Being more of a traditionally foreign holiday, celebrating Christmas in Egypt has become significant and important over the past decade, across all sectors – private and public. Restaurants, hotels, cafés, schools, shops and even people at home make a lot of effort to celebrate this warm festive season.
Here in Egypt, we’re luck to not only to celebrate it twice; once in December and another in January, but we get to bask in a sunny Christmas for more than three weeks! In the name of this warm, special season, we’ve decided to share with you a few tips about Christmas cooking/hosting parties as well as a traditional Christmas cookies recipe to go with it.
Some tips to have in mind, if you’re having a Christmas gathering:
- Don’t keep everything until the last minute; make sure you only have the final touches to go so you can spend time with your friends and family.
- Don’t choose too many complicated recipes: Especially if you are baking with kids, choose some simple ones as well. You will avoid baking fatigue as well as keep the kids interested in your holiday traditions.
- If any of your guests are bringing any food over, ask them to get it ready to serve in order to avoid chaos in the kitchen or delay in serving the food. This way everyone can spend time together, without worrying about the food.
- Ask some of your friends or family to help, if you’re making dinner for a crowd. You need it!
- Make sure you buy all your ingredients a day beforehand, to guarantee your cooking and baking run smoothly. Get the dry ingredients way in advance and leave the fresh and risky ones like milk, eggs, cheese etc until the end.
Christmas Ginger Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
¾ cup vegetable shortening or butter
¼ cup molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using an electric mixer at low speed, cream the shortening/butter and sugar until thoroughly combined.
- Add the egg and molasses and beat until completely incorporated.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt and add to mixture.
- Stir together until combined, then roll dough into balls that you will flatten later with fork on baking sheet, or stuff into baking moulds you have.
- Make sure to dip dough into sugar first.
- Place on butter paper, onto baking tray and place in the oven.
- Bake for 12 minutes and cool on wire racks after for another half hour before you serve.
- For an extra kick, mix 1/2 cup water, 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, squeeze of lemon and two drops of your favorite food coloring in a bowl, to create icing for the cookies.