Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday 2013 Cookies

The list of 2012 Holiday Cookies, including the staples which you see here like checkerboard cookies, elfin shortbread, Greek clove shortbreads, gingerbread, crackle and caramel stuffed chocolate... plus many more. 

List of 2011 holiday Cookies

For the green and red/pink pinwheels simply follow the checkerboard cookie dough recipe and use only the vanilla portion (make 2 X the vanilla recipe then add red food colouring to one and green to another) Divide them in plastic zip lock bags and layer then on top rolling to create a pinwheel affect. Chill and before slicing and baking roll the entire roll in coloured sugar (opposite the colour of the outside) then slice and bake.

This year I've added these new recipes below.

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies 2012 and Fine Cooking Cookies Holiday 2012

Makes 18 bars

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9x9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper, allowing about 2 inches to overhang on opposite sides. Lightly spray parchment with cooking spray as well; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, and salt until combined; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until combined.
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and lightly knead together dough holds together. Transfer dough to prepared pan and press into a smooth, even layer. Using the tip of a knife, score the dough all the way through, cutting into bars measuring about 1 ½ inches by 3 inches. Using a fork or the end of a wooden skewer, poke holes evenly along the bars. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
5. While chilling, preheat oven to 325F. When chilled, sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over dough. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until golden brown and top looks dry, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and using a sharp knife or a bench scraper immediately cut through scored marks into bars again. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before using parchment overhang to lift shortbread out of the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.


Pistachio, Cranberry and Cardamom Shortbread
1 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios
1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cream
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Pulse pistachios in a food processor until finely ground, about 20-30 seconds.

Add flour, sugar, butter, salt, cardamom and vanilla.  Pulse until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal.  With the machine still running, drizzle in 2 tbsp of cream.  This will result in a crumbly dough.  Add in the cranberries and pulse until just combined; about 5-10 seconds max.  **You do not want to over process the dough.

Using a spatula, transfer the dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open and roll the dough into a 9 x 10  inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn't cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hours, or for up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 and 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to baking sheets lined with silicon mats or parchment, spacing them about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. The edges should be very lightly brown.  Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.  Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.


Chocolate covered Lepkukhen

- 80 gr unsalted butter
- 225g white wheat flour (or plain flour)
- 255 g whole wheat flour
- 100 gr brown sugar (or brown sugar)
 - 2 tbsp Lebkuchen spice mix (***)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 eggs L
- 260 gr honey
- 4 tablespoons milk or cream

- Melted Dark Chocolate for coating


 Melt butter in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat and let cool slightly.

 Meanwhile, in a bowl mix flour with brown sugar or brown sugar, spices, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and lemon zest.

 Cream butter with eggs and honey slightly and incorporate the dry mass . Mix gently until a smooth dough, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 180 º C and prepare trays. lightly floured work surface. Place half of the dough and roll out with a rolling pin until leaving a 7-8 mm thick, adding more flour if it was too sticky. Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and distribute by trays. Bake for about 8-9 minutes.

While still hot, brush with a little cream or milk. .

When cooled dip the tops in the melted chocolate and allow to set. You can also dip the whole cookie to coat it completely if desired.

*** Lepkukhen spice mix:


2 T. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground anise seed
1/2 tsp. ground star anise


Nutella stuffed Hazelnut Sandies

Yields 20 cookies


2/3 cup (150g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup (180g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (70g) hazelnut meal (***)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (70g) icing sugar



Mix flour and hazelnut meal in a bowl. Break up lumps with the back of a spoon. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer cream butter on medium low speed until smooth. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy.

Add flour and mix on low for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to combine any dry lumps. Place in a zip lock bag and create a rounded log shape at the bottom of the bag. Refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 325F. Line baking pans with parchment paper. Set racks in the middle of the oven.

Slice the log into thin 1/4 inch cookies with a sharp knife, it's much easier if the dough is  properly chilled.  Set the cookies on a pan.

Bake for approximately 9 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden but not brown. Keep an eye on these!
Switch pan half way through baking. Transfer cookies to cooling rack.

When cool spread nutella on one side and place another cookie to create a sandwich.

*** For hazelnut meal line a tray with parchment and add hazelnuts, bake at 325 F for 7-10 minutes. When cool remove the peels by placing the hazelnuts between two tea towels and lightly rolling over top with a rolling pin.  Grind in a grinder until fine.


Cherry nests

Basic vanilla dough:


3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Filling: Cherry jam
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons almond 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.

Follow the instructions below for the basic dough, once it's made roll them into small balls (bite size)
Next you flatten them slightly on a flat surface and using the back of a wooden spoon poke a small indent (do not poke all the way through like a donut) in the centre.

Place on a flat plate and cover with plastic wrap, chill completely.

Before baking fill the centres with cherry jam using the back of a small spoon.

Bake on 350 for 12 mins or so. (bottoms should not be brown)

When cool make up the glaze and using a piping bag (with a small hole cut out) drizzle over the top of all the cookies to create a strudel pastry effect.


Cream Cheese pastry cookies
(tastes very much like a puff pastry palm leaf)

250 grams flour
100 grams cold butter, cut into pieces
200 grams cream cheese (soft, philly)
vanilla extract
60 grams granulated sugar

Mix all the ingredients into the flour and sugar and blend with hands until it resembles coarse crumbs like a pie pastry... wrap and chill.

Roll out to about 1/3 inch thickness in a large rectangle, sprinkle more white sugar over top and begin rolling like a cinnamon bun.

Chill again and then preheat oven to 400 F. Slice and dip each piece into sugar (I only dipped the tops as not to cause the sugar to burn on the bottom) and then bake for 15-20 minutes.

Cool and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Lowes Toronto Christmas Market - Distillery District

The Globe Restaurant - Rosemont, Ontario

Buckwheat Banana Oat Pancakes with warm Pecan Apple Maple Syrup

Buckwheat Banana oat pancakes:

2 eggs
1 Tbsp maple sugar
3 Tblsp oil or melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk (use as much as needed) 
2 mashed bananas

1 tsp vanilla
1 cup AP flour
2/3 cup buckwheat flour or spelt
2 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt

(oats for sprinkling, optional, use regular oats or spelt flakes)

Blend it all together without over mixing, lumps are ok. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. 

Heat some butter in a pan and begin to ladel about 1/4 cup of batter into a pan or on a griddle and cook flipping halfway through until done. 

Serve with maple syrup 
I used apple maple syrup, warmed in a small saucepan with toasted pecans added in.