Happy Christmas Eve! I hope that all your holiday preparations are going well. I am finally able to relax for a few days, and let me tell you, the break from work feels nothing short of awesome. It’s been forever since I last posted about what’s cooking in my kitchen and I’m super excited to share two of my favorite cookie recipes with you today.
Snowflake Sugar Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 egg
Place a fine mesh sieve or a sifter over a medium mixing bowl and add the flour and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar; using a hand-held mixer on medium-high speed cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light in color and has a fluffy texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and egg. Beat until blended, 1 or 2 minutes longer. On low-speed, gradually add the sifted flour and salt, mixing until just blended.
Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 2 balls. Place each half between 2 pieces of waxed or parchment paper and roll into 5-inch diameter disks. Place the dough on baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or as long as 24 hours.
When you are ready to roll and bake the cookies, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with silicone liners or parchment paper. Place 1 disk of the cookie dough on the work surface and remove the top sheet of paper. Lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour. Roll the dough out starting from the center to an even thickness of 1/8-inch. Using decorative cookie cutters cut the dough directly on the parchment paper. Use a spatula to transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet. Place the cookies at least 1/2-inch apart.
Gather the dough scraps and re-roll them to make additional cookies.
Bake the cookies 1 sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are golden around the edges and firm to the touch. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
The cookies can be stored in resealable plastic containers or cookie tins for 1 week. To frost the cookies prepare a recipe of royal icing as follows and decorate as desired.
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 pound confectioners’ sugar
Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat slowly until well blended. Then beat at medium-high speed until the icing forms stiff peaks, 6 minutes. If icing is not stiff enough add more sugar if it is too stiff add more milk. Use immediately or place in a plastic container with a lid until ready to use. Allow icing to dry for at least 24 hours before packaging.
*Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Living
This next cookie recipe will be without a doubt the BEST gingerbread you have ever eaten. I found the recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks (pictured above) – it’s a fabulous addition to any bakers cookbook collection.
Soft Glazed Gingerbread
- 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup dark molasses
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
To make the dough, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter on medium-high until creamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is completely smooth and soft. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg and mix well.
Add the molasses and corn syrup and beat until incorporated. Stop the mixer again and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and beat on a low-speed until a dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl and all the ingredients are well incorporated. Remove dough from the bowl, flatten it on a large piece of plastic wrap into a rectangle about 1 inch thick, cover the dough with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the over to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Unwrap dough and place on a floured work surface. Roll out dough and press with cookie cutters or patterned rolling pin (I found my pattered rolling pin at Sur la table a few years ago). Place on prepared baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart.
Bake the cookies until lightly golden along the sides, but still soft to the touch in the centers – about 7 to 15 min. The baking time will depend on the size of the individual cookies.
While the cookies are baking prepare the glaze. In a small bowl whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and water until smooth.
When the cookies are ready, remove from the over and let cool on the pan on a wire rack for about 10 min. Then, while the cookies are still warm, using even strokes, brush a light coat of glaze on the top of each cookie, evenly covering. Let the cookies cool completely.
Images via 97 Sullivan