The Larder TM_TL_COOKIES_FI_001

There is no holiday tradition I love more than the baking and sharing of cookies. Most of the year, I do my best to keep the sweet treats at bay, but during December, all bets are off. I make at least half a dozen varieties and hand them out to my friends, neighbors, and family members.

My first cookie of the season is always a basic roll-out sugar cookie. The recipe comes from an old family friend. It’s easy to make, can stand up to repeated rolling, and holds its shape during baking. I like to decorate them with a simple shake of colored sugar or sprinkles, but the truly ambitious can employ frosting as well.

The next cookie on my list is a chocolate chip shortbread. This is my husband’s favorite treat, and so I end up making at least three or four batches during the cookie season. The thing I like best about this recipe is that it gets better over time, so it’s a good one to keep on hand in an airtight container for unexpected guests. If you have any rye flour in your pantry, try substituting some in for the whole wheat pastry. It adds a nice, nutty flavor.

No holiday season is complete without a few gingerbread men and women. A trick I learned a few years back is to use powdered sugar instead of flour for rolling out gingerbread cookies. It keeps them from becoming discolored. And, for a little extra sweetness, whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons orange juice. Once it’s smooth, dunk the fronts of the cookies in the glaze and set them on a rack until the glaze sets up.

The last cookie is a classic chocolate crinkle. Made from a dense dough that is chilled, scooped, and tossed in powdered sugar until it develops a thick layer, it bakes into a chewy, fudgey treat. It tastes very much like a Tootsie Roll, which I happen to love.

What are your holiday cookie traditions?

Roll-Out Sugar Cookies

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Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Once it’s creamy, add the egg, milk, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the wet ingredients in stages.

Form dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 48.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Divide dough into four pieces. Sprinkle your board with flour and roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Cut with your favorite cutters and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until cookies are set but not too browned.

Let cookies cool on sheet for 1 minute, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

Makes six dozen cookies.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

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Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup miniature chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter a round removable bottom tart.

Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract together in a stand mixer, or using a handheld mixer.

Sift the flours, salt, and baking powder together and add to the wet ingredients in stages and mixing just until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Pat the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the cookie is light brown and fully set.

Remove the cookie from the oven and cut into 12 wedges, but do not remove from the pan until fully cool. Once cool, break apart along the cuts.

Cookies are best when fully cool and improve in texture after 24 hours of resting. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 12 cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

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Ingredients

¾ cup dark molasses
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup butter
¼ cup cold water
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
Powdered sugar for rolling

Instructions

Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, mix the molasses, sugar, butter, water, and ginger together.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves and add to the wet ingredients in stages.

Form dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 48.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Divide dough into four pieces. Sprinkle your board with powdered sugar and roll the dough out to ¼inch thickness. Cut with your favorite cutters and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until cookies are set but not crisp.

Let cookies cool on sheet for 1 minute, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

Makes six dozen cookies.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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Ingredients

½ cup vegetable oil
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and coffee granules. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Once it has melted, slowly add the chocolate to the rest of the wet ingredients.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the wet ingredients in stages. Mix until well combined.

Pack cookie dough into a small mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to 48.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Scoop dough into one-tablespoon portions and roll them between your palms into rounds. Toss the cookie balls in the powdered sugar to coat and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies spread and crackle.

Makes five dozen cookies.

Comments

  1. I love chocolate crinkles. I made the traditional one and the one with Rolos inside this Christmas. The Rolo ones always make my Christmas cookie list. This year, it’s been biscotti that I am making for the gifts.

  2. huntfortheverybest says:

    all of these cookies look delightful!

  3. Sandy Hines says:

    I’m going to make your chocolate chip shortbread. It looks so good.

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