Monday, December 19, 2011

sunday sweets {christmas cookies}

Ah, Christmas cookies. I'm a huge fan, but I have never liked the typical butter, sugar cookies you see during the holidays. You know, the ones shaped like trees and candy canes? So, when I was trying to decide which ones to bake, I decided to go with things I actually like, that way I wouldn't spend the whole day making something I'm never going to eat. Chocolate. Chocolate is something I will definitely eat. Lemon. Hmm, yes I believe I'll eat that too.

I made a few adjustments to the recipes {i'll include those} to match my palette a little better. The chocolate peppermint crackles are delicious, just the right about of mint flavor. When I was in high school I worked at an Italian bakery and one of my favorite things was the Jeanettes, those lemon shortbread cookies with the icing and sprinkles {the other favorite was the rainbow cookies, but i'll save those for another day}. These lemon cookies are pretty much the same thing, and great to do with kids because you can decorate the tops with colorful sprinkles, kids like that right?

Chocolate-Mint Crackles:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsweetened dutch chocolate powder, sifted
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract {I used about 1/4 because this stuff is potent and 3/4 t. sounds crazy, my cookies are still really pepperminty so I would suggest using the smaller amount}
1/2 cup confecioners' sugar

1. Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and cocoa in a small bowl.
3. Whisk together granulated sugar, eggs,and melted butter in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in melted chocolate and mint extract until smooth. Stir in flour mixture. Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.
4. Preheat oven 325. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, then roll in confectioner's sugar to coat. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until slightly firm in the center, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Lemon Cookies:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 stick plus 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 lemons zested and juiced {depending on your palette, you can use less, I used the zest from about 2 lemons and it came out pretty lemony, also the juice is for the icing, so if you would like the icing to be less lemony, use 2 lemons instead of 3}
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk {i used 2%}
2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
sprinkles, edible glitter, or stars

1. Preheat oven to 325. Whisk together flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Beat in eggs. Reduce speed to low, gradually beat in flour mixture. SLowly add milk, and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.
2. Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain round tip {you can use a zip lock bag, just cut the tip, works just as well as an actual pastry bag}. Pipe 1 1/2 inch rounds onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until bottoms are pale gold, about 15-17 minutes. Let cool completely.
3. Whisk together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Brush glaze onto cookies and sprinkle with sprinkles.


P.S.Bored? Go to Google and type "Let it Snow" in the search bar. Do it.

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