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Christmas Cookies


Elizabeth_11
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I've only been privy to the whole cooking process once (this year) but no, we didn't chill them. My mom did make a big deal out of making sure it was a thin layer of dough in the tin so that may help.

I really wish I had been more willing to learn all this younger. It just took 26 years to realize how important some of these family traditions are!

"Vegetables aren't food. Vegetables are what food eats."

--

food.craft.life.

The Lunch Crunch - Our daily struggle to avoid boring lunches

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Just made my often-requested batch of "salty butter", AKA caramels with sea salt.

One change this year, however - the butter was 'replaced' with browned butter. Ooh, boy, yum. Browned butter is one of my recent "oh-my-gawd-why-haven't-I-cooked-this-before" finds, and I'm having fun with it.

I plugged the numbers into my software and the whole batch is a lusty 5900 calories. Hehe. Not so bad when you consider that will become well over 100 pieces, though.

Andrea

http://tenacity.net

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

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Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

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Rather belatedly, here is the recipe for Green Tea Shortbread w/ Green Tea Icing. The shortbread recipe comes from the inimitable Martha. The icing is my variation on another icing recipe.

The only hard-to-find ingredient is the green tea powder, which is sometimes sold as instant green tea. Martha does say that if you cannot find green tea powder, just use a spice grinder on Japanese green tea leaves.

I'll try to get a photo later. Enjoy!

<a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jhtml?type=content&id=recipe2679"><b>Green Tea Shortbread</b></a>

<b>Green Tea Icing</b>

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

3 teaspoons green tea powder

4 teaspoons milk

Beat butter for 30 seconds. Sift in confectioners' sugar and green tea powder. Beat in enough milk to create a spreadable consistency.

Edited by Samantha (log)
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Pat W., I have a recipe for a gingerbread cookie that stays soft if you still need a recipe, or want a recipe for a soft one. Most recipes get really hard, which I don't like. Let me know Iif you want it.

Eileen

Eileen,

Yes, yes, yes..... I would love a recipe for soft gingerbread cookies.

Thank you, Pat

I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance

Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash

http://bluestembooks.com/

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Samantha: the green tea shortbread looks great! One thing I always do with shortbread is substituting part of the AP flour for cornstarch. For 2 cups of AP flour, I would reduce it to 1 3/4 cup AP flour and use 1/4 cornstarch. That lowers the gluten content and the cookies are much more tender. :) Thanks for the recipe!

Edited by Ling (log)
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Am actually looking out for an excellent chocolate cookie recipe.The links in this thread have been very helpful..but there are so many recipes to choose from..

I just made some of the Chocolate Crackles from the Martha Stewart cookie book (recipe posted above). They are lovely, and really very rich and chocolatey --- almost brownie-like. Rolling it in sugar gives it a nice outer crust. My boys liked them a lot, especially since they don't contain nuts (which they consider to be poisonous.)

My usual favorite chocolate cookie is the Death by Chocolate cookie recipe that is shown on the Baker's chocolate wrapper. It is a chocolate cookie with chocolate chunks and nuts. I usually use Baker's chocolate for the cookie itself, and get a really nice chocolate to use for the chunks. It's a very simple drop cookie recipe that always gets ooohs and aaahs.

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I don't often bake cookies as they're a bit fiddly in the baking for me: in the oven, out of the oven, in the oven, out of the oven, endless batches. Yes, they're cute. Yes they taste good. But fiddly. And if you are into decoration. Well, you know. But cookies I must make, so I throw myself on your mercy.

I thought I'd make some coconut macaroons. What happens if I go the route of just egg whites, sweetened mositened coconut, and sugar vs the versions that also uses either evaporated or coconut milk? Which version will give me the little bits of coconut sticking out all toasted looking, like spider legs? Which will give me the slightly gooey center? Which will be tastiest?

edited for typo

Edited by Mottmott (log)

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Thanks for the green tea shortbread link.. They look beautiful! I'm going to make those (with Ling's adjustment :smile: ) for my Christmas party Saturday!. They don't see too complicated and I have some Japanese matcha in my cupboard so..

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So this might seem a bit off the wall, but I figured if anyone could tell me, it's the people on here. Everytime I head up to NYC I always hunt down my favorite cookies, no not black and whites. The cookies I love most of all are usually found in deli's next to the black and whites. They are big like the b&w's but are usually covered with rainbow sprinkles/jimmies, and I think are some form of butter cookie. Anyone have a cookie recipie that's similar to those? I love em.

WhizWit.net -- My blog on Food, Life, and Politics
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Here are two of the three types of cookies I'm baking this year:

gallery_7258_2197_24670.jpg

The ones that look like sunny side up eggs are a cream cheese butter cookie base filled with lemon curd. The others are a variation of Swedish Sand Tarts from Sunset Magazine, filled with caramel (which looks very dark in the photo; I'm just getting used to my camera).

I make my cookies small; although you can't tell from the photo, these are about an inch across.

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Dorie Greenspan's suggestions for variations on the Korova cookie work very well.

I made smaller-scale cookies (log 1 inch in diameter), and baked them for only 10 minutes so that the texture is still a little chewy. The full 12 minutes result in a very crisp, sandy cookie.

Half the batch was made with currants & a generous pinch or two of cinnamon. I added rum to the boiling water used to plump the fruit :smile: & drained them for about an hour while rolling the dough.

FYI: Due to heat of my kitchen at the end of day, the dough was not crumbly or firm enough to make logs. An hour or more in fridge helped enormously to shape the logs.

Ones with currants & Fleur de Sel? :wub::wub:

Thanks for all the inspirational praise, Ling!

And for those of you who keep your Gourmet magazines, the issue for December 1995 has a reader's recipe that I highly recommend. The Apricot Diamonds Harris are in production right now. The puree is delicious. Am making 1 1/2 of the recipe since they're for a 9x9 pan vs. a full size baking sheet.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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^I'm glad they turned out well for you! The addition of cinnamon and currants is interesting; once, I added gingerbread spices (some nutmeg, some cinnamon) to a batch of the Korova cookies and they were pretty good as well. Like you, I also underbake to keep them softer. :smile:

Jaz: your mini cookies (only 1" across!) are adorable! :wub:

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gallery_24065_1826_605725.jpg

Here's a sampling of my attempts to make homemade yummies for friends and family.

We have coconut jelly thumbprints, chocolate chip orange biscotti with chocolate dip, double choc with choc dip, and choc almond with choc and hazelnut dip.

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Here are a few of the goodies I made for our annual holiday open house.

gallery_32228_2240_89201.jpg

Chocolate sables from Pierre Hermes chocolate desserts and the old-fashioned almond cookies from Dorie Greenspan's "Paris Sweets", with bottoms dipped in tempered chocolate. I could NOT stop eating them.

gallery_32228_2240_62624.jpg

Lemon meringue tartlets and soft caramels dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with coarse sea salt.

gallery_32228_2240_63730.jpg

Pistachio petits fours from Flo Braker and more lemon meringue tartlets.

gallery_32228_2240_49007.jpg

Swiss mocha meringue cookies from Rose Levy Berenbaum -- can you see the feet on them?! And some mini-bundts.

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Here are my Christmas Cookie photos!

The green tea shortbread from up-thread:

75746451_d30b21bc69.jpg

Green tea shortbread with various toppings - browned butter icing, green tea icing, caramel drizzle, crushed candy canes:

75746496_67fdeda254.jpg

Passionfruit curd thumbprint cookies:

75746749_b0d2b5bcb3.jpg

Korova cookies:

75746651_d3785267e6.jpg

Other photos can be seen here, and all recipes are available here.

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I second the Wows!!! for Ruth and Samantha, the green tea trees are inspired! :smile:

A while back, elsewhere, I recommended a ginger spice cookie on Epicurious.com that originally appeared in Bon Appetit in March 2000. (I promise to write to Webmaster soon to delete erroroneous attribution of good suggestions soon.)

I would like to repeat to anyone who is a real fan of ginger that this recipe is sensational, especially when lots of fresh grated gingerroot is added. 8 twists of pepper mill also recommended & half the amount of cloves. Rolled in a variety of chunky golden sugars from the natural food store & clear sanding sugar before baking, they're lovely.

I have made them with butter alone and also with the same shortening/butter combo that the recipe recommends. The results are superior with butter...the richness in flavor is really missing with the amount of shortening required.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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The green tea shortbread from up-thread:

75746451_d30b21bc69.jpg

gorgeous!

I have a question about these.. how long do they keep?

Or, to be more specific, if I make them Thursday evening will they taste good on Saturday? I have had such mixed results with keeping cookies for a couple of days, that I want to be sure..

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From Thursday night until Saturday really shouldn't be a problem for the green tea shortbread and korova cookies - the thumbprints will probably not be quite as tasty as they were the day they were baked, as the curd tends to dry up a little. You could add a little fresh curd on each cookie on the Saturday.

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All the cookies are beautiful.

Ruth, your picture makes me want to make PH's sables soon. I read on the forum that they're hard to pipe. Did you think they were worth the effort? They're certainly pretty!  :smile:

They were indeed tough to pipe. I found that if I kept the bag filled to only about 1/3, it was easier than with a more full bag. As to whether they're worth the effort -- well, they're not my favorite chocolate sable for taste and texture -- I think Dorie's Korova cookies would win that contest. But they are awfully pretty on the plate!

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Swiss mocha meringue cookies from Rose Levy Berenbaum -- can you see the feet on them?! 

How'd you get the great feet?

By accident. I hope I can replicate it in the future, though!

The first batch I baked at the temps in the recipe, and got no feet and burned cookies. For the second batch, I knocked the inital temp back by 25* and, to my amazement, got feet. The temps on round 2 where 325* for 8-9 minutes and then 200* to finish. The batter was the same in both cases -- essentially an Italian meringue with a bit of cooled melted chocolate and coffee paste folded in. You pipe the cookies and let them dry (I let them sit for about 1.5 hours) before baking.

I'm thinking that the next time I try macarons, I'm going to start with an Italian meringue and add the almond flour to that. Worth a shot!

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