Sugar cookies, in one form or another, seem to be present on most Holiday cookie platters and buffets. Our family is no different and my kids really like making sugar cookies and rolling the dough into logs which can be sliced and baked.
This cookie dough can also be rolled out and cut into shapes. I have been carrying on this tradition with my extended family for a long time. It's sort of funny too, because even though all the cookies start with the same dough, are topped with the the same royal icing and vary only in the variety of sprinkles and colors, everyone seems to have their favorite shapes they like to eat every year. My mom always like the Christmas tree shaped cookies while I'm drawn to the snowflake designs. My kids like the snowmen and the list can virtually go on and on for each and every member of my family on down the line.
This year so far, I've not had time to pipe yet the cookies I've baked for the holidays but a fun thing to do is to either slice and bake the cookies or to roll and cut out the shapes and bake them off ahead of time leaving them plain. Then allow guests to decorate their own cookies just before eating. It cuts down the work on the baker and creates a fun and festive way to get the family doing something together around the table.
This recipe is easily doubled and the dough is able to be frozen. This is actually something I do in order to make quick work of a small batch of cookies for the kids, as needed. For slice and bake cookies, I form the dough as directed into logs, wrap in wax paper and then freeze inside a zip top bag. For pre-fab cut outs, roll dough and cut shapes as directed and then put cut outs on a cookie sheet in the freezer until fully frozen. I then move these shapes to a zip top bag for later use. For delicate cut-out designs, I might chose to put them in a freezer proof container over a zip top bag for storage. Enjoy.
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, form into logs, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This helps in cutting the cookies and in keeping the cookies from spreading too much while baking.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
For SLICED cookies:
Roll the logs into colored sugar crystals (optional). Slice logs into rounds at 1/4 inch intervals. Place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and then move a wire rack to cool completely. Serve as is or ice. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
For ROLLED cookies:
Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with a little flour or powdered sugar.
Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator, sprinkle the rolling pin with flour ot powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. If dough warmed during rolling, place cookie sheet in the freezer to chill for about 10 minutes. Cut into shapes, place cookies about 1-inch apart on a parchment or silicone lined (silpat) baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges. Cool for 2 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve as is or top with royal icing. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
While looking for a dessert for my son and I to make together, I came across a simple yet fun recipe in this month's issue of Taste of Home Magazine for Reindeer Brownies
. I've adapted the recipe to a more adult flavored recipe just by adding some instant espresso granules all the while keeping the same simple and fun Reindeer theme.
My husband absolutely loved these brownies and, in fact, requested his birthday cake be of the same flavor next year. Needless to say, these were an instant hit with my family and make for a perfect holiday treat either with or without the coffee flavorings.
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons instant coffee or espresso, optional
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup butter melted and divided
3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1 cup Mini Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 350°F
Line a 13x9 baking pan with aluminum foil (leave enough hang over so you can use to lift)
Combine cocoa, baking soda, coffee and 1/2 of the butter until well blended, slowly add boiling water, stir until well blended and thickened. Stir in the sugar, eggs, vanilla and remaining butter, stir until smooth. Add flour and salt until completely blended, stir in chocolate chips.
Spread evenly in baking pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until brownies pull away from the sides of the pan. To check to see if brownies are down, insert a toothpick into the center and it should come out clean. Remove from oven, lift foil out of pan and let cool. Cut into 12 squares then cut squares into triangles. You should end up with 24 triangles.
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One of my husband's favorite cookies are a traditional style oatmeal cookie with raisins and walnuts. To make him an oatmeal cookie reminiscent of the Holidays, I decided to make him something that used cranberries and white chocolate. I found this recipe
by Ocean Spray Cranberries and thought it looked perfect for the occasion.
These cookies are soft and chewy and we really enjoyed the addition of cranberries and white chocolate. We skipped adding nuts to this batch but walnuts, pecans, almonds or macadamias could easily be added to round out this cookie but it is perfectly good just like it is as well.
This recipe is easily doubled and is also able to be frozen for later use. I use a 1 oz cookie scoop to scoop out the dough which I then put onto a cookie sheet and freeze. Alternatively, if you don't have a cookie scoop, form rounds using a tablespoon and freeze as directed. Later, I transfer the frozen dough to zip top bags for ease of use and storage. When baking, allow and extra 2 to 3 minutes to allot for the frozen cookie dough.
I baked a small batch of these of today (pictured above) and the cookies were perfectly golden brown, chewy and delicious after just 15 minutes in the oven. Enjoy!
2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 5-ounce package dried cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips
Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until mixture turns light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and then add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl; oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and chocolate chunks.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls or cookie scoop onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown along the edges. Cool completely on wire rack.
Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.
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I found this recipe for Chocolate Pistachio Sables
in my most recent copy of Bon Appetit magazine and knew it was something I wanted to try the moment I found myself drooling on the photo.
I found these were really easy to make and they are a great "slice and bake" style cookie. I did not add the flakes sea salt onto my finished cookies as was featured in the Bon Appetit recipe as I was unable to find it locally, however, I found that these cookies still struck a great balance between salty and sweet especially where the pistachios were concerned.
As with many of my other recipes, these cookies can be frozen, uncooked, and then packaged up in the freezer for later use. Slice the frozen logs into cookies just before baking and then add an extra two to three minutes into the bake time to account for the dough being frozen.
As for the fresh dough, remember to plan ahead because since this is a butter based slice and bake dough, it needs to be refrigerated in order to "set-up" prior to baking. This is important because it allows the cookies to really retain their shape and not spread out so much during the baking time.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients; flour, cocoa powder, kosher salt, and baking soda. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually adding the dry ingredients; mix only until just combined, then mix in egg white until blended. Finally, add the chocolate and pistachios and stir until combined.
Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into an 8”-long log about 1½” in diameter, pushing dough together if it feels crumbly. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and chill until firm, between at least 1 hour and 4 hours. I made mine the day before while I was baking some other cookies and just refrigerate it overnight for use the next day and this worked out very well for me.
Note: The colder your dough, the easier it will be to slice and the less they spread during baking.
Preheat oven to 350°. Cut logs into 1/4”-rounds and transfer to parchment-lined or silicone lines (Silpat or equivalent) baking sheets, spaced about 1” apart.
Bake until the edges are set and golden brown, about 10–12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Baking from frozen rounds, my cookies took about 15 minutes to bake completely.
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In cooking, mocha is defined as a flavoring made from coffee and chocolate. Add into that bits of English toffee and I am in Heaven.
My family has really been enjoying the testing of Holiday cookies and while this one has not been a regular on our Holiday buffet in the past, I will definitely be making these again in the future. The rich mocha combined with the buttery toffee is a flavor combination that I enjoy no matter the season. I also like that there's a slight saltiness to the cookie dough that cuts through the sweetness to create a perfect sweet and salty flavor profile.
I saw the recipe
for these cookies originally by Land O'Lakes but it was much different than those I ended up making. What I ended up doing was combining the elements of that first recipe I mentioned with this one
from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, and created a cookie all my own.
This cookie recipe is easily doubled and also freezes well. In fact, I made these cookies today from the dough I had previously scooped using my 1 oz cookie scoop and frozen on a cookie sheet. I then bag them up into gallon sized bags and place them back into the freezer for times when we need one, two of just a few cookies rather than a whole batch. Scooping these ahead makes perfectly portioned cookies that are easy to handle later on. Alternatly, you could hand scoop and roll them into walnut sized balls or squares for later use.
The frozen dough bakes up evenly and look and taste every bit as good as the fresh cookie dough. The above photo was taken of the previously frozen dough balls. When baking previously frozen dough, simply add about three minutes to the baking time to account for the frozen dough, so let's say about 12 to 15 minutes depending on oven variances. This works perfect for my family since we only eat a few cookies at a time before they typically go stale so as a treat on the weekends, I quickly bake up a few fresh cookies for dessert after Sunday dinner. Enjoy!
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 whole eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons Instant espresso granules
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup English toffee bits
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons shortening
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, scraping the sides.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
Sift together dry ingredients, then add in batches to the mixer, mixing until just combined after each addition.
Gently blend in the espresso granules, chocolate chips and toffee bits.
Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, add 1 tablespoon portions to baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are browned on the edges but still soft and chewy in the center. If baking previously frozen dough, add about three minutes to the baking time to account for the frozen dough say, 12 to 15 minutes.
Allow to cool 1 minute on the sheet pan before transferring to a wire rack. Cool completely.
Melt remaining chocolate chips and shortening in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth about 2 to 3 minutes. Dip one side of each cookie into melted chocolate. Place on a wire rack above a piece of foil, wax paper or a sheet pan to collect the drips. Cool completely until the chocolate hardens.
This recipe yields about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
As a child my favorite sandwich was peanut butter and jelly, to this day when I am feeling down I make a "PB&J" and my mood is immediately turned around. For years I have been making peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss pushed into it, then I happened to be watching Food Network and I saw Sunny Anderson make PB and J Thumbprint cookies
and I immediately fell in love. I don't know why I never thought to make my childhood favorite sandwich into a cookie.
Taking a bite of these cookies brought back so many fond memories that I just may make this recipe throughout the year and not just the holidays. They are a fun cookie to make and the kids will love them. In fact, I bet your kids will love to help make the "thumbprint" before baking them. Enjoy and remember you can use whatever flavor jelly you and your family. Enjoy.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup raw cane sugar or turbinado sugar
1/4 cup jelly, jam or preserves, any flavor
Cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown & granulated sugar until creamy and light. Add salt, vanilla and egg, scrape sides of bowl down and blend on medium speed until well combined. Slowly add flour (otherwise you will have a cloud), mix until completely combined, periodically scrape sides to make sure mixture gets well blended.
Place in a zipper bag into the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper, preheat oven to 350° F
Remove dough from bag and using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop, scoop out balls and roll. Roll the balls in the raw sugar or crystal sprinkles. place on baking sheet leaving enough space between the cookies (12 should fit on pan). Using thumb or the rounded end of a teaspoon make indentions into center of each ball, add about 1/2-1 teaspoon jelly.
Bake until slightly gold about 10-12 minutes, remove and place on cooling rack. Cool completely before serving as the hot jam or jelly poses a burn risk.
A snickerdoodle is a variation on the traditional sugar cookie made with butter or shortening, sugar, and flour which is then rolled in a combination of cinnamon and sugar. Cream of tartar and baking soda are both added to leaven the dough. The recipe itself dates back well into the 1800's where they were very popular throughout New England and are believed to be of Dutch origin.
Snickerdoodles are generally characterized by a cracked surface and can be crisp or soft depending on one's own preferences and tweaks to the recipe. I like mine on the chewy end of the specturm which is achieved by using a butter and shortening blend rather than an all butter version which results in a crispier cookie. Snickerdoodles are sometimes referred to as sugar cookies. However, traditional sugar cookies are often rolled in plain white sugar while snickerdoodles are rolled in a mixture of white sugar and cinnamon.
This recipe is easily doubled and can be frozen as well. Simply prepare all of the cookies dough balls, and then freeze prior to baking. Then pull out the frozen cookie dough and bake as many or as few cookies as needed. Just add a couple of extra minutes to the baking time to account for the frozen dough. It really is just that easy. The recipe I made here was an adaptation from Trisha Yearwood's Snickerdoodles
. They were delicious.
So, if you are looking for a Holiday-esque twist on a traditional sugar cookie, give Snickerdoodles a try! Enjoy!
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400° F
In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, set aside.
In a small bowl sift together the dry ingredients; flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, set aside
In a large bowl combine the butter, shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar, mix thoroughly, add eggs one at a time mixing until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed of mixer to low and slowly add flour mixture to shortening mixture. Blend until all flour is combined
Using a small cookie scoop roll each ball into the sugar/cinnamon mixture, Place on a cookie sheet leaving space between each cookie, (a standard cookie sheet pan should hold 12 balls evenly spaced). Bake for about 4-6 minutes, rotate pan, bake for additional 4-6 minutes, the cookies will have a soft center. Remove from oven and cool on cooling racks, when completely cooled store in an airtight container.
My daughter loves to cook and bake with me so when she had the opportunity to help me make these fun cookies, she was absolutley ecstatic. I found this recipe
from Williams-Sonoma and it is actally part of their cooking with kids series though I had already chosen the recipe before I realized that fact.
These cookies were crunchy on the outside and chewey and choclotaey on the inside. This is a perfect pairing and they are so easy to make. My daughter had a blast rolling each cookie into a ball and then dropping it into the powdered sugar which we made sure was good and thick prior to baking so it doesn't all dissolve during the process. She was amazed as they puffed up and crackled during baking and couldn't wait to try one fresh out of the oven.
Despite the powdered sugar, I didn't find these to be overly sweet and they had just the right mixture of crunch, chew and chocolate to be a real winner in our house. Enjoy.
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Prepare 2 baking sheets with non-stick spray, butter or a silicone (non-stick) baking mat like Silpat or similar.
Put the powdered sugar into a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, stir together the dry ingredients; flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy the color will change to a light yellow, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 1 egg and beat on medium speed until blended. Add the other egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.
Turn off the mixer and add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until just mixed making sure to scrape down the bowl and make sure the dough is fully incorporated.
Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, scoop up a rounded spoonful of dough. Roll the dough into a ball about the size of a walnut. Roll the ball in the powdered sugar until covered thoroughly. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart, or 12 per sheet pan
Bake the cookies until they are crackled and puffed, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set it on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Move the cookies onto the wire rack and let cool completely. Makes about 24 cookies.
While working on the recipes for our Holiday cookie selections this year, I realized I had a lot of time to spare while waiting for the cookies in the oven to be finished. I decided to try a no-bake cookie that was simple and could be placed into the refrigerator between each batch of baked cookies.
I had the tv on in the livingroom and overheard someone say, "Well, get out your sweaters and get ready for rum cake." I thought I'd try some rum balls but then realized I do not have rum in my house. I looked to see what I had on hand and found a bottle of “Fighting Cock Bourbon”, this is 103 proof so it is pretty strong. This is a quick and simple adult cookie recipe that your friends are sure to enjoy. Remember these do contain alcohol so keep them away from the kiddos and enjoy them responsibly.
1 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
3 cups crushed vanilla wafers
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
In a large bowl sift together the sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Gently stir in the bourbon and corn syrup. Mix in the wafers and walnuts, then chill for 1 hour.
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out 1 inch balls and finish rolling with your hands. You can roll the balls in additional confectioners sugar or finely chopped nuts. Place balls in an airtight container using either wax paper or parchment paper between each layer to prevent sticking and keep in refrigerator.
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The urban legends we hear now a days are nothing more than than folk tales. Today with the internet, social media sites, e-mail, youtube, search engines and a host of other tech savy devices, a new urban legend can circulate pretty quickly and become lore almost overnight.
When I was just out of college, I recieved an e-mail about the (now) infamous Neiman-Marcus Cookie recipe dibacle. Even then, I didn't think the entire story was true and with that, I just deleted the e-mail but when I was looking for a new Chocolate Chip cookie to make this Holiday season, I was again introduced to the story
While the story surrounding this cookie is indeed ficticious, the cookies are undeniably delicious nevertheles. I was really surprised at how much the addition of some espresso does to amp up the flavor of an ordinary chocolate chip cookie. Enjoy
1 cup butter, softened
2 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large egg
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
Preheat the oven to 300 ° Fahrenheit.
Place the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time and then add the vanilla and mix until well combined.
In another mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the mixer, about 1/4 at a time, on low mixing completely between each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips and espresso powder, and mix until just incorporated.
Prepare a cookie sheet with non-stick spray or a silicon baking mat. Using a cookie scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet in rounded spoonfuls about 3 inches apart. There is room on the sheet for only about six or eight cookies at a time. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown along the edges. Remove from the oven and cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet until transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yields about 4 dozen cookies