Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Christmas Cookies!

 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  

Even though this holiday season may not be the same as previous years, we could all still use a little 'cookie love' to deliver or send to loved ones or friends.  

Here is a sampling of the cookies I've made and frozen so far to be delivered to my 3 grandsons this weekend.  ♥♥♥


First, on the left, are my family's all-time favorite Candy Cane cookies.  These are from a vintage cookbook called Betty Crocker's All Time Favorites.  To the right of those, is a new stamp recipe shared my my friend, Monique, at La Table de Nana.  There are some ground oats in the recipe which gives them a slightly nutty flavor which I like.  I'll find out soon how the grandsons like them :) 


The rest are all sugar cookie cutouts.  I first made these at Thanksgiving and my grandsons loved them more than any other sugar cookie I've made, so it's a keeper in my cookbook!  

All the cookies, except for the stamped cookies, were frosted with Royal Icing.  The recipe I use includes meringue powder and glycerin for a slight sheen. You can find both at JoAnn craft stores. It makes enough frosting for a couple dozen cookies and keeps for a few days in an airtight container.  For the pine trees on the bottom, I mixed Wilton gel food coloring with a small amount of vodka to a consistency perfect for painting.  You can blend the colors just like real paint so it's a fun project.  

So, whether you will be alone or with your family "Bubble", a few cookies can bring some cookie happiness into your lives. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! 

I still can't figure out how to use the new Google Sites where I have kept all my recipes for years since I've merged them to the new format :(

Please copy and past from here:  

Candy Cane Cookies

Adapted from Betty Crocker's All Time Favorites

½ cup butter or margarine, softened
½ cup shortening
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp red food coloring

Topping:

1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy (candy canes work)
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Place the peppermint candy into a strong plastic bag and smash with a meat mallet or hammer until broken into bits. Place the broken pieces along with the granulated sugar in a food processor with steel blade and process until just coarse bits remain of the candy. Plastic in a bowl or storage container next to the oven when ready to bake.

Heat oven to 375 F.

Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, confectioners’ sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla; blend in flour and salt. Divide the dough in half and blend food color into one half. Place the dough in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

For each candy cane, shape 1 tsp of dough from each half into a 4-inch rope (for smooth, even ropes, roll the dough back and forth on a lightly floured surface.) Place the ropes side by side and press together lightly; twist. Place on a Silipat or parchment-lined baking sheet and curve the top of each twist to form the handle of the cane.

Bake 9 minutes or until set and very light brown. Sprinkle the peppermint sugar on the hot cookies right when they come out of the oven. Allow to cool on sheet at least 5 minutes before trying to removing to a cooling rack or parchment paper.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Notes:

I usually double this recipe because I like the canes a little larger. If making separate ropes is too time-consuming just take a little less than a tablespoon of each color dough together and roll them into a rope together, then, holding onto one end of the rope twist the other side to swirl the colors.

Half the dough can also be dyed green for wreaths, or leave the dough plain and dip each end in melted chocolate and then finely chopped nuts.

 

Stamped Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from Weekend at the Cottage


¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, finely ground in a food processor
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon salt
18 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into 1 tablespoon pieces

Sparkling sugar for sprinkling
Fluted or round cookie cutter slightly larger than your stamps
Cookie stamps  (I used Nordic Ware Starry Night Cookie Stamps)

Preheat oven to 300˚F and plastic rack in the center of the oven. 

In a food processor fitted with a blade attachment pulse oats until finely chopped. Add flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Pulse once or twice.

Add butter and run on a low dough comes together.

Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or  up to four days. On a floured surface,  roll one half of dough at a time 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out cookie shapes and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently but firmly press cookie stamps into dough.

It's best to freeze or refrigerated the stamped cookies about 15 minutes before baking to they hold their design better.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden, watching carefully that they don’t burn. (Mine took about 15 minutes).  

Remove from oven and sprinkle with sparkling sugar or  confectioners’ sugar. 

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week, or frozen.  


Royal Icing

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes about 2 1/2 cups of icing

5 Tablespoons meringue powder
4 cups confectioners' sugar, or more to thicken icing
6 Tablespoons water
3 drops glycerin

Clean Ketchup style squeeze bottles work great for piping the frosting!

Note: You can find both meringue powder and glycerin at JoAnn in the baking section.

Add the meringue powder and confectioners’ sugar to a bowl Add water, a few tablespoons at a time and mix with a hand mixer until the consistency looks good. Not too runny but not too thick.  It shouldn't hold peaks. Add more powdered sugar or water, if needed. Beat for 1 minute. Add glycerin and mix thoroughly.

The icing will keep for several days in an airtight container. After you decorate the cookies use sprinkles immediately, if desired.  Otherwise, the frosting will take at least one hour to dry thoroughly so handle carefully until then.

*To paint cookies, use Wilton Gel Food Colors. It's best to wait at least 8 hours or overnight before painting over the royal icing to make sure it's very dry.  Use new, clean, craft paint brushes that have no residue of other paints. Have 1 tablespoon of vodka in a small dish. (Vodka will dry the food coloring more quickly than water and not spoil the icing underneath.)  Dilute or mix gel colors to get desired colors using a small plate as a palate.  


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