I was not a very “girly girl” as a child and loved climbing trees and was generally happier playing games that didn’t involve dolls and the like. I did however thoroughly enjoy dressing up and trying on all the high heeled shoes our next door neighbour owned (my mother never wore heels). I still love heels though I don’t wear them much but I will still avoid pink, especially candy pink, like the plague.
This morning, I was tempted to take one of those “tests” on Facebook (couldn’t resist it especially as it was posted by and commented on by some very good friends) that asked “Do you think like a man or a woman?” Apparently I think 100% like a man! It was a fun thing to do but I know I do think like a woman a lot of the time.
Like a lot of women, one thing that is I love is hand-made lace. Unfortunately, I don’t own any but I love the intricacy, the detail and the thought of it being handed down in families through generations. One memory that I still have from over 10 years ago during a short stay in Portugal, (as does my daughter, even though she was only 5 then) was of an elderly woman sitting at the one of the entrances to the fort in Obidos and patiently working on a beautiful piece of lace
Sometime back, I came across a post on the internet where lace-like patterns were created on cookies using knitted or crocheted doilies. I had planned to try my hand at that because one thing I do have at home are crocheted doilies. Unfortunately for me, the doilies look good as they are, but didn’t produce particularly interesting patterns when pressed into dough.
Since the dough for the cookies was already resting in the refrigerator, I was determined to make decent looking embossed cookies but was now without anything to emboss them with! I kept hoping to be struck by inspiration, and then my daughter came up with the idea of using her paper embossing blocks. I looked at them, but they wouldn’t leave deep enough grooves on the dough. That’s when inspiration finally struck, and I went looking for my wooden printing blocks.
In India, one traditional method of printing on cloth is by stamping out patterns with carved wooden blocks dipped in vegetable dye. It is known as block printing and is a method that is still very much in vogue. I have over the years, collected a few of the wooden blocks, and it struck me that I could use them to emboss the dough. If you decide to do this, make sure you use new blocks or else have scrubbed out and cleaned the ones you have thoroughly.
You can use anything that creates a pattern in dough to make embossed cookies. The patterned underside of water glasses, embossing stamps or patterned rolling pins if you have them, even cookie cutters can be used to make patterns on dough. Just make sure that the patterns are pressed well into the dough so they keep even after baking.
One other important thing while making these cookies is to keep the dough refrigerated so that it becomes manageable to work with. This dough is easier to emboss when it is cold.
You can use any other sugar cookie dough of your choice. I liked the idea of using brown sugar (any variety of brown sugar works here, even Demerara sugar) so I made some changes to this sugar cookie recipe to make a Brown Sugar Cookie dough.
Christmas is the season for warm and fragrant spices and one spice mix I like in particular is Speculoos/ Spekulaas spice so that’s what I used in this recipe but feel free to use whatever appeals to you.