I do admire people who post Christmas cookie recipes prior to Christmas! 😉
This recipe was adapted from one of my absolute favorite books, Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland by Shauna Sever. I used almond extract, Irish butter, a cookie press, and baked the cookies on convection. Simple and classic.
They can be made in any shape to suit the season. The original recipe also suggests topping the cookies with sprinkles, sparkling colored sugars, or drizzling or sandwiching them with chocolate.
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies
8 oz (225 g) unsalted European-style butter, at room temperature (I used Kerrygold)
120 g (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure almond, lemon, or anise extract
256 g (2 cups, spooned and leveled) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
sprinkles or sparkling colored sugars, optional
melted dark or white chocolate for drizzling, optional
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F (180 C), preferably on convection.
Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. (Silicone liners make piping a little bit easier because the they don’t lift up as the cookie press or piping tip pulls away.)(I used both!)
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy.
Add the confectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to medium and beat in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and the additional extract of your choice. Blend for 1 minute more.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder. Scrape down the bowl well and make sure the dough is well mixed.
Immediately transfer the dough to a cookie press or a heavy-duty piping bag fitted with a large open star tip, such as Ateco #826.
Spritz the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets. If using a pastry bag, pipe the cookies into desired shapes- aim for cookies about 2 inches (5 cm) wide, spaced about 2 inches apart.
Decorate with sprinkles or sparkling sugars, if desired.
Refrigerate on the sheets for about 15 minutes, or freeze for 5 minutes. (I placed the parchment on a plastic cutting board in the freezer.)
Bake until lightly golden at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies on parchment will brown faster; those on silicone mats will need a little more time to color.
Allow the cookies to cool on the sheets for 2 or 3 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. To finish non-sprinkled cookies, drizzle or sandwich with melted dark or white chocolate, if desired.
Classic butter cookies are my husband’s absolute favorite, so I had to try this vanilla bean version. He loved them! They are dangerously easy to make too.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used the ground cinnamon option, varied the shapes, and topped the cookies with festive colored sugars prior to baking.
Because the cookies are quite fragile, the original recipe suggests making them into sandwich cookies, filled with chocolate, Nutella, or thick jam, to increase their stability for shipping. We ate them as is!
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.
I HAVE to share… My family and I were able to escape our frigid New York weather for Valentine’s Day this year. It was WONDERFUL! 🙂
Besides being relaxed and warm, we were able to enjoy the sunset from the top of a volcano,
and release baby sea turtles into the Pacific Ocean each night after sunset. (When the sky was free from pelicans, hawks, and vultures! )
Before we left on our trip, I did squeeze in a Valentine’s Day dessert (of course!). This is a simple and amazing recipe for what I think are the perfect spritz cookies. When working as a chef years ago, the father of one of my daughter’s best friends made thousands of these cookies. (TWENTY thousand in a weekend for a single event to be exact- I am happy he is still willing to make them!) He has since made them with his kids and their friends (including my lucky daughter!) and I have been the fortunate recipient of not only warm cookies but also the fabulous recipe. I’m happy to share it this week with my friends at Fiesta Friday #57 at The Novice Gardener. By changing the cookie press shape, they are perfect for any occasion! We ate most of them plain but sandwiched some of them with dulce de leche or Biscoff spread. Yum! 🙂
Perfect Spritz Cookies
8 oz butter (2 sticks), softened
3 oz (6 T) cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees on convection.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add sugar; beat to combine.
Add egg yolk and vanilla; beat well.
Add salt and cinnamon; beat to combine.
Slowly add flour and mix on low speed until incorporated.
Using a cookie press, pipe onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.
Bake for 11 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
I have had difficulty with cookie press dough in the past. The consistency of this dough was absolutely perfect and easy to punch through the press. So, of course, the new problem was that half of my little Christmas tree cookies had a practically unrecognizable shape! I opted to make these little “wreaths”- and had absolutely no issues with the shape. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from the Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. According to the author, the cornstarch makes the cookies more delicate and easier to push through the cookie press.
These were my husband’s favorite Christmas cookie this year; they reminded him of “fresh” Danish butter cookies. Buttery with a hint of almond. Lovely!
44 g (1/2 cup minus 1 T/1.5 oz) blanched sliced almonds
257 g (9.1 oz/2 cups plus 2 T) unbleached all-purpose flour
30 g (1 oz/1/4 cup) cornstarch
a pinch of fine sea salt
150 g (5.3 oz/3/4 cup) superfine sugar
2 sticks (16 T/8 oz/227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp pure almond extract
sugar sprinkles for decorating, optional
Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (convection) for 30 minutes or longer before baking.
Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, or until pale gold. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid over browning. Cool completely.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
In a food processor, process the almonds until fairly fine. (They have to be able to squeeze through the cookie press!)
Whisk the almonds into the flour mixture.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat for 30 seconds, or until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the flour mixture and pulse in just until blended. Do not over mix.
Scrape the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and use the outside of the plastic wrap to knead together the dough until it is completely even and soft enough to pipe smoothly.
Form sections of the dough into a log and put into the tube of a cookie press. (Cover remaining dough.)
Using the press, place cookies on parchment-lined cookie sheets 1-inch apart.
Decorate with sugar sprinkles, if using.
Bake cookies for 6 to 7 minutes (convection) or up to 10 to 12 minutes in a standard oven, or until pale gold.
Cool on a wire rack.
Note: Cookies can be stored airtight at room temperature for 1 month; refrigerated or frozen for 6 months.