The first smell I think about is nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon, one of my favorite combinations in the world. On their own they taste terrible, but when mixed with the perfect combinations of flour, sugar, and buttery goodness, they can make the most heavenly cookies. You can choose to roll them in sugar or cook them as is, but either way your mouth will be watering as they bake, the Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies. The second smell comes from mini tree sugar cookies. I don't know if this is so much a smell or more of an experience. You have to carefully pick each cookie up off a wax sheet of paper and place it on your tongue. It's a slow melt as the sugar dissolves down your throat. The tree shape is due to how they were made when I was growing up, my Mom had a press that had different shapes and we always did the tree one. I have yet to find a press comparable to hers, so mine are never as pretty. The shape is minor compared the the importance of the texture. Get that wrong and you ruin the whole experience. Learning how to whip up the batter is a very delicate process. You must use butter and not margarine.
A standing mixer is a must for making these as they need to be beat on high for 10 minutes.
1 cup of Butter
1 1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Icing Sugar
Mix on high for 10 minutes seems silly, but it is totally worth doing it for the full amount of time. Bake at 325 degrees for 14 minutes - testing three cookies first to gauge the time as they burn so easily. If you try them let me know. They are delicious and so worth the experience of sugar melting on your tongue. The third is the goo of a tart. You can spend hours preparing the dough, which is the part you don't like but is necessary for the tart. You measure each ingredient carefully, mixing it slowly or it will be tough and it must be soft and flaky. Then you roll it out once (never more than once), cut out the circles and place into mini pie shells. Then it's time for the best part: lots of brown sugar, melted and boiled with spices and butter. Pour into the shells as high as you dare to go. Add raisins to some of the shells, for those odd few people who enjoy the flavor of raisins. Then into the oven, where you watch your work bake. The sugar smells amazing - butter tarts are a huge part of the holidays for me.
When preparing this post, this is the recipe I was most excited to make. I dug out all my recipe books and flipped through each page, then flipped through them again, realizing that I don't have my Mom's recipe or any recipe for butter tarts. I figured "no worries", I'd wing it with Google, and began my hunt for mini pie shells, something you can't work without. Store after store, I was disappointed as no one had shells and no one even knew what butter tarts were. In the end I ordered shells from Amazon - but they won't arrive until mid-next week. I tried this recipe for Buttertart Squares and as the recipe said made them in a square format instead of mini pies. I cut out the oats from the recipe and mixed up all the other ingredients. It smells just as delicious as I remembered, but the baking soda caused a foam layer to form on top and while it tastes good, it's not quite right. The texture is off due to the foam and there's just a hint too much vanilla. When my mini shells arrive I'll be trying these again, just with my mother-in-law's recipe!