I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday! These are the cookies that we shared with our family and friends this Christmas season.
My list of favorite cookies continues to grow- at some point I will have to edit myself. 😉 I tried a new glazed gingerbread cookie using snowflake cookie stamps. I also made spritz cookies with almonds and almond extract using my grandmother’s cookie press. Festive and fun.
Although this holiday season has been very different, I was still happy to be able to share our Christmas cookies with family and friends. The assortment included our usual favorites, listed below. I added a Christmas version of our special linzer cookies, a vanilla bean version of my husband’s favorite- spritz cookies, and a new speculoos cookie.
These buttery spice cookies may be the closest I’ve come to replicating my favorite Biscoff cookies. They were especially wonderful warm. Known as Muskotsnittar in Sweden, or nutmeg slices, they are also very easy to make. Freshly ground nutmeg is essential.
This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart, via Martha Bakes on PBS. I weighed the flour, refrigerated the dough, modified the baking time, and trimmed the edges after baking. Yum.
Yield: Makes about 48 cookies
240 g (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine.
Divide dough evenly into quarters, about 155 g each.
On two pieces of parchment paper (each the size of a rimmed baking sheet), roll each quarter into a 14-inch-long rope, 2 per sheet, about 4 inches apart.
Flatten ropes to 2 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick.
Transfer parchment to baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
Using the back of the tines of a fork, make crosswise lines across the surface of each flattened portion of dough.
Bake, rotating halfway through, until golden around the edges and dry on top, 15 to 18 minutes.
Transfer sheets to wire racks; let cool 5 minutes.
While still warm, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch-thick slices. (I also trimmed the edges to make them more clean.)
Let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Happy New Year! I have many recipes to share- beginning with the recipes for the holiday cookies that were new to my assortment this year.
My husband could eat Danish butter cookies on a daily basis. 😉 I decided to add them to my Christmas cookie assortment this year after seeing and episode about Scandinavian cookies on Martha Bakes.
This simple and pure version from Martha Stewart is most successful when using high-quality ingredients. I used King Arthur Flour and Plugra European-style butter. I adapted the recipe by weighing the flour and by using a cookie press to make the cookies instead of piping them. Nice.
Yield: about 40 cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) best-quality salted butter, room temperature (I used Plugra)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
300 g (2 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add vanilla and egg, and beat to combine.
Gradually add flour, 1 cup at a time, and beat until well incorporated.
Transfer dough to a cookie press, I used the wreath disc, or into a pastry bag fitted with a 7/16-inch star tip (such as Ateco #825 or Wilton #4B).
Spritz cookie shapes or pipe dough into 2 1/2-inch rings onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart.
Bake, rotating halfway through, until lightly golden around edges but still light on top, about 12 to 14 minutes for spritz cookies or up to 20 minutes for piped cookies.
Transfer sheets to wire racks; let cool completely.
This year, I made an assortment of tried and true Christmas cookies to share with friends and neighbors, adding two new Scandinavian cookies that I felt compelled to try after watching an episode of Martha (Stewart) Bakes on PBS. 🙂
I made these “Art Deco” vanilla & chocolate shortbread cookies as part of my Christmas cookie assortment, but the colorful sanding sugar edge could easily be modified to suit any occasion. Pink and red would be amazing for Valentine’s Day! 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I doubled the recipe, in two separate batches, making the process even easier because I kept one batch to use for the vanilla stripes and the second batch for the chocolate stripes. I also used egg yolks to coat the cookies instead of a whole egg. Wonderful.
Yield: Makes 40-48 cookies
2⅓ cups all-purpose flour, divided
1½ tsp Kosher salt, divided
⅓ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
⅔ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
1 egg yolk or 1 large egg, beaten to blend
¼ cup sanding sugar (any color)
Whisk 1⅓ cups flour and ¾ tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Whisk cocoa powder, remaining 1 cup flour, and remaining ¾ tsp. salt in another medium bowl. These are the bases for your chocolate and vanilla doughs.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. (Do in 2 separate batches if doubling the recipe, making the vanilla dough first.)
Add egg yolk and vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until smooth.
Divide (for 1 batch) mixture between the 2 bowls of dry ingredients (about 1 cup in each). Scrape vanilla mixture back into stand mixer bowl (save the mixing bowl) and beat on low-speed just until combined. Return to reserved bowl.
Repeat process with chocolate mixture.
Arrange 2 large sheets (per batch) of plastic wrap or parchment paper on a work surface. Dollop one-quarter of chocolate dough in the center of each sheet and pat into rough 6×2″ rectangles. Dollop one-quarter of vanilla dough on top of each chocolate slab and pat into rectangles the same size and shape so that you have 2 layers each. Repeat entire process so you have 4 alternating layers.
Tightly press stacked dough into cylinders about 1½” wide and 8″ long, using the plastic wrap or parchment to help you.
Wrap logs in plastic wrap and chill until very firm, at least 2 hours. I chilled my dough overnight.
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°, preferably on convection.
Working one at a time, unwrap dough and brush with egg. Carefully sprinkle surface with sanding sugar and roll logs in sugar to coat well (really press dough into sugar so it sticks).
Slice into rounds a generous ¼” thick, rotating after every few cuts to keep slices round.
Arrange cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2″ apart.
Bake, rotating baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until edges are just set, 12–14 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets.
Note: Dough can be made 3 days ahead; keep chilled. Cookies can be baked 5 days ahead; store airtight at room temperature.