Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Cookies 2017



The boys and I recently spent a day in the kitchen baking. It was so much fun. I took a ton of pictures! And then I erased all the pictures! It was a night I was up late and I should have gone to bed. Instead, I tried to get the photos off my camera and onto my computer and messed up. I spent hours downloading these tools that *could* help you recover the pictures and I had no luck. I finally cried a little and told myself it was a lesson learned. 

I do have one picture I took with my phone.



But the pictures I miss are the ones of Little JCrew holding the doughball that he had turned into a face with googly eyes. And the picture of Pfitzer putting scraps of dough onto the cookie sheet (he had been watching us!) And the ritz crackers we dipped in chocolate and the peanuts we drizzled in chocolate. Lesson learned the hard way.


The cookie recipe I went with this year was new. I actually did two and they were both good. They reminded me of Panera Bread’s cutout cookies that they decorate. Here are the recipes:

Chill Dough Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups All-Purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Plan and Prepare

  • Make sure the butter and eggs are room temperature.
  • Sift together the flour and salt

Make Dough

  • Cream butter and sugar in your mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Do not skim on this step or the cookies will be very dense.
  • Add eggs one at a time slowly, mixing each well until incorporated.
  • Continue mixing on medium for about two more minutes.
  • Next add the Vanilla
  • Add the flour. Do not over mix once the four is incorporated.
  • Bring the dough together and divide into two discs
  • Wrap in cling/plastic wrap for at least 1 to 2 hours.
 Roll Cookies
  • Once the dough is chilled; roll dough on a prepared surface. (I used wax paper)
  • Roll cookies to a minimum 1/4 inch thick using a rolling pin..
  • Cut out desired shaped cookies and place them on a cookie sheet one inch apart.
  • I prefer to chill the cookies while the oven is preheating. 
  • Preheat the oven at 360 F
  • Bake cookies for about 8 to 10 minutes depending on thickness of the cookies. 
  • When baked let cool on the tray for 7 to 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool further. 
 Storage 
  • This cookie recipe can be halved or double without any issues.
  • The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days or
  • Frozen for up to three months. If frozen thaw in the fridge over night before you roll out. 
  • The baked cookies will stay at room temperature for up t 4 weeks but best eaten within a few days.
 **********************************************
No-Chill Dough Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups All-Purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Full Fat Sour Cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

Plan and Prepare

  • Make sure the butter and eggs are room temperature.

Make Dough

  • Cream butter and sugar in your mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg yolk and vanilla extract, mixing each well until incorporated.
  • Add sour cream and mix again.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt. 
  • Bring the dough together. The batter will start to curdle and look odd. That's perfectly normal.
  • When the curdling happens, it's time to start using your hands to form a ball of cookie dough.
 Roll Cookies
  • Roll this dough between 2 sheets of wax paper.
  • Cut out desired shaped cookies and place them on a cookie sheet one inch apart.
  • Preheat the oven at 350 F
  • Bake cookies for about 9 minutes depending on thickness of the cookies. 
  • When baked let cool on the tray for 7 to 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool further. 

 Extra Touches
  • To make Almond sugar cookies, add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tsp almond extract.
  • To make Orange sugar cookies, replace vanilla extract with 2 Tbsp orange extract or orange oil and also add 2 Tbsp orange zest.
  • To make sSpiced sugar cookies, add 2 tsp cinnamon powder and 1 tsp nutmeg powder.
One needed chilling, the other did not. What I had done was made the one that needed to be chilled a month ahead of time. Then the day before I wanted to use it, I put it in the fridge to thaw.

During our day of baking, I rolled out wax paper on my countertops. Every inch was covered. Clean up was a breeze. The boys got peanut butter and chocolate everywhere, but there was no mess to clean. And with the cookies, I used a sheet of wax paper between my rolling pin and the dough so there was no flour mess! I will remember this in the future.


Cutting out the shapes was easy. The boys caught on fast about placement so that dough was not wasted. Mr. Brigglesworth loved this part. He was very meticulous with getting the shapes out. He didn’t grab the cookie out. Instead, he grabbed the scraps and left the cookies on the wax paper. As he collected the scraps, he was forming a ball. He took his time, and when I looked at the clock, I intervened and tried to speed up the process. We had several cookie sheets going at once. I never put more than one in the oven, but while a sheet full of cookies was waiting, I place it in the fridge.
These cookies held their shape so well. It was perfect!



We made so many shapes. The next part was equally as fun and I made sure to document with pictures to make up for the pictures I erased. 




Little JCrew LOVED putting as many things on ONE cookie as he could. 





Mr. Brigglesworth also liked a lot of things on his cookies.



I was most impressed with his candycane. I gave no help and was doing my own decorating when I looked up and saw the finished product. Well done for a five-year-old!



I really liked this part. I was trying to be creative.





I liked the frosting I got. I got two brands, but both were easy and they dried hard! Score!




When I used white frosting, I put white sprinkles on it to bring out some schnazyness.



I then did the same thing but with gold/white sprinkles to give it a shimmer.



I did the white sprinkles on white icing effect on the candycane and snowmen.



I did green sprinkles on green frosting on other cookies.





I didn’t have any solo red sprinkles, so those got a mixture.




A one point, Mr. Brigglesworth said he needed black frosting. I told him we only had green, red and white to choose from. I told him I wanted black for my snowman hat, but his hat would just have to be red.



We had so many cookies to decorate, but it was so much fun. This will definitely be a new tradition we have started. I use to be afraid of making these fancy sugar cookies that look too good to eat. But I conquered that fear and learned it was a silly fear to have. 




Merry Christmas!



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