Lightly Spiced + Everything Nice Christmas Cookies

This year, I am the Christmas Queen. SERIOUSLY. I am so incredibly proud of myself because I have NOT waited until the very last minute for my gifts. Usually, things get pretty down to the wire for me and I wind up finding myself staring at the impossibly long line at the post office praying that I can get things out on-time, then paying an arm and a leg to insure that possibility becomes a reality. But not this year, friends. This year, your girl started shopping a full TWO (2) months in advance. Granted, that first purchase was actually for myself (holiday cards), and I didm’t buy anything else for a month, but it COUNTS.

I will say this though: I’ve been behind on my holiday cookie making/ consumption. Only ONE batch of classically-Christmas cookies (oo alliteration) has made it out of the kitchen, and it’s already December 21st! I’m ashamed. BUT, I plan to make up for this in the coming weeks. First up: these very lightly spiced (+ everything nice) Christmas cookies!

These are very, very simple cookies meant for when you want a taste, but you don’t have a ton of time to fuss. The base is a classic sugar dough recipe, but with a hint of every single spice you have ever associated with Fall/winter.

These cookies are crispy, buttery and a bit little crunchy from the optional topping of Demerara sugar, which I recommend because not only does it add an extra layer of texture,  it also makes your cookies sparkle like they’re supposed at Christmas time. And although these cookies do have spice, it’s only a hint. I like it because it elevates your sugar cookie, and gives it a little more oomph. These cookies are for sugar cookie purists looking to fray a little from the pack. Go crazy, but not too crazy, know what I mean?

Try some!

 

LIGHTY SPICED + EVERYTHING NICE CHRISTMAS COOKIES

What You’ll Need:

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Demerara sugar for topping, optional

 

DIRECTIONS 

Whisk the spices, salt, baking powder, and 3 cups flour in a small bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer, or a wooden spoon), beat the butter and sugar on high speed until well-combined. Next, add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract, and beat until combined. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl if necessary.

Reduce the speed to low, then add about half of the dry ingredients until just combined. Then, add the rest and mix until combined; be careful not to over mix.

Form the dough into two 3/4 inch thick disks (you should see flecks of spices throughout the dough), wrap each disk in plastic wrap, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Let one disk of dough come to room temperature on the counter for 5-10 minutes so that is softens slightly. On a sheet of parchment paper that has been lightly floured, roll out the first disk of dough to 1/4 inch thickness, dusting with flour if it gets too sticky. Make sure to also flour your rolling pin, and cookie cutters. Cut out shapes with your cookie cutters, then transfer to the cookie sheets. Leave about 1 inch of space between each cookie.

Bake cookies about 12-16 minutes, rotating from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking, until the edges are lightly golden brown. If using, immediately sprinkle Demerara sugar liberally on the tops of each cookie, then let them sit for five minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

TO STORE: Cookies will last for at least a week if kept in an airtight container.

 

 

SOURCE: Adapted from Bon Appetit and Dorie’s Cookies

Merry Christmas! Have a Cookie.

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Merry Christmas! May your holiday season be full of whimsy, and your holiday baking successful.

This was my first time using royal icing and a piping bag, and I’m happy to say that things went off without a hitch! Can’t wait to snack on cookies all day and night long.

Two things:

  • Here’s how to make the best royal icing ever…
  • …And the ULTIMATE sugar cookies to go with it!

 

I’m staying in my Christmas jammies all day, and don’t try to stop me.

 

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Vanilla Almonds

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You know those special candied almonds you find at farmer’s markets or fairs in the super fancy packaging that you love, but never really think you could make yourself? Well, this is the post that is going to prove that theory wrong. Six ingredients are all you need to make these addictive nuts, and I’m fairly certain you’ve got them in your pantry right now!

You can give these almonds as a gift, eat them between meals, or treat them as a great after dinner dessert. Whichever way you go, one thing is for certain: it is entirely impossible to eat just one. Good thing this recipe makes lots and lots of almonds!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups whole almonds
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Beat the egg white and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Once combined, add the almonds and stir around, making sure each almond is coated.

In another smaller bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Once combined, add to the almonds and stir around.

Place almond mixture in a single layer on a greased baking sheet, or one lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 300 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer almonds to a sheet of wax paper to cool. Once cooled enough to touch, break into clusters.

SOURCE: Kelsey’s Essentials 

Mexican Wedding Cookies

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Holiday baking is officially in full swing and there is no one in this world happier about that than I am. There are holiday parties all over the place in the near future, and it means loads of planning, which puts me front-row-center in my happy place. To make things even sweeter, we have a beautiful, fragrant Christmas tree just waiting to be decorated, and of course, the proper way to decorate any tree is with a mouthful of cookies and ornaments in both hands.

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It’s always best to ease into the baking season with a simple cookie that’s tasty and seemingly complex enough, but takes you very little time in the kitchen to make. After all, you’ve got a lot of baking ahead of you, and don’t want to burn yourself out with the very first batch! That’s where these Mexican Wedding Cookies come in. They’re simple little things, but they’re packed with buttery flavor,  nutty crunch, and so much sugar. They’re perfect for any time of year really, but just seem to make everything just a little brighter around Christmastime.

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I used almonds in my cookies, though you can get away with any nut you love, so long as you chop it up finely. No one wants to bite into a cookie with just a little too much crunch. Though if you ask my father, he’d strongly disagree. He’s been pushing for weeks for a dessert with nuts, and so far, these haven’t disappointed him!

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There is actually no such thing as too much powdered sugar with these cookies, and that is absolutely a fact. It reminds me of the gentle kiss of snow and how much a beautiful winter day can put me in a wonderful mood…you know, if I don’t have to drive in it. But looking out the window with a warm cup of cocoa, impossibly cozy socks, and a stack of new cookbooks with spines that crack upon first opening, is my kind of winter’s day. Put a plate of these Mexican Wedding Cookies in front of me, and we’re talkin’ business.

 

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, or almonds)
  • Powdered sugar for rolling

Find the recipe here at Crazy for Crust!

 

LET THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE SEASON BEGIN.

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Cookie Party!

First, I have to apologize for my brief absence. The second I was seated next to a coughing, sneezing, sniffling gentleman on my plane ride back to Boston from Wisconsin, I knew that I was a goner. It took maybe an hour or two for the sickness to sink in, and I was out of commission for a full week. I’m just now starting to feel like myself, and if I ever see my row-mate again, I’m going to cough all over him.

Being sick for ages and ages limited my activity, and the one thing that I wanted the most while I was sick, was the one thing I was too exhausted to make: a cookie. I have a sweet tooth that cannot be denied, and because I refuse to buy anything from bakeries that I can’t make myself, I was fresh out of luck. But now, now that I’m feeling better, I set out to complete my mission. And just in time as well, because my co-worker and I decided to throw an impromptu cookie party for the office! Fair, it’ll just be us bringing cookies, but there will be cookies, and that’s really all that matters.

If there’s anything you know about me thus far, it’s that I collect a lot of recipes, but I hardly ever do anything with them but stick them in my “Recipes” folder. I’ve got so many that my fingers start to get tired after a while from scrolling through. But today, as I searched and searched for a recipe that was simple enough to make, but still totally impressive, there was one special cookie that screamed out to me: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip S’Mores Cookies. YEAH, S’MORE. I’ve tasted a s’mores cupcake, but never a s’mores cookie. And today was the day.

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And for real, I can’t believe how simple these cookies were to make, but also how INSANE THEY TASTED. There are few things better in this world than a toasted marshmallow, and I did it using the broiler on my oven. I tell you, my mind was blown. And I’m going to blow the minds of all my work chums tomorrow, mark my words.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip S’Mores Cookies: totally into it.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup softened salted butter
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2½ cups quick oats
  • 2 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 12 giant marshmallows, sliced into thirds

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Using a stand mixer fi tted with the beater attachment, cream the butter and sugars at medium-low speed until well combined.  Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add in the vanilla; combine well.

In a separate bowl, combine the fl our, baking soda, salt, and graham cracker crumbs.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet batter. Mix on low until just combined. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.

Scoop rounded balls of batter onto the prepared sheets. The batter will spread, so be sure to leave ample space between.  Bake for 13–15 minutes, or until the edges are very lightly browned.

Remove from the oven, and immediately top with a slice of marshmallow.  Allow to cool on baking sheets.  Before serving, place the pan under the oven broiler or use a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallows.

SOURCE: The Cake Blog

The cookies are safely tucked in their tin foil, and ready for a trip to the office tomorrow, and I’m snuggled in my blankets becaause it is positively freezing. And I’m totally slacking on my holiday movie-viewing, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a date with The Santa Clause before bed.

HAPPY BAKING!!

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The Christmas Playlist

I’m late on this, as I’m sure you’ve had thousands of Christmas playlists in your face since November 1, but I’m not too late for the actual holiday! The truth is: I listen to Christmas music all year long (that’s what headphones are for, … Continue reading