Just in Time for Christmas: Cookies Edition

Spiced Gingerbread Man Cookies, recipe provided below (adapted from The Comfort of Cooking)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  • To make the dough:
    • In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended.
    • In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended. Add molasses and vanilla. With your mixer on low speed, gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.
    • Gather dough with your hands into a ball and divide dough in half. Shape each half into a round disk and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate up to 4 days. Let dough come to room temperature before using.
  • To roll and bake:
    • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
    • Roll each portion of dough 1/4-inch thick between two sheets of waxed paper. Cut out shapes with cookie cutter. Remove excess dough from around the cookies (as best you can), and transfer wax paper sheet to the freezer. Freeze for 10 minutes, then remove shapes to your lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. This makes transferring the cookies while keeping their shape SO much easier!
    • Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-9 minutes. Let cookies rest on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Once cookies are completely cool, decorate as desired.
  • To decorate with royal icing:
    • Make royal icing by combining  1 Tablespoon meringue powder with 2 cups powdered sugarand 3-5 Tablespoons water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat icing until smooth and matte, about 5 minutes. Add more water to thin, if necessary. Separate icing into batches and tint with food coloring. Using piping bags or squeeze bottles with fine tips, pipe icing onto cooled cookies.
    • Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Christmas Tree Peanut Butter Blossoms, recipe provided below (adapted from Java Cupcake)

Ingredients

  • 48 Hershey's Kisses chocolate candies
  • ½ cup shortening (I used Crisco)
  • ¾ cup Peanut Butter
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ sugar, for rolling
  • green frosting
  • red, green, & white holiday sprinkles
  • disposable piping bag fitted with a Wilton #4 piping tip

Directions:

  • Cookies
    • Preheat oven to 375°F and line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
    • Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended.
    • Add ⅓ cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy.
    • Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.
    • Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
    • Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar and place on prepared cookie sheet.
    • Bake 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
    • Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
  • Assembly
    • NOTE: Cookies must be completely cooled & chocolate hardened before decorating.
    • Fill the prepared piping bag with green frosting.
    • Starting at the base of the Hershey Kiss, pipe a line of frosting that swirls up & around to the top of the kiss.
    • Immediately sprinkle with holiday sprinkles.

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M&Ms Christmas Cookies, recipe provide below (adapted from Lil' Luna)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ cup sprinkles
  • 1 cup M&Ms

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cream butter, oil and sugars. Add eggs and beat until fluffy.
  • Add baking soda, salt, powder, vanilla and flour. Mix well.
  • Fold in sprinkles.
  • Use cookie scoop to put on greased cookie tray. Top with 4-5 M&Ms.
  • Bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes.

Hot Cocoa Cookies, recipe provided below (adapted from Glorious Treats)

Ingredients:

  • For the cookies-
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
    • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 25 (apx.) large marshmallows
  • For the icing -
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1/4 cup hot water
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Assorted sprinkles

Directions:

  •  In a medium saucepan (or in a microwave safe bowl, using 50% power), melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed until well combined.
  • Add the cooled chocolate mixture and blend until just combined.
  • While mixing, add the flour mixture slowly and blend until just combined.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then cover the dough and refrigerate about 1 hour. If making the dough a day ahead, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.
  • Preheat oven to 325*F. and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat type liner. Use a tablespoon (or a tablespoon sized cookie scoop) to scoop the dough, then roll the dough in your hands to create balls. Arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on your baking sheets, then flatten slightly.
  • Bake cookies about 12 minutes.
  • While the cookies bake, cut the large marshmallows in half (crosswise). When the cookies have baked, remove from oven and press one marshmallow half (cut side down) into the center of each cookie.  Return the cookies to the oven and bake another 2-3 minutes. Allow the pan of cookies to cool a few minutes, then transfer cookies to cooling rack.
  • Prepare cookie icing by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl and mixing together with a whisk. Place wire cooling rack (with cookies on it) over a baking sheet (to catch any excess icing). Spoon a small amount of icing onto the top of each marshmallow, and use the back of the spoon to spread it a bit. After icing just a couple cookies, top with sprinkles before the icing dries.
  •  Allow icing to set up about 30 minutes before serving.