It's COOKIE DAY! Over at OUR KRAZY KITCHEN, Everyone is sharing and linking their favorite Holiday recipes. If there is anyone left who has not planned their Christmas Cookie baking, click HERE to get a whole passel of ideas.
Me, I have three cookies under my belt for the holidays, one I am slightly disappointed in, and two are wonderful. You may recall, I posted a wonderful COCONUT-ORANGE Snowball Cookie Recipe about a week ago. As I said then, it turned out amazing. I was very happy with the results. A very moist, chewy cookie, with orange, coconut and sugar flavors really filling the taste. I dusted some with powdered sugar, some with cinnamon-sugar and some I served plain (I liked the plain, but the powdered sugar looked more festive).
But today, I am going to post my recipes for the two cookies I made to share with the neighbors for my Neighborhood COOKIE & BEER EXCHANGE PARTY - Sausages/Beer Cheese Soup and Cookies! I got both of these recipes from terrific bloggers, and will tell the tale as we go along.
First up is a cookie that I liked the taste of, but I was disappointed about the look. It just does not look like a Christmas cookie. I know what I did wrong, so next time (next year), I can fix the look. Here's the story...
Take a look at that beautiful cookie to the right. The photo and the recipe came from a truly talented CULINARY SCHOOL trained chef (she just went this year, it was great fun to be a fly on the wall while she posted her experiences... Click HERE to get to her blog and read her archives for that story). Shari from WHISK: A FOOD BLOG posted this Chocolate Kahlua Shortbread cookie recipe recently. I loved the look, and I love the taste of shortbread cookies (and the Kahlua didn't hurt). So, it was an easy choice for me to make this cookie for my exchange party.
OK, here's what she said to do...
Recipe Makes about 30 cookies 8 ounces (1/2 pound or 1 cup or 2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
½ cup sugar
2 cups flour
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon Kahlua
Preheat the oven to 300°F. [Use a low temperature.] Working with a stand mixer, beat the butter [not margarine!] and sugar until smooth and creamy. [You can't overmix the butter and sugar.] Sift together the flour and salt onto a sheet of parchment paper. [Sifting ensures there aren't any lumps in the flour. Using parchment paper makes it easier to transfer the flour mixture to the bowl.] Add just enough flour to combine so the dough comes together. [I use it all. If the dough seems dry, work in some room temperature butter until the mixture is soft enough to roll. Don't overmix at this point. You want the butter to coat the flour gently.] Stir in chocolate chunks and Kahlua. [Or leave out to make traditional shortbread. Or use one of the variations listed below.] Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead a couple of times to smooth the edges. Roll the dough between sheets of wax paper to ⅜-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Return to refrigerator to chill 20 minutes. [I don't always do this, but it's recommended.] Bake for 20-30 minutes, until pale golden at edges.
I added some orange zest and dusted with powdered sugar. Other than that, I followed Sheri's recipe to the letter...
Mine came out a kind of drab brown color. They tasted wonderful. Exactly as expected. But the look was very drab, and not at all Christmas like. I was very lucky. Sheri was online, and answered an email right away about what I did wrong. After a bit of brain storming, it was decided that my problem was in not using chips. Instead, I had a hunk of brick chocolate and busted that up to make chocolate chunks. personally, I like the look and texture of chunk chocolate chips instead of the uniform chocolate chips. What I didn't factor in was the chocolate dust that got mixed into the dough. That altered the color from Sheri's beautiful white cookies with chocolate accents, to my milky diarrhea colored cookie. I did fest it up a bit by dusting with powdered sugar and orange zest, but looking at her's and mine, taste identical, I would still want hers. Click HERE to get to her blog and read her fun archives for the stories of her Culinary School adventures (worth the read)). And, check Shari from WHISK: A FOOD BLOG for her details about her Chocolate Kahlua Shortbread cookie recipe. There are lots of tips to make your cookie work better than mine.
Ah well, among the group, the cookie was well received. Like I said, it tasted terrific.
And now, hand's down, without exception, this is my new favorite cookie recipe OF ALL TIME. No exaggeration, this one is a real winner on every level.
First up is the setup for this...
This paragraph may sound familiar to you...
Judy, of NO FEAR ENTERTAINING has been working on an amazing challenge... 12 Christmas Cookies in 12 days. She, as well as another 9 bloggers are filling the blog world with amazing cookie. Each day, she bakes a different recipe and posts the results. It does occur to me that she either is a kind and generous soul who makes gifts of her creations, or she has the ass the size of Massachusetts. She does have a photo of herself on her blog, so I assume she is kind and generous, actually, I am hoping against hope that she is kind and generous after she sees what I did to her recipe...
You may remember that paragraph from my efforts to recreate her COCONUT-ORANGE Snowball Cookie Recipe. I made lots of changes to that recipe, and came up with a totally different looking cookie. But, once I saw her day two cookie, I knew I was going to give that one a shot...
Here's what she did...
The photo on the right is stolen from her blog. It shows her fabulous Pecan Lace Sandwich Cookies with Orange Buttercream (bonappetit.com). Yes, little known fact, but pecans can be used in other dishes besides cheesy potatoes ;). I made a small change, but basically followed her recipe to a tea...
The orange juice and grated peel in the icing between these gorgeous crispy pecan lace sandwich cookies makes them an ideal accompaniment to any holiday dessert spread.
Makes about 18 (I only got 12 out of this)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup coarsely ground pecans (about 4 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 3/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir butter, sugar, and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in flour. Add nuts and vanilla; stir to combine.
- Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until bubbling and lightly browned, about 11 minutes. Cool on sheets 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.
- Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Spread 1 teaspoon filling onto bottom of 1 cookie. Top with second cookie, bottom side down, pressing lightly to adhere. Repeat with remaining cookies. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store between sheets of waxed paper in airtight container at room temperature.
They came out about the diameter of a hockey puck. When I make these again (soon), I will make them a little smaller, and achieve the sandwich look. BUT, they are very rich, and if I were to sandwich the larger size cookies, I think it would be uncomfortable to finish them. Two of these rich cookies at a time would be a bit much.
I did dust with some chopped small pecan pieces, and the extra texture worked very well.
And the taste... Incredible. Actually, they taste like a pecan praline. I can not possibly recommend these higher. Of all the cookies served at the party, this was the favorite from everyone.
And today is the final day of Judy's 12 cookies in 12 days challenge! Trot over to her site... Judy, of NO FEAR ENTERTAINING and look over all her goodies. I made two of hers, and they were both amazing!
OK, HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you all, I am going to have a cookie for breakfast!