Recipe: Christmas Cookies

Posted by Aurora Chalbaud-Schmidt on



Ingredients

  • 225g / 1 cup unsalted butter , softened (or use salted, skip salt)
  • 1 cup (220g) white sugar , preferably caster / superfine
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg (55-60g / 1.9-2oz)
  • 3 cups (450g) flour , plain / all purpose
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Icing for Sugar Cookies

Instructions

  • Preheat Oven to 180°C / 350°F (160°C fan). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy (1 minute on speed 5)
  • Add egg and vanilla, beat until completely combined.
  • Add flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Start mixing slowly, then beat until the flour is incorporated - it will be clumpy.
  • Dust work surface with flour, scrape dough out of bowl. Pat together then cut in half, then shape into 2 discs.
  • Roll out to 0.3cm / 1/8" (for thinner, crispier cookies) or 0.6cm / 1/4" (for thicker, softer cookies), sprinkling with flour under and over the dough so it doesn't stick.
  • Use cookie cutters to press out shapes and use a knife or spatula to transfer shapes to prepared baking sheets. (Keep dough that doesn't fit in the oven in the fridge).
  • Bake for 10 minutes, swapping trays halfway (Note 2), until the surface is pale golden and the edges are just beginning to turn light golden.
  • Allow cookies to cool completely on trays (they will finish cooking on the trays).

DECORATING OPTIONS:

  • Icing - see Icing for Christmas Cookies recipe.
  • Melt chocolate then dip the surface into chocolate.
  • Dot with icing sugar and decorated with silver balls
  • Dust with icing sugar
  • Serve plain! They are sweet vanilla biscuits so they are wonderful eaten just as they are!

 Recipe Notes:

1. Number of cookies will depend on cut out size and how thick you roll your dough. It fills 3 baking trays.

2. Swapping trays halfway - this means that you put both trays in the oven with one in the middle of the oven and the other underneath. Halfway through the bake time, switch them around so the one underneath moves to the top shelf, and the tray on top moves to the shelf underneath. This ensures they both bake evenly because the top shelf bakes faster than the shelf underneath.

3. Source - adapted from this Sugar Cookies recipe by Sugar, Spun, Run. 

4. Storage - Keeps in an airtight container for a week. After this, they are still edible and totally delicious but they do start to dry out a touch (I think….I may be a bit too picky when I'm estimating shelf life of food for recipes I share!!). I would never describe them as stale, but they are better in Week 1.

ICING FOR Sugar Cookies

 

Ingredients

 

ICING:

  • 500g / 1 lb icing sugar / powdered sugar , sifted (plus extra for adjusting) (Note 1)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) egg white (2 small eggs or 1.5 large eggs) (Note 2)
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup (or 1.5 tbsp glucose syrup, Note 3)
  • 1.5 tbsp water , plus more as needed

COLOURING:

  • Food Dye - liquid or gel , go by eye for quantity (Note 4)

Instructions

  • Place Icing ingredients in a large bowl and beat for 1 minute on speed 5 until smooth and glossy (start on low then speed up).
  • Divide icing into different bowls for colouring. Add food dye and mix - keep adding colouring until you achieve the colour you are after. If icing gets too thin, add more icing sugar.
  • Icing consistency test: Should be able to draw a figure 8 on the surface and you can see if for 2 seconds before sinking in and disappearing. Should be thick enough to pipe details but thin enough to spread smoothly on surface of cookie. ADJUST icing - thinner with water (1/2 tsp at a time), thicker with more icing sugar.

PIPING:

  • Transfer icing into disposable piping bags or ziplock bags.
  • Snip the TINIEST bit off the corner. Smaller hole = better detail in icing. Remember: You can cut hole bigger, but not smaller! OR using very thin piping nozzle.
  • Pipe decorations on cookies as desired.
  • Decorate with sprinkles etc while wet (so they stick). Or dry completely before piping on details.
  • To fill a large surface, use toothpick to spread.

QUICK METHOD FROSTING (SEE VIDEO DEMO):

  • Place skewer on edge of frosting bowl.
  • Hold edge of cookie with two fingers, then carefully dip face of cookie into frosting.
  • Pull out of frosting then lightly scrape surface across skewer to remove excess.
  • Decorate with sprinkles etc while wet (so they stick). Or dry completely before piping on details.

 Recipe Notes:

1. Icing sugar - if you're in Australia, use SOFT icing sugar not PURE icing sugar. Soft icing sugar is the everyday icing sugar used in frostings. Pure icing sugar is used for specific types of icing like royal icing which is not we are making here.

You may need extra icing sugar to adjust the thickness of the icing sugar. If you only have exactly 500g, then reduce water to 1 tbsp.

2. Egg whites - important to measure rather than use "2 egg whites" because even a small difference in liquid in this icing can drastically affect the thickness. The icing needs to be perfect thickness - pipable but holds it shape but spreadable (to easily and smoothly cover cookie surface).

3. Corn syrup is a sweet, clear, thick syrup that is a staple in US and Canadian recipes. It's used in candy making and pies (like Pecan Pie). For this icing, it gives the frosting a lovely sheen, rather than being matte. Substitute with glucose syrup for a very similar end result (sold in baking aisle in Australian's grocery stores).

4. Food colouring comes in 2 forms - liquid (shown in video) and gels. Gels are stronger so you need less.

Tip: Red icing requires a LOT of colouring, about 3/4 tsp (for 1/3 of the icing mixture).

5. Yield - makes more than enough for one batch of these Sugar Cookies/Vanilla biscuits. But you want to err on the side of caution if using multiple colours because you will lose some through handling.

Visit at Schmidt Christmas Market for all your Christmas needs


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