In Need of Cookie Goodness
#11
Jacafamala Wrote:
Satori Wrote:My husband's place of work is having a Christmas cookie contest next week. As an impassioned baker of cookies, I greatly covet the honor of a first place win for my house, but my own tastes are simple. Ginger snaps, shortbread, sand tarts, spice cookies -- these are the tasty but plain goodies I usually make this time of year, and I'm afraid they might not be fancy enough to wow the judges.

Will all of you good ladies and gentlemen who enjoy baking please share your best Christmas cookie recipe? We'd appreciate it.

Do you own a real mixer? I'd like a really good mixer some day. It would be so much easier. I tend to burn the motor out on my hand held mixer this time of year. ..... *sigh*

I don't usually do anything too fancy, either.

I make scotch-bread for my husband to give out as gifts at work.

And of course the classic Christmas cookie, which is fun for the kids to help with.


Anything with nuts and swirls of chocolate and confectioners sugar could be a contender, maybe......

No, I don't have a real free-standing mixer, not just because good ones are so expensive, but because I have a small kitchen with very little counter space and simply don't have room for one. I get by with my hand mixer, but usually only use it for icing, whipped cream, and meringue -- anything that needs a lot of air beaten into it. I prefer to mix cake batter and cookie dough by hand, and usually I use an old-fashioned potato masher, too. But my grandma was the queen of mixing by hand: You should have seen her arm go when she whipped cream! I don't think she ever used anything fancier than one of those hand-cranked egg beaters to mix stuff.

Scotch-bread? Do you mean shortbread? That's a big favorite in my family. My mother used to make one that consisted of equal parts flour and butter with a little less sugar, nothing else. She pressed it into a shallow pie plate and baked it till it was light golden-brown, then cut it into wedges and served it warm. Sooo good! I prefer to make a stiffer version, roll it and cut it into fancy shapes. It tastes marvelous with a few spoonfuls of orange juice concentrate in it, too.
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#12
Satori Wrote:
Jacafamala Wrote:
Satori Wrote:My husband's place of work is having a Christmas cookie contest next week. As an impassioned baker of cookies, I greatly covet the honor of a first place win for my house, but my own tastes are simple. Ginger snaps, shortbread, sand tarts, spice cookies -- these are the tasty but plain goodies I usually make this time of year, and I'm afraid they might not be fancy enough to wow the judges.

Will all of you good ladies and gentlemen who enjoy baking please share your best Christmas cookie recipe? We'd appreciate it.

Do you own a real mixer? I'd like a really good mixer some day. It would be so much easier. I tend to burn the motor out on my hand held mixer this time of year. ..... *sigh*

I don't usually do anything too fancy, either.

I make scotch-bread for my husband to give out as gifts at work.

And of course the classic Christmas cookie, which is fun for the kids to help with.


Anything with nuts and swirls of chocolate and confectioners sugar could be a contender, maybe......

No, I don't have a real free-standing mixer, not just because good ones are so expensive, but because I have a small kitchen with very little counter space and simply don't have room for one. I get by with my hand mixer, but usually only use it for icing, whipped cream, and meringue -- anything that needs a lot of air beaten into it. I prefer to mix cake batter and cookie dough by hand, and usually I use an old-fashioned potato masher, too. But my grandma was the queen of mixing by hand: You should have seen her arm go when she whipped cream! I don't think she ever used anything fancier than one of those hand-cranked egg beaters to mix stuff.

Scotch-bread? Do you mean shortbread? That's a big favorite in my family. My mother used to make one that consisted of equal parts flour and butter with a little less sugar, nothing else. She pressed it into a shallow pie plate and baked it till it was light golden-brown, then cut it into wedges and served it warm. Sooo good! I prefer to make a stiffer version, roll it and cut it into fancy shapes. It tastes marvelous with a few spoonfuls of orange juice concentrate in it, too.
Yes, Scotch-bread and shortbread are the same thing. My recipe (from The Joy of Cooking), calls for lots of room temperature butter, confectioner's sugar, flour, salt... Simple, and very good. Orange juice? Really, I'll have to try it that way. [Image: smile.gif] I've gotten the idea to press a decorative pattern from a relief plate into the top of the dough this year. The thought just came to me last night. If it works out well, maybe I'll take a picture and post it.
I don't know why it never occurred to me to use a potato masher. That'd be better than ruining another hand mixer this year, wouldn't it? 
Oh my Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything.--Fr Dolindo Ruotolo

Persevere..Eucharist, Holy Rosary, Brown Scapular, Confession. You will win.
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#13
I meant I use a potato masher for, well, mashing potatoes, 'cause I DID ruin a hand-mixer that way one year! I also ruined a food processor that way another year ... now I've gone primitive and make my mashed potatoes the way they should be made, with lumps!

But I bet you could use the masher for certain cookie doughs, as well.

My mother urged me to make a decorative pattern with a plate that has a relief design, but it didn't work for me. Do post pictures of your shortbread and the plate you used so that I can get an idea of how it's supposed to be.

Just be sure if you put orange juice in an old-fashioned shortbread with no eggs that you only use a little ... I suspect the bread would come out tough if the dough got too wet.
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#14
I was watching Everyday Italian the other day and Giada made these cookies and I thought they looked so good. My mom tried them out today for a Christmas cookie party she had to attend and they were awesome. They aren't strictly holiday cookies but the booze definitely keeps it festive. The icing can easily be decorated to make them look more Christmas-like.

Shhh. I ate them all.

Apricot and Nut Cookies with Amaretto Icing
Prep Time:4 min
Inactive Prep Time:2 hr 30 min
Cook Time:15 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 2 to 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Cookies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Icing:
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
5 to 7 tablespoons almond flavored liqueur (recommended: Amaretto)

For the Cookies: In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg. Stir in the flour until just blended. Mix in the apricots, almonds, and pine nuts.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a log, about 12-inches long and 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the dough log crosswise into 1/4 to 1/2 inch-thick slices. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly apart. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

For the Icing: Place the confectioners' sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Gradually whisk in the almond flavored liqueur, until the mixture is of drizzling consistency.

Place the wire rack over a baking sheet. Using a spoon or fork, drizzle the cookies with the icing, allowing any excess icing to drip onto the baking sheet. Allow the icing to set before serving, about 30 minutes.
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#15
Paloma Wrote:I was watching Everyday Italian the other day and Giada made these cookies and I thought they looked so good. My mom tried them out today for a Christmas cookie party she had to attend and they were awesome. They aren't strictly holiday cookies but the booze definitely keeps it festive. The icing can easily be decorated to make them look more Christmas-like.

Shhh. I ate them all.

Apricot and Nut Cookies with Amaretto Icing
Prep Time:4 min
Inactive Prep Time:2 hr 30 min
Cook Time:15 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 2 to 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Cookies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Icing:
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
5 to 7 tablespoons almond flavored liqueur (recommended: Amaretto)

For the Cookies: In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg. Stir in the flour until just blended. Mix in the apricots, almonds, and pine nuts.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a log, about 12-inches long and 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the dough log crosswise into 1/4 to 1/2 inch-thick slices. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly apart. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

For the Icing: Place the confectioners' sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Gradually whisk in the almond flavored liqueur, until the mixture is of drizzling consistency.

Place the wire rack over a baking sheet. Using a spoon or fork, drizzle the cookies with the icing, allowing any excess icing to drip onto the baking sheet. Allow the icing to set before serving, about 30 minutes.
Oh, I like that show, too! These cookies look really special.
Oh my Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything.--Fr Dolindo Ruotolo

Persevere..Eucharist, Holy Rosary, Brown Scapular, Confession. You will win.
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#16
Satori, I've completed all my Scotch-short bread batches for the season. I tried the decorative pattern, and before baked the dough, it looked very pretty, but then when it all came out of the oven, the relief pattern sort of puffed over, ripply. The over-all effect is more subtle than I'd wanted. So it's not worth puttin' up a pic.

I did not try the orange juice concentrate, because I forgot about buying it at the store. However, while in line there at the check-out counter and thumbing through a cookie magazine from the rack there, low and behold, there's Scotch-shortbread recipe with a picture of the cookies, and a relief pattern pressed into it. Is this just too coincidental? I thought my idea was so unique. Anyway, I'm going back to the store and buying the cookie mag, just to see if they give tips for getting that crisp pattern....

Edited to add: now today, I'm onto making the classic Christmas cookies with the children.
Oh my Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything.--Fr Dolindo Ruotolo

Persevere..Eucharist, Holy Rosary, Brown Scapular, Confession. You will win.
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#17
The patterned shortbread didn't work for me, either. Maybe that magazine photo was faked! I'll ask my mother how she made it work for her, and if she says anything good, I'll post it. Let me know if the cookie magazine gives advice on that.

I made Sara Lucille's cookies the other day. They were perfectly acceptable, but honestly, they were just like any other homemade sugar cookie I've ever had. I wonder if I did something wrong, since SL said they were so special. It could have been something as subtle as not rolling them out thin enough, not sprinkling them with enough sugar when rolling, or the fact that I didn't have any almond extract. The icing was really good, though -- nice and melty in the mouthy.
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#18
Satori Wrote:The patterned shortbread didn't work for me, either. Maybe that magazine photo was faked! I'll ask my mother how she made it work for her, and if she says anything good, I'll post it. Let me know if the cookie magazine gives advice on that.

I made Sara Lucille's cookies the other day. They were perfectly acceptable, but honestly, they were just like any other homemade sugar cookie I've ever had. I wonder if I did something wrong, since SL said they were so special. It could have been something as subtle as not rolling them out thin enough, not sprinkling them with enough sugar when rolling, or the fact that I didn't have any almond extract. The icing was really good, though -- nice and melty in the mouthy.
Baking is a very precise and delicate endeavor, isn't it?
I'll try the icing.
Oh my Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything.--Fr Dolindo Ruotolo

Persevere..Eucharist, Holy Rosary, Brown Scapular, Confession. You will win.
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#19
Yes, it is. It's chemistry and art class all rolled into one.
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