate: A 20oz tin ($22) makes about 16 servings and a 10oz tin ($17) makes about 8 servings of hot chocolate. Every tin comes with its own measuring spoon. www.mariebelle.com to purchase. For giving, pick up a “molinillo”* for pocket change ($3) at a local Mexican market like Gordo’s Market at 433 Valley Avenue in Homewood.

*molinillo n. a traditional, carved Mexican wooden blender that is held between the palms and rotates by rubbing the palms together to create a frothy drink.

Style + Flavor columnist Katherine Cobbs is a food and lifestyle writer who has contributed to numerous magazines, including Southern Living, Southern Accents, Cottage Living, Cooking Light, and San Francisco magazine. She has collaborated with and/or written books for renowned chefs, including: Frank Stitt’s Southern Table, Frank Stitt’s Bottega Favorita, The Hot & Hot Fish Club Cookbook with Chris Hastings, and served as Editor on the recently released, Cooking in Everyday English with Todd English. She resides in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, John, and their three daughters.

RESOURCES

cooling rack: Nordic Ware Extra Large Cooling Rack 16” x 20” $12 at amazon.com ginger grater: Frontier Porcelain Ginger Grater $5.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond vintage Ball canning jar: luncheonette vintage store $16 at etsy.com embroidered scarf: peruvianconnection.com for similar; red mugs: Rosso mugs (set of 4) $28 at World Market MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate (see story for details) saucepan: All-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless-Steel Sauce Pan (4qt.) $215 at Williams-Sonoma molinillo (see story for details).

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