If you grew up with Christmas, you grew up leaving out a little something for Santa. My family left cookies, but I knew kids who left out candy, chips, or even hummus and crudites. (I grew up in California.) Though Santa doesn’t visit my house anymore — I guess I have to have kids or something? — I still enjoy making and decorating Christmas cookies. Though I am pretty terrible at decorating.
With no children to leave out the cookies, and a husband who doesn’t really eat sweet things, I usually end up eating most of them myself. (I’m not complaining.) I try to give some away, but that means coordinating with friends and leaving my house — two things I am not spectacular at.
So I don’t end up with a sugar cookie overdose, I usually allow myself to bake one batch of Christmas cookies, and then I sublimate the rest of my Christmas baking compulsions into making treats for my pooches (Kira and Angie, the closest thing to children I have at the moment). They’re really great helpers.
In addition to being fun and festive, these Minty Carob-Dipped Christmas Cookies will help freshen your pet’s breath. Not only are they easy to make and decorate (no piping bag required), they make an adorable host or hostess gift for those with doggies.
Finely chop mint and mix evenly into flour. Make a well in the mint-flour mixture and add your egg. Mix gently to incorporate the egg. Add broth and mix until a sticky dough forms. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll dough out on a thoroughly floured surface or between two sheets of wax paper. The thickness is really up to you, but aim for somewhere between 1/8 and 1/2 inch. Thicker cookies are easier to work with, but take a little longer to cook.
Use festive cookie cutters to fashion your treats into Christmas trees, candy canes, stars, or whatever you desire! If you don’t have any cookie cutters, you can always skip the rolling out and flatten the dough into little disks with your palms. Bake for three to five minutes, until cookies are firm (thicker ones may feel slightly springy; this is okay). Let cool completely.
Once cookies are cool, melt your carob in a double boiler or microwave. If using a microwave, place the carob in a microwave-safe container and heat for 12 seconds at a time, stirring between each heating until melted. Carob melts very fast, so keep an eye on it; the first time I tried, I heated it for too long and turned it into a plastic-y, oily blob.
Dip cookies in carob and set on wax paper to dry. Store in refrigerator, otherwise carob will “weep” and things will become slightly gross.
So what did our tasters think? Pictures are worth many words, so I’ll let their faces tell you what you need to know:
Angie was especially enthusiastic, leaping into the air to claim her Christmas cookie.
I’m pretty sure Angie thinks I was feeding her chocolate instead of carob, and I’m not going to tell her any different.
Kira was a little more subdued, and tried to be the “good dog” instead of snatching treats from the hand that feeds. She did a good job — she even sat for her cookie — but you can see in her eyes that she’s really struggling to be cool.
In short, these were a success. I think they may have preferred last month’s Thanksgiving Feast Treats, but just barely. Overall, they’re really enjoying this series, though they may be beginning to associate my camera with food.
Will you be baking for your pets this holiday season? Do you make cookies for Santa? Maybe Santa’s dog would like some, too! Tell us about your plans in the comments!
Read more holiday stories on Dogster: