Tuesday, January 3, 2012

December 2011 - Cookie Challenge

It's 2012!! Happy New Year everyone.

Somehow it seems that every december I'm either occupied or kept away from blogging... but now I'm back and I brought cookies!! (well recipes :))

It's been a great month, filled with lots of sales, shopping and some baking. I took on this last minute challenge of making a variety of holiday cookies in less than 14 hours straight, it was alot of work but I'm proud of my accomplishment.

Here are some of the varieties I chose and I'd love to share the recipes with you all because not only are they impressive but also very easy!

The pinwheel:

Made one batch of the following but did not divide and add any cocoa.
Then went back and made another batch adding twice the amount of cocoa listed and then rolled out two sheets into equal squares, once they were chilled I layered the chocolate over the white and rolled like a jelly roll firmly. Chill for another hour or so (or up to 2 days in the fridge) then slice into 1/4 inch and bake on a sheet.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 large egg

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract, lemon extract, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, scraping down sides of bowl.
Turn dough out onto a clean work surface; it will be loose and crumbly. Knead dough by pushing small amounts away from you with the heel of your hand for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide dough in half. Sprinkle cocoa powder over one of the halves. Knead until cocoa has been fully incorporated.
Place each half of the kneaded dough between two sheets of plastic. Using a rolling pin, shape dough into two 7-inch squares, about 3/8 inch thick. Using a sharp knife and a ruler, slice each square into nine 3/4-inch-wide strips.
Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Cover work surface with plastic wrap. Place three strips of dough on plastic, alternating white and chocolate strips. Brush tops and in between the strips with egg wash. Gently press strips together. Repeat, forming second and third layers, alternating colors to create a checkerboard effect. Wrap assembled log in plastic. Repeat process for second log, reversing color pattern. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or freeze 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Slice each log into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place on baking sheet. Bake until done, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven, and let cookies cool 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

3 cups flour
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (I omitted)
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Semi-sweet or dark chocolate disks (I used Trader Joe’s chocolate callets)*

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl.
Using a mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Immediately press a callet into the center of each cookie. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

Elfin Shortbread (super easy and always a hit with these melt in your mouth nuggets!!)

Elfin Shortbread Bites
from Simply Homemade Food Gifts

1 1/4 cups flour
3 TB sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 TB red and green sprinkles

Cut chilled butter into small cubes with knife, add flour and sugar then work with hands until resembles coarse crumbs. Gently add sprinkles in the end and bring the dough together. Flatten into a square about 1 inch thick and cover with cling wrap, refrigerate and then slice into small squares and bake for 12 minutes on 325 F.

Piparkakut Cookies by The New York Times


9 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/4 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Molasses

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Cloves

3/4 Teaspoon Cardamom

1 & 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Teaspoon Finely Ground Orange Zest

1 Egg

Dash of Salt

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

2 & 3/4 Cups Flour

1 Egg White (optional)


Heat your Butter, Sugar, Molasses, Spices, and Orange Zest in a small saucepan for about 4-5 minutes, or until your sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and continue to stir for a bit. Leave alone for about 20 minutes or until room temperature. Pour into a mixing bowl and beat in the Egg, Salt and Baking Soda. Combine half of your flour. Now mix in the other half. Mix until just combined. Now form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350, and working in small batches, roll out your dough onto a floured surface. Rolled as thin as you’d like them, really…and then cookie cutter away! Arrange cookies 1/2 inch apart on a parchment lined Cookie Tray. If you would like to , beat one Egg White and Brush on top of each cookie and sprinkle Turbinado sugar on top. Bake for 8- 10 minutes . Shout “I Love Finland!”

All photographs were taken by the man who saved this blog from nasty injected viruses, Evan Lentz…we praise you and your brilliance.

Now for my favourite little thumb print cookies. It starts with two basic doughs, one chocolate and one vanilla and from there you can just go crazy!!

I remember when we were younger we'd make roll the white dough in coconut and do strawberry jam in the centre or roll in chopped walnuts and dot with blueberry jam. This time I rolled in crushed pistachio and went with apricot jam. Also a chocolate dough with raspberry.

Go wild! Maybe try a white dough rolled in crushed hazelnuts and dotted with nutella :P

Follow the instructions below for the basic dough, once it's made and chilled a bit roll them into small balls (bite size)
Next you poke a small hole in the centre with the back of a wooden spoon.
Beat a little egg white until frothy and set aside, then dip the tops of the cookies in the egg white and into the chopped nuts or coconut, it will stick to the top nicely.
Next use a small spoon or tiny piping bag to drop a tiny bit of jam into the centre (the thumb print/hole you made with the wooden spoon) not too much jam or it will over flow.

Bake on 350 for 12 mins or so.


3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (omit if making thumbprints, ball cookies, or spritz cookies)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined.

Basic chocolate dough:


2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (omit if making thumbprints, ball cookies, or spritz cookies)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

(yeilds 4 to 5 dozen, depending on the size you make them)

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tsp (or a little more)vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Powdered sugar for rolling the dough in
-Mix together the sugar, oil, melted chocolate and vanilla.
-Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until blended.
-Stir in the flour, salt and baking powder. Mix until well combined.
-Chill the dough, covered, in the fridge at least three hours, or overnight.
-Heat the oven to 350f
-Drop the dough by heaping teaspoons into the powdered sugar and then shape into balls. Place on parchement lined baking sheets and bake for 8 to 12 minutes until beautiful.


Kieli_Heart said...

Yay awesome recipes and accompanying photos! So glad to hear you had such a great time too! Welcome back =D

Thanks so much for sharing these and Happy New Year!

~ Kieli ~

Anonymous said...

if i may ask wht reipe r d square white biscuits wid something red n it..thanx

Bella said...

That would be the elfin shortbread.