December 7: Italian Sand Cookies

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Yesterday was my last day of the semester, so now it’s just grading to get done and I’m free until January! Well, minus my other gigs and parenting and general adulting. But I’m not worrying about those things today. Today, it was sleeping in, cleaning, and making Italian Sand Cookies. 

I found the recipe for this years ago on Pinterest, and ever since, they’ve been a staple in my December cookie baking. However, during the three Louisiana years, they didn’t turn out quite right. I’m not sure if it was the humidity or my own distraction (you know, leaving the mixer on too long while I write another paragraph about Elizabeth Barrett Browning), but they spread out way too much there. We still ate them, so I’m not exactly sure what I’m complaining about. 

Again, the recipe amuses me. It lists all of the ingredients, and for the directions, it says, “Creaming method.” If you don’t know what that is, it’s mixing together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. 

It’s pretty simple really. Then you add the cornstarch and flour, and mix it all together. Again, I needed more flour than the recipe calls for…I used about another 1/3 of a cup. And when I was all done mixing, I looked for my beater-lickers, but alas, they were all at school.

So I guess I had to do it. It’s a sacrifice I was willing to make.

I piped them with a star tip onto my baking sheet and put them in the over. I also kinda burst the bag because I don’t know my own strength, and then had to put my finger over that part so the dough wouldn’t come out there. These are the behind the scenes things you don’t get with professional baking blogs.

They baked up wonderfully and looked the way they were supposed to look.  After they cooled, I dipped them in melted chocolate (chocolate chips with a little crisco to make it thinner), and topped them with sprinkles. These take a while to dry, so I set them outside on my back step for 15 minutes. (Thanks 21 degree Illinois day!)

Italian Sand Cookies

(courtesy of Chef Tess Bakeresse)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour (we used AP)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar *
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs
*(we also liked 3/4 c. conf sugar & 1/4 c. granulated which made them a slight bit sweeter)

Directions:

Creaming method. Put through bag with large star tip. Bake @ 375 F for 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown. Decorate with choc chips, sprinkles or leave plain and dip half in melted choc., etc.

December 13: Chocolate Chip Cookies

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(I took a week mental health break, but I’m back at documenting what was made. And they were made!)

It’s the old standard. The cookie everyone lists as their favorite. The kind that will evoke happy memories of home and love and deliciousness.

I try not to do a Chocolate Chip cookie for the blog, as I know there are so many others out there that beg for airtime. But, as I was home in Wisconsin for a weekend, two friends invited me to their home for Friend Christmas. They insisted I needn’t bring anything. I was okay with that, but thought I should bake a batch of cookies. Another friend, hearing all of this, went on a 10 minute spiel about what the perfect Chocolate Chip cookie was like. I was amused. After that, how I could I not make Chocolate Chip cookies?

I found this recipe a few years ago on Pinterest, looking to make a different kind of cookie. Well, the base for it (it was one of those “s’mores inside a chocolate chip cookie” cookie), is this recipe. The s’mores cookie turned out fine, but the real star was the Chocolate Chip cookie recipe.

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One of the key differences for this recipe is that it calls for 1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted, and then cooled off. It’s a weird request, and had the recipe not held up, I’d totally would have made fun of it. It holds ups, therefore, I hold my tongue.

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In went the rest of the ingredients into Nichole’s highly superior KitchenAid.

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And I balled up the dough and baked them.

Now, the recipe does have some pretentious instructions as to how to bake these. Follow it, don’t follow it, it’s up to you. I’ve done the whole “break it apart, put the jagged edges up, turn every 5 minutes” thing, and I didn’t see much of a difference.

I don’t have too many pictures for this recipe, as I was making it while waiting for my ride to the party. My ride was also the friend that gave me the cookie specifications he expected, so he was the first one to sample. He said, “Mmm. Hhghgg. Orrr!” Which was loosely translated to “You got it right.”

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Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

(from http://www.smells-like-home.com)

 

  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp (10 5/8 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed (7oz)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (5oz)
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions.Preheat oven 325°.Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined.Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined.Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball.Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves.Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball.Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes).Do not overbake.

 

 

December 10: White Velvet Cut-Outs

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I started this recipe last night since it has to chill in the fridge for awhile. I don’t have picture of me mixing together the dough, since it’s pretty basic and I feel like you all have seen enough pictures of flour in my mixing bowl.

So this morning, I took out the dough and went to work. Now that I’m done with school for the semester, I theoretically have time to do cut-outs.

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Instead of my normal bell cookie cutter, I wanted to try something I saw on the internet–triangle trees, cut with just a pizza cutter.

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Worked out pretty well.

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I realized that isosceles triangles look better than equilateral, but since Mr. Harris (my high school geometry teacher) wasn’t here to yell at me about the difference, I just triangle-d in all different ways.

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I baked them as instructed, and went to work on the frosting. Now, online, the Christmas trees were in odd colors. Hey, I’m all about odd colors.

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I did my best to recreate what I saw on the internet. I mean, I could have brought it up, but that would have been no challenge at all.

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But when it came time to do the teal, it got a little messy. So I decided to just do some graffiti frosting drizzle at the end.

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Eh. They’ll do. 🙂

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White Velvet Cut Outs

(from Gooseberry Patch’s Old-Fashioned Christmas Cookies)

1 c. butter, softened                           1 egg yolk

3 oz. cream cheese, softened              1/2 t vanilla

1 c sugar                                          2 1/2 c flour

Cream butter and cream cheese together. Beat in sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla, then stir in flour. Gather dough in a ball and chill overnight. To prepare, pre heat oven to 350. Rolll dough out to 3/16″ and cut into desired shapes. Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are light brown.

December 9: J-Dub’s Toffee Grahams

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Because of last year’s phone/text tutorial to J-Dub (see here for a re-cap), I can’t not think of her with these cookies.

I have since re-named them in her honor.

You’re welcome, J-Dub.

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Me and J-Dub. I will pay dearly for this. It’s worth it.

These are what you can make when you have 30 minutes to make something homemade and need something you can’t really screw up.

(Also, the heart of why J-Dub now has these named in her honor.)

The first step in this recipe–at least in my house–is to fetch the dirty pot from the sink and wash it. (Shut it. You know it’s the first step at your house, too.)

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I put in the two sticks of butter and cup of brown sugar. Rocket science, I tell you.

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And–helpful hint–you can use the wrappers from the butter to grease your cookie sheet. I’m like Martha Stewart and Pinterest, all rolled up into one fabulous red-headed baker-slash-poet.

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And then there’s the not so secret ingredient:

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This recipe calls for 24 squares of graham crackers, which because of my Yankee grocery store, I never understood. The south has the monopoly on square graham crackers. (I’ve only seen rectangles in the past.)

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Line up the graham crackers wall-to-wall.

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And after the butter and sugar mixture has boiled for two minutes…

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…pour it on the graham crackers and spread it out…

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..and add pecans, then throw it in the oven for 10 minutes.

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Once it’s done and has cooled (this is cooling part is very important, unless you’d like to visit your dentist unexpectedly), cut into little strips.

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Easier than putting in a bakery order; slightly harder than pushing a cart through CostCo.

J-Dub’s Toffee Grahams

(from Gooseberry Patch’s Old Fashioned Country Cookies)

24 square graham crackers

2 sticks butter

1 c. brown sugar

1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325. Arrange cracker squares on a lightly greased cookie sheet with edges around it. In a saucepan, bring the butter and sugar to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Pour over crackers, covering them well. Sprinkle with nuts and bake for about 10 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into 24 squares or 48 “fingers.”

December 8: Peppermint Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I bought some starlight mints the other day, and I’ve been itching to use them. (You’ll see why in a minute.)

I pinned these a few days ago because they looked pretty. But the instructions, as I discovered, are written by pretentious cookie snobs who want to make sure you are doing everything exactly right. Dear Control Freaks: You can’t control everything.

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This is my butter/crisco/sugar mix. According the instructions, this is supposed to be pale and fluffy.  (“In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, on medium speed, whip together butter, shortening and sugar until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed.”) Um, it’s crisco and butter and sugar. Unless I’m sacrificing a goat in there, it’s going to be pale and fluffy no matter what. (Also? You spelled “scraping” wrong.)

I added the rest of my ingredients and then was met with this bossy instruction:

“Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 during the last 10 minutes of refrigeration.”

Don’t tell me what to do.

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My mixer bowl and plastic wrap worked just fine, thank you.

When my chilling time was done, I scooped three balls into my hand with my 1T scoop because it calls for 3T. Math.

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And then…”Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle top lightly with flour, then using something flat and smooth (such as the storage container lid), press and evenly flatten dough to 1/2″ thick. Transfer flattened dough to a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and repeat process with remaining dough (you’ll have to use 2 cookie sheets).”

I have time and inclination for none of this.

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Worked just fine.

While my slummed-down cookies were baking, I mixed together the frosting.

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And I don’t care who you are: powdered sugar is going to get you.

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After all of this, my starlight mints were waiting.

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Hang on.

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That’s better.

Yes, I smash them to smithereens while in the wrappers and still in the bag. I find it controls the carnage better. And then you just unwrapped the wrappers and fill your bowl with mint bits.

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It’s such a good stress reliever.

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Cookies cooled and frosted, and decorated with the fruits of my labor.

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Peppermint Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 11 minutes

Yield: 15 bakery size cookies

Ingredients

    • 2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting work surface
    • 2 tsp cornstarch
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1/4 cup all vegetable shortening (unflavored), at room temperature
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 large egg white
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
    • Crushed candy canes, for topping
Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

  • Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, then whisk it just a few times, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, on medium speed, whip together butter, shortening and sugar until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in egg and mix until combine, then add egg white, vanilla and peppermint extract and mix until combine. With mixer running, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combine. Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 during the last 10 minutes of refrigeration.
  • Scoop dough out about 3 Tbsp at a time and roll into a ball. Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle top lightly with flour, then using something flat and smooth (such as the storage container lid), press and evenly flatten dough to 1/2″ thick. Transfer flattened dough to a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and repeat process with remaining dough (you’ll have to use 2 cookie sheets). Bake in preheated oven 9 – 11 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
  • For the frosting:
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese and butter until pale and fluffy. Add peppermint extract and powdered sugar and mix until pale and fluffy.

December 7: White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies

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I finally broke down today and bought molasses.

I know I didn’t let you in on this personal journey of mine, but let me assure you, it was difficult. Molasses is one of those things that stays in my fridge for 11.5 months of the year; it’s a main ingredient in many gingerbread-esque cookies. But every year, I take my old bottle out, bang it on the counter and swear at it until it starts flowing, and then realize I don’t have enough for what I want to do and have to buy a new, non-refridgerated bottle anyway.

We didn’t bring any molasses with us from Wisconsin, so this little tradition of mine was skipped this year, and I knew it would be it. Honestly, it wasn’t the same buying the bottle of molasses without the epic battle beforehand.

So to turn this bittersweet moment into a celebration, I decided to make a recipe that called for molasses. Thanks for this one, Pinterest.

I started the recipe with butter, sugar, and brown sugar, and mixed it up in Ol’ Trusty.

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And the measuring of the molasses went smoothly. Thanks for asking; I know you were thinking of me. I hunted high and low for my liquid measuring cup because that’s about the only thing I was ever marked down for in Mrs. Nardini’s 7th grade cooking class. Lessons of a lifetime.

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In went the rest of the ingredients. I saran-wrapped it and put it in the fridge.

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An hour later, I took it out and formed my cookies. My cookie shaper is about 1 T, and these were to be about 1 1/2 T sized, so I made them with 1 1/2 scoops. I rolled them in sugar and pressed them with a glass. (After they were on the cookie sheet of course; it’s hard to do it in mid-air.)

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While they were baking, I mixed up my white chocolate dip. This recipe calls for 3 cups of white chocolate. Yeah. That was never going to happen. Whatever is in a bag of chocolate chips was the amount I used, with about a T of coconut oil. Microwaved the chocolate responsibly until it was melted.

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When the cookies came out of the oven (looking good, btw), I cooled them and then the real decisions were made.

I wasn’t going to mix up royal icing just to make a little holly berry on each cookie. I mean, the pictures on Pinterest are beautiful, but I’m still wrestling with that paper from yesterday (about halfway done) and needed to opt for sprinkles instead. The question was: which ones?

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I have a slight sprinkle problem. And colored sugar problem. And jimmie problem. Basically, if it can decorate the top of a cupcake, I’m into it and have the collection to prove it.

After three trial runs, there was a clear winner.

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Thank you, Bekah Kate’s in Baraboo, Wis. for stocking this stellar gold sprinkle last year, just for these cookies.

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White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies

(from http://www.cookingclassy.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups white chocolate chips
  • 3 Tbsp shortening
  • sprinkles

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for 20 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Mix in egg, then blend in molasses and vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during last 10 minutes of chilling.
  • Scoop dough out about 1 1/2 Tbsp at a time, shape into balls then roll in remaining 3 Tbsp granulated sugar. Transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart (keep dough chilled that is not currently baking), flatten tops just slightly (to evenly level). Bake in preheated oven 8 – 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 cup white chocolate chips with 1 Tbsp shortening at a time in microwave on HIGH power in 10 second intervals, stirring between intervals, until melted, smooth and fairly runny (I did batches of it because it will cool as your dipping, plus its easy to burn so you don’t want to work with too much of it at a time. Then once you’ve used it up melt more, you may not need all 3 cups). Dip half of each cookie in melted white chocolate mixture then run bottom of cookie slightly along edge of bowl to remove excess, then return to Silpat or parchment paper to set at room temperature.
  • Sprinkle sprinkles on top, after the long journey to decide which ones to use

 

December 12: Christmas Peppermint Patties

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I ran around with my boys all day today, so when we got back to the house, I didn’t have a lot of time to make cookies. That, and somehow between my clean house of 4 p.m. yesterday, and waking up today, little elves came in my house and made it look like Beirut. I didn’t want to add to the mess any more than I had to.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, after looking through a couple of other ones. This one seemed to be easier than most and looked the nicest.

I assembled my ingredients and went to work. When I brought up the recipe online, the add below it made me laugh uncontrollably.IMG_0794

Sadly no, I will not be adding beef stock to this recipe.

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The recipe starts with 1/4 cup of softened butter and 1/3 cup of corn syrup. I decided to double it, as I had big plans for this little batch of mints.

Also? The corn syrup comes out so easily from its plastic squeeze bottle. Hear me, molasses manufacturers? EASILY.

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Once I add my powdered sugar, I was supposed to add my flavoring, more powdered sugar and then turn it all out on a cutting board to knead in more powdered sugar and food coloring.

I decided I wanted three different kinds of mints: wintergreen, spearmint, and peppermint. So I made each batch individually, starting by dividing my base into three bowl and only mixing flavoring and color in one at a time. It took awhile, but I was pretty excited at how it turned out.

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I kneaded each batch with more powdered sugar. (I did add food coloring in the mixing bowl though.) These suckers suck up the sugar! I decided it was the right consistency when the dough no longer stuck to the cutting board.

Also, when plopping sticky dough on to a pile of powdered sugar, keep in mind the force you are using. My pants paid the price.

Also, when plopping sticky dough on to a pile of powdered sugar, keep in mind the force you are using. My pants paid the price.

I then rolled each color into little balls, rolled them in sugar, and smashed (lightly) with a fork. Trust me on this slightly thing. I put my fork through a few of the first balls like I was avenging my father’s death, and I couldn’t get the tines back out.

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They are currently sitting out overnight on the counter, under a big Tupperware container to protect the minty goodies from any feline inspectors.

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Easy Christmas Peppermint Patties

(from http://www.momontimeout.com/2013/12/easy-christmas-peppermint-patties/)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 – 2 tsp peppermint extract or mint extract OR any other extract you want
  • food coloring – preferably gel or paste
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (to roll balls in)

Instructions

  1. Combine butter and corn syrup together in a small bowl.
  2. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and your choice of extract and beat until well combined. Add extract 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the mixture reaches your desired flavor.
  3. Stir in an additional cup of powdered sugar.
  4. Turn bowl onto a cutting board sprinkled with last cup of powdered sugar.
  5. Knead the mixture until sugar is absorbed and is completely smooth.
  6. Divide dough into three portions.
  7. Tint one portion red with the red food color/gel and one green. Leave one portion white.
  8. Shape into 3/4 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.
  9. Flatten gently with a fork.
  10. Let candies stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 day.
  11. Store in an airtight container.

Cookies (or candies, as the case may be) today: 93

Cookies (and candies) this year: 606

December 7: White Velvet Cut-Outs

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A long time ago, in an apartment far, far away, I made my first cut-out cookie as an adult. Disgruntled Husband and I were newly married his oma (German for “Grandmother”) gave me a cookie cutter.

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That brought my count up to one. When Christmas rolled around, I brought out the cookie cookbook from my teens and made cut-out cookies with my one cookie cutter.

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I didn’t make these last year and I found that I missed them. The recipe is super simple, but makes for a very tasty cookie. Instead of narrating the entire process, I think I’ll just use the pictures I took today, along with the recipe at the end.

(Oh, and the icing method and recipe can be found on my pinterest board, or on the sole November 2014 post on this very blog.)

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White Velvet Cut Outs

(from Gooseberry Patch’s Old-Fashioned Christmas Cookies)

1 c. butter, softened                           1 egg yolk

3 oz. cream cheese, softened              1/2 t vanilla

1 c sugar                                          2 1/2 c flour

Cream butter and cream cheese together. Beat in sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla, then stir in flour. Gather dough in a ball and chill overnight. To prepare, pre heat oven to 350. Rolll dough out to 3/16″ and cut into desired shapes. Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are light brown.

Cookies today: 37

Cookies this year: 318

December 4: Italian Sand Cookies

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I saw this recipe on Pinterest, but wasn’t going to make it. I liked reading about the search to get this “secret” recipe right, and it brought back memories of also getting this cookie in bakeries over my lifetime. (Note: I have yet to meet a bakery I didn’t like.)

But this recipe was like an ear-worm, only it was in my brain. I couldn’t stop thinking about it–remembering the cookie myself, and then the blogger’s quest to find the recipe. It’s something I can understand doing (To this day, I fantasize about a cookie I had a few years ago and can’t find the recipe. I’m sure one of these days I’m just going to try to figure it out for myself.)

You may have eaten these in the past, too. When I was a kid, they were in the top shelf of the display at Kings’ Bakery, in the tray closest to the front. They aren’t anything fancy, but boy were they good. The ones they had came with some rainbow sprinkles on them.

So, the good people (or person..I think it’s just one fabulous lady) at Chef Tess Bakeresse went in search of the recipe. There’s a whole post devoted to the mission at http://cheftessbakeresse.blogspot.com/2010/06/evil-italian-butter-cookies.html and it really is adorable.

"Creaming method" adding of the flour.

“Creaming method” adding of the flour.

I love how the instructions are simply “creaming method,” as if it’s saying “if you don’t know what we mean, then you probably should stick with ready-made cookies.” It’s just an easy way to say mix the butter, shortening, and sugar together, then add the vanilla and eggs, and then finally the rest of the ingredients.

(I will say though that my dough was a little to sticky when I followed the recipe. I could have chilled it, but instead I added a little more flour–about another 1/3 c. In hindsight, it probably could have been a little less, but they turned out just fine.)

Once that is done, you get out a big star tip and a pastry bag, and fill it with the dough. Pastry bags are nothing to fear. It’s just a matter of getting the right tip with the right consistency of dough. And, like this recipe, most of the time it will tell you which one to use.

My tasty little Italian babies, all ready for the oven.

My tasty little Italian babies, all ready for the oven.

I piped circles on the parchment paper and filled them in. There are two schools of thought on this…either go from the inside out, or the outside in. Either way, they will taste the same, so do whatever makes you happy.

After they came out of the oven and cooled, my kids were home from school. And of course, I had a little helper. After I melted the chocolate chips (with just a little bit of coconut oil for consistency reasons), Mini Me informed me she was the official sprinkle-putter-onner. That lasted for one tray of cookies. She abandoned me for Sofia the First, and I had to sadly finish the cookies myself.

A simple recipe that tastes like a million bucks!

A simple recipe that tastes like a million bucks!

I let the cookies dry on wax paper, but then decided to speed up the process by throwing the cookies (stilon wax paper, now back on cookie sheets) into the freezer for 10 minutes.

After trying one, Disgruntled Husband had a look of shock on his face and said, “These are REALLY good.”

(Thanks for the vote of confidence, dear.)

The (much shorter) video about said recipe:

 SAND COOKIES

(from www.cheftessbakeresse.com)

1 1/2 cups flour (we used AP)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar *
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs
*(we also liked 3/4 c. conf sugar & 1/4 c. granulated which made them a slight bit sweeter)

Creaming method. Put through bag with large star tip. Bake @ 375 F for 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown. Decorate with choc chips, sprinkles or leave plain and dip half in melted choc., etc.

Cookies today: 37

Cookies this year: 230

December 3: Swirled Sugar Cookies

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I don’t know what previous generations did without Pinterest. I really don’t. I can find jokes, recipes, directions on making plutonium from common household items (come on, what movie?), and a vast array of urban legends people post. One of these days, I’m going to put something on there super outrageous, just to see how many people try it. (“The secret of younger skin is found in the litter box!”)

But I digress.

I found these on Pinterest and the pictures were just so pretty, I couldn’t not try to make them myself. It’s from a site called salt tree.com. I followed the basic sugar cookie recipe from that website, and then split the dough in half and dyed one part of it Royal Blue.

Nothing in nature is this color, which makes it fun!

Nothing in nature is this color, which makes it fun!

And I don’t care who you are, you will somehow always get food coloring on you somewhere when you work with this stuff. It looks like I committed a Smurf-icide.

Both doughs got wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled in my fridge for an hour. I then rolled it out and uttered some not-Christmas friendly terms. Putting one layer of dough on top of another requires patience and precision, of which I have neither. But somehow, I made it work.

I think I may have actually broken out "Son of a Nutcracker" whilst trying to make this work.

I think I may have actually broken out “Son of a Nutcracker” whilst trying to make this work.

Here’s a (much shorter) video on how I did it, and then how I did the next part–rolling the whole damn thing in sprinkles.

After I let the roll hang out on my front porch, I sliced the roll into 1/4″ slices and baked them. And, thanks to Salttree.com and Pinterest, it turned out exactly as it looked online! Win!

So pretty!

So pretty!

Swirled Sugar Cookies

(From Salttree.com)

Sugar cookie recipe:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream it all together.

Then split it in half and dye one (or both, I suppose) with food coloring.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball of dough separately to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Using a pastry brush, apply a little water to the darker layer of dough.  Roll the lighter colour of dough around the rolling pin and transfer it on top of the darker coloured layer of dough.  The little bit of water will help them stick together.

Trim the edges so you end up with a neat and tidy rectangle.  Save the scraps! (I did and made smaller rolls with them.)

Roll it up, jelly roll style and pour out a container of sprinkles. (Take it from me, it’s easier to use a cookie sheet or something.) Brush the log with a little water and roll in the sprinkles.

Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for an hour.

Slice them about 1/4″ thick and place on cookie sheet (I line mine with parchment paper). Bake for about 10 minutes at 350.

Cookies today: 105

Cookies this year: 193