Christmas Cookies Recipe
These cookies are tender and buttery. Because of the high ratio of butter to flour the dough can be difficult to work with; however, we don’t recommend adding additional flour as this will change the texture of the cookies.
We used a snowflake cutter that measures 7cm across from tip to tip and a Christmas tree cutter that is 7cm long and 4cm wide (at widest point).
If you don't wish to make cut-out cookies, you could do the following: Form the dough into two logs, roll each log up in a sheet of baking paper, and refrigerate. When the dough is hard, remove the baking paper and slice the logs into rounds about 6mm thick.
Yield: Will depend on the size of the cookie cutters used. We make about 39 cookies when using 7cm long cutters.
We use a 20ml tablespoon and 250ml measuring cup for all of our recipes.
220g butter, softened (if using unsalted butter, add 1/8 teaspoon fine table salt)
80g (1/2 cup, lightly packed) pure icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
300g (2 cups) plain flour
About 2 teaspoons plain flour, to flour cutters
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or electric hand-held beaters, beat butter, icing sugar and vanilla together. Stop the machine and use a spatula to scrape the side and base of the bowl once or twice during beating. Beat just until the ingredients are combined and the mixture is creamy.
Using a spoon or electric mixer/beaters on very low speed, incorporate the flour into the butter mixture (don’t over-mix the dough). It is normal for the dough to be soft.
Divide the dough in half. Form each piece of dough into a smooth ball. Place one piece of dough between two sheets of baking paper, each about 45cm long. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a thickness of 6mm.
Leave dough between sheets of baking paper and place on a large flat tray or chopping board that is large enough to completely support the dough so it remains flat. Place dough (on tray/board) in the freezer or refrigerator. Repeat the process with the second piece of dough.
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (150 degrees Celsius fan-forced). Adjust the oven rack to the middle of the oven, unless you wish to bake two trays of cookies at the one time. © exclusivelyfood.com.au
After the dough has been in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes or in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes it should be firm when pressed. The dough will be very difficult to work with if it is not thoroughly chilled. When the dough is cold and firm, remove one piece from the freezer/refrigerator, leave on chopping board or transfer to kitchen bench, and remove the top sheet of baking paper. Use the sheet of baking paper removed from the dough to line a large baking tray. Working quickly, dip the cutting edge of a cutter into the extra flour and cut a shape from the dough.
Transfer dough shape to the lined baking tray. Continue dipping and cutting, placing dough shapes at least 2cm apart, until the tray is filled. The dough can be returned to the fridge/freezer if it becomes too soft to work with.
Place tray in the preheated oven. We recommend baking the cookies one tray at a time unless using a fan-forced oven. If you wish to bake more than one tray at a time, you will probably need to extend the baking time and may need to swap the positions of the trays halfway through for more even baking.
Bake cookies until they are a light golden colour on the edges. The baking time required will be influenced by the size of the cutter used. We bake our snowflake and Christmas tree cookies for about 10-15 minutes. The cookies will firm up as they cool. While the cookies are baking, form the dough offcuts into a disc and repeat the rolling and chilling process.
Cool cooked cookies on tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Continue cutting and baking cookies and re-rolling off-cuts until all the dough has been used.
Cookies could be served plain, iced (see icing recipe below) or dusted with icing sugar. We have found that the cookies soften more quickly if iced.
This icing contains raw egg white. If you would prefer not to use egg white, 20-30ml (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons) water could be used instead (the icing will not set as hard).
1 large egg white
186g (1 1/3 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
In a medium bowl, beat egg white with a spoon for about 10 seconds until a bit foamy. Add about one third of the icing sugar to the egg white and stir vigorously until smooth. Continue adding icing sugar in batches until the icing has a thick pourable consistency (you might not need to use all of the icing sugar).
Spoon icing into a snap lock plastic bag or small piping bag fitted with a tip. If using a snap lock bag, snip a small amount off one corner of the bag (the smaller the hole, the finer the line of icing when piped). Decorate cookies with icing.
Set aside until icing has set (about 20 minutes) and then serve, or store in an airtight container. © www.exclusivelyfood.com.au