Tis the Season for Cookies

I have to admit that I am not a big Christmas person.  It’s never been my favorite holiday.  Some things I do like about this time of year: christmas light [especially those synchronized light shows], gift giving [because what’s more fun than seeing the expression on the recipient’s face?], and baking [because, duh!].

I’m a pretty avid baker most of the year.  The holidays means more than just your average cakes and desserts.  This is when you pull out all the stops because it’s the one time of year when being in a constant sugar coma is sort of acceptable. 

This year, I put together little cookie plates to give as gifts to co-workers and friends.  I made 3 different cookies that you’ll only see in my kitchen during the latter half of the year: 2 kinds of biscotti and the best sugar cookie you’ll ever eat.

IMG_3973

To put the final touches on handing out these goodies, I found some cute bakery boxes at the local Wal-Mart that I lined with tissue paper. These cookies are such an easy homemade item to make that you’ll want to give them out to all your friends after baking so you don’t end up eating the whole batch yourself! 🙂

IMG_3978

SIMPLE BISCOTTI COOKIES

  • Servings: 1.5 Dozen
  • Time: 1hr 15 min
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream the salt, butter, and sugar together until smooth.  I like to use the #4 setting on my Kitchenaid.
  4. Beat the eggs in one at a time until just mixed.
  5. Add the dry mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in any mix-ins at this time.
  6. Shape onto a cookie sheet into a log about 3 inches wide.  Note: Batter will spread just a bit when baking.
  7. Bake for about 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.
  8. Cut [I use a serrated knife] into 1/2 inch slices and place back onto the cookie sheet. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Cool on a rack.

Variations:
Cranberry Orange Biscotti – add zest of 2 oranges and 1 tsp almond extract when creaming butter and 2/3 cup dried cranberries at the end.

Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti – add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder to the dry mixture, 1 tsp peppermint extract with the eggs,  and 1/2 cup chocolate chips at the end.

If you like, you can also decorate with melted chocolate or a simple glaze once the cookies are cooled.

ULTIMATE SUGAR COOKIES

  • Servings: About 3 Dozen
  • Time: 30 min
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix and sift the dry ingredients [flour, baking powder, salt] in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients together until smooth.
  4. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. The dough should be a moist and sticky.
  5. At this point, I like to use a cookie scoop to form even sized balls.  You could bake them plain this way or roll them in sprinkles before placing on the baking sheet.  If you want to cut out shapes, chill the dough for about 30 minutes before rolling out on a well floured surface.
  6. Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes, until the bottoms are golden. Cool on a rack.
  7. Decorate if desired or go straight to enjoying them!

 

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Tis the Season for Cookies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s