6 days until Christmas ... and I was a baking machine last night in the kitchen. Since buying a gift for EVERYONE can get a little expensive, I decided to BAKE COOKIES for friends & co-workers. Less than $70 spent on ingredients, cookie tins & ribbon. Easy, right? Yeh - well baking from scratch is actually tedious and makes a mess of your kitchen. Slice & Bake makes baking easssssssssssssy ... but I took the challenge last night and baked. From scratch. Here are the 2 recips I used for Rosemary Shortbread Cookies & Cake Batter Christmas Cookies. Enjoy! And Merry Christmas. XO, WooWoo
Rosemary Shortbread Christmas Tree Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
In a bowl, whisk together flour, rosemary, and salt. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in flour mixture. Blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gather dough into two balls, wrap both tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 350. Remove one dough ball and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on parchment paper. Punch out cookies using a small (3 1/2 inch) tree-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer cutouts to a wax paper lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat with second dough ball. Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. Don't let the cookies brown!!! Transfer to a cooling rack.
CAKE BATTER CHRISTMAS COOKIES
1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 cup yellow or vanilla boxed cake mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (I used a blend of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 cup Christmas sprinkles
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat on high until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Mix on low until the add-ins are evenly disbursed.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 3-4 days. This step is mandatory. The dough is fairly sticky, so chilling the dough is required in order to avoid the cookies from spreading too much. If you chill longer than 2 hours, make sure you roll the cookie dough into balls after the 2 hour mark. Place dough balls on a plate, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You may also freeze the balls at this point for up to 3 months. (Then bake as directed adding 1 minute to the bake time without thawing.)
Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Scoop rounded balls of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, use about 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie. Shape your cookie dough balls to be "taller" than they are wide, as pictured above. Press a few chocolate chips into the tops of the cookie dough balls, if desired. That makes a pretty cookie. Make sure to keep dough chilled when working in batches.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Mine took 10 minutes exactly. The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool. You may also press a few more chips into the tops of the cookies at this point (the chips will melt down and stick from the warm cookies).
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days; baked cookies may be frozen up to 3 months. They won't last that long!