Archive for ◊ December, 2010 ◊

21 Dec 2010 Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Tomorrow we’re making Christmas sugar cookies then heading out to see the Christmas lights.  It’s finally beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here–after two weeks of relentless pounding.  First external with a broken pipe and the yucky clean up mess under the house, then internal with some sort of stomach ailment and tomorrow I have to deal with some expensive car issues… But it’s nothing that decorating a few Christmas cookies and then going out to look at some wonderful Christmas lights won’t cure!

I’ve only been using this recipe for sugar cookies for one year, but my “Gild-the-lily” friend Louise has been using it for a many years.  It’s quite a gift she is giving us, sharing this recipe from King Arthur Flour. Click here for the source recipe http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sugar-cookies-recipe The cookies are supposed to have “crisp edges and soft middles” and they do! Last year my daughter and I decorated these cookies with royal icing (see picture above), but we actually preferred to eat the cookies undecorated!  How shocking is that! I suppose a  light sprinkling of colored sugar would fancy these up, but I wouldn’t over do it. This cookie is very good “as is”; chewy, buttery and sweet!

We used an intricate snowflake cookie cutter last year, and the dough handled it well. No problems cutting out the shape, and the dough kept the shape and proportions when baked.  Not all sugar cookie doughs do you know!  I rolled the cookies out in a mixture of powdered sugar and flour and then baked them on parchment paper (I found out the hard way that cookies rolled out in powdered sugar stick to the cookie sheets).

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

3 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp almond extract (I used additional vanilla because I don’t care for almond flavor, and I am sure lemon, orange and rum would all work)
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 375ºF. In medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. With mixer cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy, usually about 5 minutes. Beat in extracts and egg. Add flour mixture. Mix until moistened. Form dough into discs, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour before rolling and cutting into shapes. Bake 8 minutes until just golden at edges.

Thanks so much for stopping by my kitchen today! Sing with me now… “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” La, la, laaaa!

11 Dec 2010 White Chocolate Spice Cookies

Cut out cookies are as much a part of Christmas as eggnog, gingerbread, and peppermint.  What’s a cookie platter without decorated trees, stars, ornaments,  santa hats, snowflake, stocking and mitten?  I have a variety of cut out cookies to share with you.  I’ve already posted a gingerbread cookie recipe, which is decorated with white Royal Icing.  Later in the week I will post a cream cheese cut out cookie recipe, which can be decorated with colored icing and sprinkles.  Today I am sharing a White Chocolate Spice Cookie.   The cookie deliciously spicy from black pepper in the dough, and deliciously decadent from the white chocolate decoration. It’s a cut out cookie for grown ups, although my 2 year old grandson likes them as much as I do. His mom is the one person I know who doesn’t like these cookies.  She says they are “weird”. Hmpff. I think she’s weird.

My friend Kayte introduced this cookie to me in December of 1996.  I still have the original recipe, which was clipped from a Sunset Magazine from that same month and year.  I changed the method of making this cookie. Sunset’s directions said to mix the cookie in the food processor.  I didn’t like that at all.  The dough didn’t feel right at all, and the cookie was a bit tough so I have changed the recipe to reflect the more traditional method of mixing cookie dough.

White Chocolate Spice Cookies

2 cups flour
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (make sure you have fresh pepper, the stuff from last year won’t produce the result you want)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cubed, at room temperature
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
6 oz. high quality white chocolate, chopped (the cookies pictured above were decorated with melted Ghiradelli White Chocolate Chips)

  1. Combine flour, brown sugar, ginger, pepper, baking soda, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and allspice in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat softened butter for a minute or so.  Add in brown sugar and beat for an additional 3 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, combine water, lemon peel, and vanilla.  Then add to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Slowly add flour-spice mixture to butter-sugar-lemon mixture. Beat with electric mixer until all the flour has been incorporated.
  5. Divine dough into three balls, then flatten into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for an hour or so or until dough is firm enough to work with.
  6. Preheat oven to 325ºF and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Roll dough into sheets approx 1/4 inch thick (use minimal amount of flour) and cut with cookie cutters.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheeets
  8. Bake at 325ºF for 15 minutes or until cookie is a pale brown color .  Remove cookies to rack to cool.
  9. Melt chopped white chocolate on 50% power in MW for 2 or 3 minutes.
  10. Dip each cookie into chocolate, covering 1/3 to 1/2 of the cookie.  When all cookies have been dipped.  Use a fork to flick remaining white chocolate over undipped portion of cookie.
  11. Chill to harden the white chocolate.
  12. Store cookies in an airtight container.  Can be frozen for longer storage.  Makes 5-7 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cookie cutters used.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! I hope you enjoy this cookie, it’s been one of my favorites for thirteen years now, so I heartily recommend it!

10 Dec 2010 Peppermint Bark Cookies

Mmmmm…, the flavors of Christmas! For me they are gingerbread, eggnog and peppermint.  Last December Bon Appetit magazine featured this Peppermint Bark Cookie. It’s a shortbread base topped with melted chocolate, crushed candy canes, and then drizzled with white chocolate.  When cooled this bar cookie is broken into irregular pieces. Yes, a bar cookie!  This is a very easy cookie to make!

I can’t think of anything more Christmas-y than a plate of Gingerbread Folk, Egg Nog Spritz, and Peppermint Bark Cookies…, with Tangerine Sugar Cookies, Jam Pinwheels, Caramel Bars, Chocolate-Caramel Coconut Bars AND my soon-to-be-posted White Chocolate Spice Cookies, too 🙂

Peppermint Bark Cookies

2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg yolk
6 ounces (approx 1 cup) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (try to use a better chocolate than chocolate chips)
½ – ¾ cup finely chopped red-and-white striped hard peppermint candy canes ( 6 – 8 candy canes)
3 oz. (½ cup) white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina–no white chocolate chips if you want really, really good flavor)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a jelly roll pan or quarter sheet pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with long strip of 9-inch-wide parchment paper, leaving overhang on both short sides of pan.
  3. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl.
  4. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy about 3 minutes more. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.
  5. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork. Bake until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes (check after 20, mine got overcooked).
  6. Place pan on rack; immediately sprinkle chopped chocolate over hot shortbread. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Using small offset spatula, spread chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint candies over the melted chocolate.
  7. Melt white chocolate (I put in a small freezer Ziplock and MW-ed on 50% power for 90 sec. Squished to melt, cut a hole in corner of bag and drizzled over chocolate and candy canes). Drizzle white chocolate all over cookies. Chill until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
  8. Using paper overhang as aid, lift cookie from pan and transfer to work surface. Using large knife, cut cookie into irregular pieces.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in refrigerator in airtight containers between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper.

The cookie plate is looking spectacular now, isn’t it?

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen so often.  This is FUN!

09 Dec 2010 Tangerine Sugar Cookies

This cookie is new to me this year, but I think it will be making regular appearances from here on out.  I was a little hesitant to make this cookie because it has olive oil in it.  Olive oil?  I know olive oil is great in spaghetti sauce, but in a cookie?  I was about ready to turn the page when I saw cornmeal also on the list of ingredients.  If you’ve never had a cookie with cornmeal in it, you’re missing out.   I simply love the delicate crunch of cornmeal in a cookie.  I was imagining that cornmeal crunch with some tangerine sugar, and I was beginning to think  that the olive oil might actually work.  And it did!

This recipe was #83 in the Better Homes and Gardens 100 Best Cookies Special Interest Publication.  In my opinion, it should be rated much higher than #83, but they didn’t think about rolling the cookies in tangerine sugar.  That was my idea! If they had thought of it, they’d be putting these cookies in their top dozen.

One more thing, it does  seem like there is a lot of butter and oil in this recipe, and there is, but there is also 4 cups of flour.  This recipe makes a BIG batch of cookies, about 7 dozen–more than enough for the cookie swap, or for sharing with the neighbors 🙂

Tangerine Sugar Cookies

  • ¾ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • grated peel of three tangerines (at least 1 tablespoon grated peel)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 4 cups flour
  • tangerine sugar (mix 1/2 cup sugar with grated rind of 3 tangerines,  air dry in a thin layer on a cookie sheet for at least an hour before using)
  1. Prepare tangerine sugar and set aside to dry.
  2. Beat butter with an electric mixer for about a minute.  Add the sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt to the butter.  Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time, tangerine peel, vanilla and orange extract then gradually drizzle in the olive oil, beating constantly.
  4. Combine flour and cornmeal and then beat into the butter-egg-olive oil mixture.
  5. Cover dough and chill for 30 to 60 minutes, or until dough is easy to handle.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll into 1 inch balls.
  8. Roll balls in tangerine sugar and coat completely.
  9. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (I baked mine on parchment lined cookie sheets)
  10. Flatten dough balls slightly with slight press of three fingers or the palm of your hand.
  11. If desired, press a design into the top of the cookie.  You could make an  “X” or “///” design with a wooden skewer or toothpick.  Or you could use a special cookie cutter that leaves impressions of (for example) santa faces or angels. To get the flower design in my cookie, I used a fondant cutter.
  12. Bake cookies in preheated 350 degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes or just until tops are lightly browned.
  13. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  It’s always fun to see you.  Stop by again tomorrow and I’ll have a few more GREAT cookie recipes to share with you!