Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Minute Christmas Cookies

Actually this post is a little late - I was meant to publish this before I went Christmas carolling, but I couldn't upload my photos and I was running late, so here I am posting this on the early minutes of Christmas Day! But any rate, enjoy these cookies :)

Following on to my previous post - Yes, I did have time to cram in a few more cookie baking sessions! Since we only have a day or so left until Christmas, I thought I'd summarise the three other cookies I baked for this year's holidays in one, short post.

I think any of these recipes would be perfect as a last minute addition to your cookie can, or to be packed as gifts (I baked the latter two recipes in one morning and they are set to be given off tonight), or just to be bookmarked and made another time next year!

World Peace Cookies

Man, who hasn't heard of these before? A rich, crumbly cookie loaded with dark chocolate bits, everyone is bound to like them. The dough can be stored in the freezer, and baked straight from their frozen state after slicing, so you can enjoy fresh cookies anytime your heart desires this holiday! The recipe can be found on Smitten Kitchen.

Lemon Cranberry Shortbreads

Recently I've learned to like dried cranberries, after eating a bun from a local bakery that had cranberries with linseeds. Anyway, I knew I had to bake these the moment I saw the recipe - I mean, a citrusy, fragrant lemony shortbread - one of my favourite flavours, since it balances the richness of the butter - is bound to appeal, and with my latest favourite food - dried cranberries added? It went straight onto my holiday cookies list. The original recipe asks for the dough to be pressed into a pan, baked and then sliced into bars. I didn't have such a big pan (even if I did it wouldn't fit into my puny oven anyway), so I chilled the dough, rolled it out and cut them into hearts instead.

Chocolate Shortbread Men

This can be said as my substitute for gingerbread men, since I really haven't
acquainted a taste for the spiced cookie yet. The shortbread recipe used to make these men have been tried out by me for a billion times - it is definitely fool proof. Only involving four basic ingredients, the dough is very versatile indeed and tastes wonderful. I've included the original recipe below and some of the variations I've tried before.

And lastly, a warm Merry Christmas to you all! Whilst I may be hiding behind my books and revising for my mock exams this holiday, I hope everyone of you will enjoy the holiday with your loved ones!

Lemon Cranberry Shortbreads
Adapted from dandysugar

3 lemons
cup (1 1/2 sticks) (170g) butter, at room temperature
cup (50g) granulated sugar
cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar
cups (250g) all-purpose flour
cups (60g) dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 300° F (150 C). Line a baking tray with baking paper, set aside.
2. Grate all the zest from the lemons and combine with the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Rub the two together until sugar is moist and fragrant.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until creamy. Add flour and mix on low speed until a crumbly dough appears. Add the cranberries and use your hands to form a soft dough. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour
4. Roll out the dough tp around 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thickness. Cut out shapes, transfer onto the lined tray and bake for 10-12 mintues until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before packing.

Basic Shortbread Recipe

Adapted from BBC Good Food

325g plain flour
200g chilled salted butter
125g/4½oz golden caster sugar
2 tsp good-quality vanilla extract
2 large free range egg yolks

1.Tip the flour into a food processor. Cut the butter into small pieces and drop them into the bowl, then whizz until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks and whizz to a small dough. Chill the dough for an hour.
For those like me who don't have a food processor:
Put the flour into a large bowl, and cut butter into 1cm cubes. Rub the butter into the flour until incorporated and the mix looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks and use your hands to press everything into a dough. If it is too dry, add a couple drops of water. Chill the dough for an hour (or shape into a log beforehand for slice/bake cookies).
2. Preheat oven to 180 C. Roll out the dough and cut out shapes or slice the dough, arrange on lined cookie sheets. Bake for 15-20minutes until golden brown.

Chocolate: Replace 2tbsp of the flour with cocoa powder. Decorate cookies with chocolate chips if desired.
Lemon: Grate in the zest of one lemon into the sugar and rub until moist and fragrant before combining with everything else. Omit the vanilla.
Coffee: Add in 1-2 tsp espresso powder to the dough along with the sugar.
Pinwheel Cookies

2 Responses to “Last Minute Christmas Cookies”

Dodol & Mochi said...

Merry X'mas & Happy 2010 to you, too!!

Lovely cookies!


Foodfreak said...

The chocolate shortbread men are especially cute!

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