‘Tis the Season

Rollout Sugar Cookie

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened (for soft cookies, substitute butter for butter-flavored shortening)

2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Directions

For the cookie dough:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla and almond extract.
  2. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cover and chill dough for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  6. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely before icing.
  7. You can freeze the unbaked dough for 3 months and baked cookies for 2 months. Make sure to pack them in freezer bags.

For the icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons milk

Food coloring to the desired color

Directions

1. Mix all together well. Repeat for as many colors as you want.

Note: In a pinch, white pre-made frosting works too. Just add food coloring to make desired colors.

 

Raspberry Linzer Cookie

Ingredients

2/3 cup almonds

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2  teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons powdered sugar, for dusting

1 12-ounce jar seedless raspberry preserves

Directions

  1. Toast the almonds in a small frying pan over medium heat until fragrant, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and cool completely, about 20 minutes.

  2. Place the cooled almonds and 1/2 cup of the flour in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process to a fine meal. Add the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse to combine, and set aside.

  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy and lightened in color, about 3 minutes. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and a large bowl.)

  4. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the egg and vanilla, return the mixer to medium speed, and beat until well-combined, about 1 minute.

  5. Stop again and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds.

  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and give the dough a few stirs with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the bowl, to ensure that all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions, about 4 1/2 ounces each.

  7. Press each piece of dough into a 5-by-7-inch rectangle. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

  8. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Sandwich the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4-inch thick.

  9. Use a 2-inch fluted round cutter to cut as many rounds from the dough as possible. Place 12 rounds on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes. Repeat rolling and cutting the dough scraps, chilling the dough if it becomes too soft to get a clean cut. These rounds will be the bottoms of the cookies.

  10. Roll the remaining rectangle of dough out like the first. Use the 2-inch cutter to make rounds again, then use a 1-inch cutter to make a hole in the center of each round. Remove the center rounds (these can be baked off separately); these will be the tops of the cookies. Place the tops on another parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat rolling and cutting any dough and scraps and chill the cookie tops for 30 minutes.

  11. While the cookies are chilling, arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

  12. Bake the cookies until lightly golden brown, 9 to 11 minutes. Cool completely before filling.

  13. Spread each cookie bottom with 1 teaspoon of raspberry jam and top with a cookie top. Use a fine-mesh strainer and sprinkle the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar just before serving.

Cinnamon Wheels

Ingredients

1 sheet pre-made puff pastry dough

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Stir sugar and cinnamon together.
  3. Unroll the refrigerated puff pastry dough on parchment paper.
  4. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture all over the pastry dough evenly. Using a rolling pin, press the sugar down slightly.
  5. With the help of the parchment paper, roll the dough into a log.
  6. Cut in half, wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 20 minutes for easier cutting.
  7. Once firm, cut 1/2-inch slices with a serrated knife. Place slices on prepared baking sheet and press them down slightly with the palm of your hand.
  8. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly golden brown and bubbling. The centers may puff up while baking. Press them down with a rubber spatula immediately out of the oven for flat cookies.

Variation: Add 1/2 cup of crushed pecans or walnuts to the cinnamon-sugar mix.