When Jamie Robinson, the Westchester-based blogger behind Hint of Gold, moved to the Scarsdale/New Rochelle border last year, she was a doggie mom to a 3-year-old Frenchie. Now, she’s also mom to a 3-month-old boy, and enjoying her first holiday season in the ‘burbs and as a mother. “As far as Hanukkah traditions, my husband and I began our own 5 years ago when we met. I grew up only celebrating Christmas and he grew up celebrating Hanukkah. So, our first year together I actually made a menorah to surprise him and it still sits in our window to this day,” says Jamie. “We will teach our son about both holidays and celebrate both! I’ve really learned to embrace both and I feel like the interfaith family is the new normal even though it’s not always talked about!”
She recently did a DIY home reno (see the impressive before and afters here—seriously, this is one busy new mama!) and is starting to discover all there is here for families this time of year. “Well first of all, having lots of space and being able to entertain in a house instead of a 1-bedroom apartment is a game changer! I also love that there is so much to do around the holidays as far as light shows, apple picking, tree farms, the Blaze, etc. I feel like we can always find something to do on the weekend all within a 1/2 hour drive,” says Jamie, who grew up cooking with her mom. For Hanukkah, she’s sharing her go-to cookie recipe (which can totally be redone for Christmas using different cookie cutters!) and one for crazy-simple applesauce. For more easy recipes, fashion inspiration and more from Jamie, visit hintofgoldblog.com.
Hanukkah Iced Sugar Cookies
Cookie Ingredients (yields about 30 cookies)
- 3 cups unbleached flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 1/3 cups white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Hanukkah or any holiday cookie cutters
- Frosting Ingredients
- 1/2 cup salted butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar (taste after 5 cups)
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp milk
- Blue gel based food coloring
- For the cookies, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in separate bowl. Then, in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, whip butter until smooth. Add in the sugar to the butter and mix for a few minutes until fluffy. With the mixer on low, add in each egg and the vanilla.
- When all wet ingredients are mixed, turn the mixer off and add in 1/2 of the flour mixture. If you have it, you can switch out the paddle attachment with a dough hook before adding in the rest of the flour mixture (if not, just keep adding the flour in as usual). A pretty stiff dough should form. Be sure not to over mix the dough. If it is combined and looking like cookie dough, you are done.
- Remove dough from mixing bowl and form into a round disc shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. I usually make the dough the night before (if you do this, be sure to bring to room temperature before baking).
- While you are waiting for your dough to chill, you can make the icing. This recipe couldn’t be easier…In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, add in the butter, shortening, vanilla, powdered sugar and milk. I suggest adding powdered sugar in gradually so it doesn’t look like the first snow storm in your kitchen (speaking from experience here). If you want your icing a bit sweeter, add in more powdered sugar. And if it seems really dry, add in a bit more milk. You really can’t mess this up! The taste should remind you of those soft sugar cookies with the colored icing and sprinkles you can buy in the supermarket.
- **This icing is designed to crust over (which is why we add the shortening) so if you prefer that it doesn’t, you can just sub with more butter, but I highly suggest using the shortening, especially if you want cookies that can transport easily.
- If desired, split the icing in half and add blue food color gel to the icing until you’ve reached the desired color. Kids LOVE the colored icing. Be sure to keep the icing covered while waiting to ice your cookies.
- BACK to the cookies….
- Once your icing is done, set the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven heats, cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and split in half. Place each piece of dough between two sheets of wax paper and roll until it is about 1/4 inch thick. After rolling the dough out, cut desired shapes with cookie cutters. Any extra dough can be rolled again to yield the maximum amount of cookies.
- Place cut shapes onto the cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Watch for the bottoms to get slightly golden if you want a crispier cookie (about 11 min), if you want a softer cookie, take them out right at the 10 minute mark or just before. Be sure to move to a cooling rack immediately and cool completely before icing
- The FINAL STEP – let’s decorate! This is the fun part so feel free to get creative and get the kiddos involved! You can spread or pipe the icing on (if piping, be sure to add a little more milk) and then decorate with any sprinkles or decorations you have!
Crockpot Applesauce (yields about 12 servings, 5 cups)
- 12 apples (I like Golden Delicious)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
- Core, skin, and cut your apples into quarters and place in crockpot. Add in lemon juice and toss (if your crockpot isn’t huge, I suggest doing this beforehand). Toss apples with cinnamon and sugar. Then add water into crockpot.
- Place top on and turn on high for about 3 hours or until the apples are really soft and can be mashed. Once soft, turn heat off and let cool for about 10-15 minutes. Then, mash the apples with a potato masher to desired consistency.
- Next…just kidding, you’re done! How easy was that!?