Friday, July 27, 2012

Christmas Cookies - French Butter Cookies

You know those little butter cookies found in tins around the holidays? This is them!

French Butter Cookies

Yield: about 40 cookies

For the dough:
1 large egg
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

To finish:
1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Place the egg in a small saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat, cover and let sit 10 minutes. Meanwhile fill a small bowl with ice water. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the egg to the ice water and let stand 5 minutes. Crack the egg and peel away the shell. Separate the yolk from the white; discard the white. Press the yolk through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar, salt and cooked egg yolk. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the flour and mix on low speed just until combine, about 30 seconds. Use a spatula to press the dough into a cohesive mass.

Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a log about 6 inches long and 1¾ inches in diameter. Wrap each log in a piece of parchment or wax paper. Twist the ends to seal and firmly compact the dough into a tight cylinder. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 1 hour. (At this point, the dough can be stored in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 weeks.)

To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a chef's knife, slice the dough into ¼-inch thick rounds, rotating the dough log every few slices so that it does not become misshapen. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Brush lightly with the egg white mixture and sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar.

Bake until the centers of the cookies are pale golden and the edges are slightly darker, about 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking. Cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Christmas Cookies - Reindeer Drops



Reindeer Drops

1 package Oreo cookies
8 ounces cream cheese
Almond bark

Place Oreo cookies in food processor and process until crumbs. Add cream cheese and combine. Roll into balls.

Melt almond bark. Roll balls in melted almond bark. Sprinkle with festive sprinkles according to the season. Cool on wax paper and refrigerate until needed.

Note: I recommend chilling the “dough” for a short time before shaping into balls for easier handling.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Christmas Cookies - Chcolate Spritz

These cookies taste like hot chocolate!

1 ¼ c butter
1 c sugar
¾ brown sugar
2 lg. eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 ½ c flour
2/3 c cocoa
½ t baking soda
¼ t salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until light & fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.

Sift together flour, cocoa, soda & salt. Add flour mixture gradually and beat well. Shape dough into small log & place in cookie press. Press onto cool ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove cookies from sheet & cool on wire rack.

Notes: These cookies are quite crisp.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christmas Cookies - Spritz

Tiny bites of buttery goodness!

Spritz Cookies

1-1/2 cups butter or margarine, room temp.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon no-color almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Makes: Makes 6 dozen cookies.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Thoroughly cream butter and sugar. Add egg, milk, vanilla and almond extract; beat well. Stir together flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing to make a smooth dough.

Do not chill.

Add food coloring as desired.

Place dough into cookie press and press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Optional: Sprinkle with colored sugar or seasonal sprinkles.

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown on bottom. Remove cookies from sheet and cool on wire rack.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Christmas Cookies - Thumbprints


My favorite!

Thumbprint Cookies

1 ½ c butter, unsalted, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
½ t salt
1 c sugar
3 ½ c flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, cream together butter & sugar. Stir in vanilla.

In medium bowl, mix flour & salt.

Combine flour & butter mixture until dough is crumbly but hold together when pinched. Take a walnut-sized piece of dough in one hand. With thumb of other hand, gently knead three times. Roll into a ball and place on ungreased cookie sheet. With knuckle or thumb, press a well in the center and fill with jelly.  Bake for 10-15 minutes.


This looks like a rather time consuming cookie. I fill my cookie sheets with a dozen balls each and make the well & bake. Then I continue to knead and make little balls, placing them on wax paper. When the cookie sheets are cool, I place the balls on the sheets, make the well & bake.

I bake my cookies without jelly. When the cookies are cool, I put frosting, tinted for the season, into the well. Then I let the frosting harden & freeze.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Christmas Cookies - Key Lime Meltaways



These never last long.

½ c powdered sugar
1 c unsalted butter
1 T key lime juice
Zest of 3 key limes (or 1 lime)
1 ½ c flour
½ c cornstarch
¼ t salt

½ c cream cheese
¼ c butter
¼ c powdered sugar
1 T key lime juice

Cream sugar & butter together.  Mix in lime juice and zest.

Sift together flour, cornstarch, & salt. 

Stir flour mixture into butter mixture.  Chill 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Drop dough by teaspoon size on to paper.  Indent top of dough with thumb to create nest for frosting.  Bake 10-12 minutes, or until set.  Do not allow to brown or spread – fragile cookies.

Cool on baking rack before frosting.

Cream together:  cream cheese and butter, scraping sides to avoid any lumps.  Mix in powdered sugar and key lime juice.  Frost cookies. 

Store in refrigerator or freeze.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Christmas Cookies - Chocolate Crinkles


Don't these look festive?

And they taste like little brownie bites!

4  eggs
1-3/4   granulated sugar
4  ounces  unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/2  c  cooking oil
2  t  baking powder
2  t  vanilla
2  c all-purpose flour
2/3  cup powdered sugar           
 In a large bowl, combine eggs, granulated sugar, melted chocolate, oil, baking powder, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Gradually beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours or until dough is easy to handle.      
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet; set aside. Place powdered sugar in a small bowl. Shape one portion of dough into 1/2-inch balls. Shape the remaining portion of dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar to coat generously. Place balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet.  
Bake small cookies in the preheated oven about 8 minutes or until edges are set and tops are dry. Bake large cookies about 10 minutes or until edges are set and tops are dry. Do not over bake cookies. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool. (Cookies will deflate slightly upon cooling.) Makes about 72 small and 36 large cookies.

Notes:  I don't bother to make two sizes.  I just make them all the same size and try not to nibble on  the warm cookies