Sunday, December 25, 2011

2 For the Price of 1

Merry Christmas! In the spirit of the holiday and the notion that it's better to give than it is to receive, I'm giving you my final 2 Christmas cookie recipes to finish off what has been my Christmas cookie extravaganza. Hope you've enjoyed your holiday and the cookies that I've made to go along with it. First up...
Gingerbread Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
decorating sugar or sprinkles (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients; mix just until dough forms. Divide dough in half; place each half on a piece of lightly floured plastic wrap; pat each half into a 4-inch square. Wrap well; chill until firm, 1 to 2 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with one half at a time (keeping other half wrapped and refrigerated), place dough on lightly floured parchment or waxed paper; roll out 1/4-inch thick, turning, lifting and lightly flouring dough (and rolling pin) as necessary. Using paper, lift dough onto a baking sheet; freeze (on paper) until firm, about 20 minutes.

3. Remove from baking sheet. Using a long offset spatula, loosen dough from paper. Cut out shapes and transfer to baking sheets. Brush off any excess flour. Decorate with sugar or sprinkles, as desired (I decorated mine with white chocolate that I piped on).

4. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until firm and edges just begin to darken, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on size of cookies). Cool completely on sheets.

I saved the best, and my personal favorite, for last...
Soft Christmas Cutouts

5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp baking soda

1. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Chill dough for 1 hour.

2. Roll dough 1/4-inch thick and cut out.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Do not overbake so cookies stay soft. Once cooled, frost and decorate cookies as desired.