It’s Time to Get Baking

Welcome to National Cookie Day. Today is the day when we roll up our sleeves, warm up our ovens and begin baking cookies to fill our Holiday Tins. Be it cookie exchanges or party favors or just the mood that Christmas seems to bring, everyone’s a baker this time of year.

I remember as a girl growing up, Dad began his holiday baking right after Thanksgiving and didn’t stop until Christmas Eve. We had hundreds of cookies and pounds of fudge by Christmas Eve. My favorites were his Peanut Butter Cookies and Chocolate Pinwheels.

When it comes to baking for the holidays, who can bake just one batch of cookies or just one kind? Holiday Cookies are like Holiday Guests – the more the merrier. Do you have a favorite cookie? When Kiddo was younger, Cut Out Sugar Cookies were our favorite to bake together. We would spend an entire day decorating our cookies. Now that Kiddo is a grown man, he doesn’t seem all that interested in painting cookies. Although we do build a gingerbread house together every year. Last year’s house is still a work in progress.

Did you know that the first National Cookie Day was introduced on Sesame Street in 1976? It was celebrated on November 26. In 1980 The Cookie Monster proclaimed his own National Cookie Day. Then in 1987 the Blue Chip Cookie Company of San Francisco declared December 4th as National Cookie Day. It’s been that way ever since. Isn’t it great that this year National Cookie Day falls on a Saturday? Yeah, more time to spend with family in the kitchen creating all sorts of memories.

Enjoy!

Christmas Cookie Favorites
Pinwheel Christmas Cookies
Gingerbread People
Cheaters Crinkle Christmas Cookies

Pinwheel Christmas Cookies
12 tablespoons Butter
2 cups Flour
Flour for dusting
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
No-Taste Red Food Coloring as desired
Kelly Green Food Coloring as desired

Let butter soften at room temperature.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt, Set aside dry ingredient mixture.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar for about 90 seconds, or until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and almond extract to the butter mixture; beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients in two additions, mixing until just combined after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Form each portion into a ball. Sit two portions aside, place one portion back into the mixing bowl. Add red food coloring. Beat with mixer until color in completely incorporated, adding more as desired to reach a deeper hue. Remove red dough from mixer.

Clean mixer paddle and bowl completely. Dry well before proceeding.

Place another portion of dough back into the mixing bowl. Add the green food coloring and beat to incorporate completely. Add more coloring until desired hue is reached. Press dough into a flat square; wrap in plastic wrap and set aside.

Press uncolored dough into a flat square and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate all the dough for 1 hour or until firm.

Remove the dough squares from the fridge. Place the red dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 10-inch square. Leave dough between parchment.

Repeat with remaining dough squares, leaving between parchment paper. Refrigerate cookie dough for another 30 minutes.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Remove the top layer of parchment paper from each sheet of cookie dough. Place the red dough, paper side down, on a flat work surface.

Lay the white dough, non-parchment sides touching, over the red dough. Line the edges of the two doughs up as best as possible. Remove the parchment from the white dough.

Top the white dough with the green dough, non-parchment sides touching, match the edges up as best as possible. Remove parchment from the green dough. Use a pizza cutter or very sharp knife to trim the left and right edges of the cookie dough into straight lines.

Very carefully, using the parchment paper to lift the doughs and get it started at one of the straightened sides, roll the dough into a long log. Once the dough log is complete, gently pinch the seam closed along with any breaks on the outer red layer. Wrap the dough log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Trim the ends of the log. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough log into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are set.

Carefully remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container until ready to serve.


Gingerbread People
Dough
2-1/4 cup Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoons Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Shortening
1 Egg
1/2 cup Molasses
Flour for dusting

Sift flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Roughly cut in the shortening. Place bowl in the stand mixer fitted with a whisk..

Lightly beat egg, add to the flour mixture. Add Molasses. With mixer on medium speed, beat ingredients until well mixed.

Remove dough from the bowl, form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface with rolling pin floured, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. With a cookie cutter, cut out gingerbread shapes as desired. Place cookies 1/2-inch apart on prepared cookie sheets.

Reroll trimmings and continue to cut until all the dough has been formed into cookies. Bake in the heated oven for about 8 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Carefully lift with thin spatula to racks to cool. Once cooled, decorate as desired.

Royal Icing
1 Egg White
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1-1/4 cups Powdered Sugar, divided
Food Coloring, optional

In a pan over low heat, warm egg white, lemon juice and 1 cup powdered sugar, stirring frequently until it mixture reaches 160-degrees. Remove from heat and mix in the rest of the powdered sugar with an hand held electric mixer.

Royal icing can be left white or divided and tinted with color as desired.


Easy Cheaters Crinkle Christmas Cookies
1 (16.5 oz) roll refrigerated Sugar Cookie Dough
1/4 cup Flour
3/4 teaspoon Green Gel Food Coloring
1/2 teaspoon No-Taste Red Gel Food Coloring
2/3 cup Powdered Sugar, divided

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, set aside. Divide powdered sugar into 2 small bowls, 1/3 cup of sugar in each. Set bowls aside.

Divide dough in half. Crumble each half of dough into 2 small bowls. In one bowl, stir or knead dough, 2 tablespoons of the flour and the green food color until well mixed.

In the other bowl, stir or knead remaining 2 tablespoons flour and the red food color until well mixed.

Shape the dough into 44 (1-inch) balls. In small bowl, place the powdered sugar. Roll each ball in one of the powdered sugar bowls Place balls 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake 8 minutes or until tops are cracked and edges are set. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

Dip tops of warm cookies one at a time into the remaining bowl of powdered sugar. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store in covered container at room temperature.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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