2019 Holiday Cookie Round Up

Orange and Lavender Ice Box Cookies with a light sprinkling of sanding sugar.

Well its cookie season back at the casa. So here’s the round up of this year’s cookie exchange recipes. I tried to keep things relatively simple this year and opted not to do heavily decorated and iced cookies. Instead I’ve got a couple of simple Spritz cookie recipes and come icebox cookies. The appeal with both of these is that I could make the dough ahead and freeze it to be baked off later. The icebox cookies can be baked right out of the freezer. The spritz dough needs to thaw overnight in the fridge then come to room temperature before it can be used. Fair warning, my spritz dough requires a cookie press, its too stiff to pipe.

Basic Spritz Cookie Dough

  • 2 ¼ cup sifted all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp salt

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until it is a pale yellow. Add in the sugar and mix until airy and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes). Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until combined. Add the salt to the flour and then add the flour to the wet ingredients, mix on low until dough comes together and all the flour has been incorporated. Fill the chamber of your cookie press and attach your die to the end, and press the dough onto buttered and chilled baking sheet. Leaving about a 1″ space between cookies. Decorate with sprinkles or sanding sugar before baking. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F for 8-10 minutes or until cookies start to turn golden brown around the edges.

Cotton Candy Spritz Cookie Dough

  • 2 ¼ cup sifted all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cotton candy flavoring
  • 2 TBS blue spirulina powder (2-3 drops of blue food coloring)

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until it is a pale yellow. Combine the blue spirulina* powder to the sugar, then combine the sugar with the butter and mix until airy and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes). The butter sugar mixture will be a vibrant blue color at this point. Mix in the egg until combined, then add the cotton candy flavoring and vanilla extract. Add the salt to the flour and then add the flour to the wet ingredients, mix on low until dough comes together and all the flour has been incorporated. Fill the chamber of your cookie press and attach your die to the end, and press the dough onto a buttered and chilled baking sheet. Leaving about a 1″ space between cookies. Decorate with sprinkles or sanding sugar before baking. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F for 8-10 minutes or until cookies start to turn golden brown around the edges.

*note; Blue Spirulina is an all natural blue green algae that’s commonly used for smoothies, the blue version is less briny tasting than green spirulina and is a vibrant blue color. Unlike butterfly pea powder, it does not change colors.

Orange Lavender Ice Box Cookies

  • 2 ⅔ cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp orange extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened and at room temperature)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • ¼ dried mandarine orange slices (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp dried lavender blossoms (crushed)
  • white sanding sugar

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until it is a pale yellow. Add in the sugar and mix until airy and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes). Mix in the egg, vanilla extract and orange extract until combined. Mix the salt, orange zest, lavender blossoms and dried orange slices into the flour. This will keep them from clumping up.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mix on low until dough comes together and all the flour has been incorporated. Divide dough in half, and form into logs or rectangles and wrap with wax paper or parchment. Place into a resealable plastic bag and store in the freezer. Dough can be stored for up to 2 months. To bake, slice off ¼” thick slices and place on baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake in an oven preheated to 350F for 12-14 minutes or until just golden brown along the edges

Mexican Drinking Chocolate Ice Box Cookies are perfect for dipping into piping hot well…Mexican Drinking Chocolate of course.

Mexican Drinking Chocolate Icebox Cookies

  • 2 ⅔ cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 TBS cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs (divided)
  • 1 TBS ground coffee
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened and at room temperature)
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼-½ tsp coarse sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)

In a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, combine sea salt, cayenne, cinnamon, ground coffee and half the cocoa nips and grind into a fine powder and mix into the flour along with the 2 TBS of cocoa powder and whisk together to make sure all the spices and cocoa are well combined into the flour.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until it is a pale yellow. Add in the sugar and mix until airy and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes). Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until combined. Add the salt to the flour/cocoa spice mixture and then add the flour to the wet ingredients, mix on low until dough comes together then add the rest of the cocoa nibs and mix until all the flour and cocoa nibs have been incorporated. Divide dough in half, and form into logs or rectangles and wrap with wax paper or parchment. Place into a resealable plastic bag and store in the freezer. Dough can be stored for up to 2 months. To bake, slice off ¼” thick slices and place on baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F for 12-14 minutes or until just golden brown along the edges

Coconut Shortbread with Coquito Glaze

Coquito is a sweet coconut milk and rum drink generously seasoned with clove, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. It’s ubiquitous during the Holidays in Puerto Rico and is frequently referred to as Puerto Rican Egg Nog. If you don’t happen to be on a Boriquen’s coquito gifting list, you can find my recipe here. Since I’m making a Mexican Drinking Chocolate inspired cookie it’s only fitting that I make one inspired by coquito.

Cookie Recipe

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp rum extract

¼ tsp coconut extract

½ tsp salt

1 ¾ flour

1 cup softened room temperature butter

¼ tsp each ground cinnamon, ground clove, ground nutmeg and ground allspice (divided)

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy and a pale yellow. Add in extract and spices and blend until well incorporated. Mix the shredded coconut and flour together and gradually add into the creamed sugar and butter. Blend until dough forms into a ball. Pour dough out onto a sheet of waxed paper. Form into a log or rectangle and freeze until ready to bake. To bake, cut into ½ inch wide slices and space out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Drizzle with the Coquito Glaze to serve

Coquito Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp rum extract

2 tsp coconut milk

2 tsp corn syrup

½ tsp coquito spice mix

Green Tea Donuts dusted with powdered sugar and matcha powder and drizzled with a matcha glaze.

Matcha Donuts

¼ cup melted butter

⅓ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg lightly beaten

¾ teaspoon baking powder

⅛ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon matcha powder

⅛ teaspoon nutmeg

pinch of salt

½ teaspoon vanilla

1⅓ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup coconut milk

Topping

1 cup powdered sugar

1 TBS matcha powder

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, mix melted butter, sugar, nutmeg, salt and vanilla extract until combined. Add the beaten egg, and blend until combined. Add the baking powder, baking soda and matcha powder to the flour and lightly whisk to blend. Alternate adding flour mixture and coconut milk and blend between each addition until all the flour and milk is gone. Blend until all the ingredients are well incorporated. The dough will be sticky. Spray donut pans with cooking spray. Spray a large zip top bag or a disposable pastry bag with cooking spray and then fill with the donut dough. Cut of the tip and pipe the dough into the donut pan and cut off with clean kitchen scissors. Bake at 425F for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack. Place the powdered sugar and matcha powder into a clean large zip top bag. Toss cooled donuts in the matcha powdered sugar mixture to coat. Yield 1 Dozen Donuts

Here they are, this year’s batch of cookie exchange cookies. From left to right, matcha donut, cotton candy spritz cookies, coquito shortbread, orange and lavender icebox cookies and mexican drinking chocolate icebox cookies.

Christmas Cookies 2018

This weeks post is going to be short and sweet. No pun intended. I’m in the midst of baking and decorating this years batch(es) of Christmas Cookies. So, I’m just going to share my favorite recipe for cut-out style sugar cookies and some tips to get the best results and then get back to decorating.

So the first thing to note is that I use a shortbread recipe versus a tradition sugar cookie recipe. I prefer the shortbread for a few reasons, there’s fewer ingredients, its simple and consistent and because it doesn’t have any leaveners in it, it reduces the likelihood that cookies will puff up and spread out.  Secondly, make sure to chill the dough for at least an hour before rolling and try to roll the dough between ¼” and ½” thick. Lastly, once you cut out the cookies and lay them out on a baking sheet, chill them for 30 minutes. These steps will help prevent the cookies from spreading out too much and give you a nice smooth top for decorating.

Recipe

3 ½ cups sifted AP flour
1 ¾ cup / 3 1/2 sticks softened room temp unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or flavoring of you choice

In a large bowl or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until doubled in volume and becomes a pale yellow. Scrap down the sides of the bowl and add the extract and salt and mix for a few moments. Gradually stir in the flour. Blend on low until flour is well incorporated. The dough may still be crumbly or even loose and that’s ok. Just make sure there are no visible clumps of flour, especially at the bottom of the bowl. Scrap down the sides of the bowl and clean off paddle.

Turn dough out onto waxed paper and form into a 1-2 inch thick disk. Wrap in wax paper and place into a zip top bag and chill in the fridge for at least one hour. To bake, take dough out of the fridge and let warm up for about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325F, roll out dough on a board dusted with powdered sugar. For cut outs I’ll stick to rolling the dough out to between ¼ and ½ inch thick and use a 3” cutter. I’ll yield about 3 dozen cookies. Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie starts to turn golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cookies need to be completely cooled before decorating.

If you don’t have cookie cutters, no worries. Just use a really sharp knife and cut into bars also jelly jars make decent cutters in a pinch. As for decorating: lightly coat the cookie with corn syrup and apply sanding sugar or sprinkles or dip into white candy melt and use edible markers.