Friday, December 14, 2007

Favorite Christmas Recipe

I have been a baking fool the last 3 days. One thing that can be tricky is I live in a higher altitude. And because of it I get inconsistent baking results. Last year I made Chocolate chip cookies with peppermint bark and they turned out really great mounded in nice round scoops -- this year same recipe made flat cookies. They taste good but they are flat.

Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies last year...

This years....

But my favorite recipe holiday cookie recipe that smell good, look pretty and taste great are Cardamom Butter Cookies. I roll them out and do cut outs. This year I did Christmas trees, stars and snow flakes. But I was having a few problems with the dark chocolate drizzling right. But still had fun playing Jackson Pollack. I haven't taken a picture of this year yet. But this is a picture of last years....

For cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

For espresso and chocolate icings
1 teaspoon instant-espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), melted

Special equipment: 2 small heavy-duty sealable plastic bags (for icing; not pleated) I just drizzle it on with a spoon

Make cookies:
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice in a bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes in a stand mixer (preferably fitted with paddle attachment) or 4 minutes with a handheld. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Form dough into 2 (12-inch) logs (1 1/2 inches in diameter), each on its own sheet of plastic wrap. Use plastic wrap and your hands to roll, press, and square off sides of logs. Chill logs on a baking sheet until slightly firm, about 1 hour, then smooth logs with plastic wrap and flat side of a ruler to achieve straight sides. Chill logs on baking sheet until firm, about 1 hour.

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut enough scant 1/4-inch-thick slices from a log with a knife to fill 2 large ungreased baking sheets, arranging slices about 1 inch apart (chill remaining dough, wrapped in plastic wrap).

Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes total. Cool on sheets 3 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled baking sheets.

Ice cookies:
Whisk together espresso powder, vanilla, and 1 1/2 tablespoons milk until espresso powder is dissolved, then add confectioners sugar and enough additional milk to make a thick but pourable icing. Spoon into a sealable bag and snip 1/8 inch off a bottom corner.

Spoon melted chocolate into another sealable bag and snip 1/8 inch off a bottom corner.

Pipe some espresso icing and chocolate over each cookie and let cookies stand on racks until icing sets, about 2 hours.

Cooks' notes:
• Dough logs can be chilled 5 days or frozen, wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap, 1 month (thaw in refrigerator just until they can be sliced).
• Cookies (with or without icing) keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.

(above recipe is from Epicurious)

Now I need to go make trays up and also make a crab dip for a party we are going to tonight.


  1. danae,

    I just wanted you to know that I made the butter cookies this year and they are fantastic. I didn't get fancy like you with cutouts, I just did the square logs, but OMG I love them. Master likes them too, he said they are a lot like ginger snaps, with the spice they have. MMmm, they have know joined my favorite recipes catalog I have a home.


  2. luna, I am so glad you guys are enjoying that recipe! As I said it is a favorite of mine.


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