Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So Many Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

It's time for a Christmas cookie photo extravaganza!
I didn't make it to 12 whole days of Christmas cookies for November's Daring Baker's challenge, but I did manage six different types, which seems like an awful lot of cookies to bake in one month. I did a lot of half- and third-batches. Some cookies went to work. Many cookies were eaten by J and myself. I very much like the idea of baking dozens and dozens of cookies at Christmas and giving them out to everyone I know, but it never works out. Not because I don't do the cookie-baking, but because I suck at that the bit that involves wrapping them in pretty individual packages. I'm sorry Martha, I'm sorry. (Who seriously has time for that stuff? Really. When I win the lottery and quit my job [and all my time-consuming, lazy hobbies] you can all expect beautifully wrapped cookies in the mail.)

The cookie rundown, counter-clockwise from 1 o'clock: Dark Chocolate Orange Sables, David Lebovitz's Croquants, Chocolate Coconut cookies, Jam Thumbprint cookie, Chocolate Hazlenut Crackles, Peanut Butter Thumprint cookie. And Brown Butter Shortbread in the middle. 
Christmas Cookies
Representing what time of day you should eat them?
Which ones do I expect to make again? Uhh. . . Maybe none? Lots of these cookies are very good, but I'm not sure that there are any 10s, and there are so many cookies in the world that I try to only re-make cookie recipes that I think are a 10. 

Well, no, maybe I'd re-make some. 

The double chocolate sables, which I turned into chocolate orange sables by the expedient method of grating in some orange zest, were probably my favourites. The consistency was lovely, the flavour was dark and deep and definitely amenable to the addition of many flavours (Black pepper? Cardamom? Peppermint extract?) What I found time consuming and irritating was grating the chocolate. I'm sure there's a better method than by hand with my wood rasp, and when I find it I think I would be likely to make these cookies again. They look a bit like burger patties though, don't you think? Burgers made out of Play Dough? Dried Play Dough? Dried Play Dough made of chocolate?

My kind of burger.
Though, burgers are also my kind of burger.
The shortbread was like consuming a sweet, sandy cloud. I'm used to a denser sort of shortbread (quite well-acquainted with it, actually), but these were fun because I made them with my cookie press. Aren't they adorable? I need some sort of occasion that calls for hundreds of tiny, adorable cookies like this.

The chocolate hazelnut crackles were excellent and the people who tasted many of the cookies tended to declare these their favourite. If you're a particular fan of hazelnut then I definitely recommend them to you. You know what cookies are also delicious, though? A good batch of regular old chocolate crackles (aka. Crack Cookies, for obvious reasons of appearance and moreishness. I recommend David Lebovitz's recipe.) They're easier, equally delicious, and I think slightly prettier. 

Caster sugar pre-roll
Confectioner's sugar coating
The chocolate coconut cookies just weren't my thing. I found them a bit too sweet. I know, they're cookies. Cookies are supposed to be sweet. Also, the Croquants (no individual photo for them) didn't really work the way I imagined them to. I MAY try them again just because they were so bloody simple and because David can do no wrong and therefore the problem must lie with me. Maybe I didn't add enough flour to the egg white and sugar. They were also very sweet, though that is probably to be expected from a cookie that is nearly a meringue. 

It suddenly strikes me that my sweater is on backwards.

The Peanut Butter and Jam Thumbprint cookies were actually something that I threw together after making the Croquants, because I had left-over yolks. I have some vague memory of making thumbprint cookies with my mum when I was a very small child, and I tried to recreate them sort of randomly. They were surprisingly good, however. The consistency of the cookies was perfect, but I wouldn't make the PB ones again--the jam ones were so much better.

So many cookies! Should I post recipes? Yes, probably. At least for the ones I thought were best. Maybe I'll get to it. For now, I'll give you quick instructions for the Thumbprint cookies in case you have any yolks to use up.

And what are my 10 out of 10 cookie choices, you ask? I think you'll have to wait.

Exactly-Like-I-Don't-Quite-Remember-Making-with-My-Mum Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

Into a mixer or food processor (or just a good old bowl, for the wicked strong of arm), dump:
100 g AP flour
50 g sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla
75 g butter

Blend/mix it until it all comes together into a dough. Chill it for as much time as you have (I chilled it overnight), and then roll it into balls which you will then sort of flatten before putting them on a cookie tray (lined with parchment paper) and squishing your thumb into the middle. Don't worry too much about the thumbprint, because you'll do it again when they come out of the oven. Bake them at 350 for about 14 minutes, until they are set and golden. Immediately upon removing them from the oven, make a dent in the oven with some hand kitchen implement. I used the base of my lemon reamer (say it again!), but I'm sure a regular old spoon would work well enough. Allow the cookies to cool and then warm up a bit of jam in the microwave (just a few seconds until soft) and drop the jam into the thumbprint.

Seven swans a swimming, six. . . what is it. . . geese a laying? Six cookies cooking?
(FIVE MOOOORE POUNDS! da dum dum dum)

"Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us."


  1. I remember the thumb print cookies. Apricot jam is great for these. I actually made a salad dressing that had some apricot jam in it on the weekend and I really liked it. You could tell there was something a bit different about it but you couldn't figure out what:-)
    I'm glad the cookie press worked. I think the hazelnut crackle cookies are the prettiest.

    1. Did we make them a lot? Or is my memory just of a single cookie-making incident? It feels like I was VERY young at the time.