Monday, December 17, 2012

 "a cookie in each hand, is a balanced diet..."

As  mentioned yesterday, Ive begun baking our Christmas cookies:) Every year, I make batch upon batch of the classics and package them up to give to our families, friends, and neighbors. It's one of my favorite parts of  this time of year and I enjoy the process very much.  Each year I like to try new recipes of the classic cookies: sugar, gingerbread, chocolate chip, etc. Until I find the perfect one, and then I'll stick with it:) I thought I'd share my all time favorite, go-to, chocolate chip cookie recipe because I have yet to find another version that can top it, and also a gingerbread recipe I used this year that was particularly tasty.  I made sugar cookies too, but the recipe is pretty basic and I figure most people are familiar with a good sugar cookie recipe;)
 Gingerbread Cookies (Compliments of Food Network Magazine's "Cookie Countdown"):

2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1 cup confectioners sugar

1. Whisk the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Beat the butter, molasses, and superfine sugar in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3mins) Reduce mixer speed to low; add flour mixture in 2 batches and beat until just incorporated. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 30mins or overnight) 2. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 375degs. Working with 1 piece of dough at time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface (I use confectioner's sugar here instead of flour) until about 1/8" thick. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters and arrange on two ungreased (or lined) cookie sheets. Gather scraps and re-refrigerate until firm; reroll once to cut more cookies. Refrigerate cutouts until firm, about 10mins. 3. Bake cookies, switching position of the pans halfway through, until the edges are just browned, 12 to 15mins. Let cool 2mins on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

(Note: You'll notice a few of my cookies look extra browned (not burned..."extra browned"! N and I will keep those;), I found that they continued to darken a bit while cooling on the cookie sheet, so after the first batch I wizened up and took them out a minute earlier so they wouldn't be as dark)

Icing: Whisk confectioners sugar with 1 tablespoon boiling water in a small bowl; add teaspoon of water if the icing is too thick. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and snip off a small corner of the bag to pipe icing onto cookies. Let set about 30mins.

*I really liked this recipe because the gingerbread had a very nice finished texture, not too hard and not too soft..nice and buttery and flaky..but not in an overwhelming way...

To Die For: Chocolate Chip Cookies (compliments of  Joy of Cooking):
(This is my favorite cookbook ever, it's my got-to for all classics and how-to's etc. Never fails me...)

1 cup plus 2 tbs all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla 
1 cup chocolate chips (I used TollHouse dark morsels, they're big and get yummy-gooey when baked)

1. Preheat oven to 375degs. Grease or line 2 cookie sheets. Whisk together in a medium bowl; flour and baking soda. In a large bowl beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until well blended. Add and beat until blended; egg, salt, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until well blended and smooth. Fold in your chocolate chips.
2. Drop dough in heaping tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
3. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are just slightly colored on the tops and the edges are browned (about 8 to 10 minutes). Let stand briefly then remove to a rack to cool.

*I love this recipe because the cookies get thin and gooey, and have an almost caramelized crunch to them. I wont tell you how many I sneak to "taste and make sure they're safe to eat" .... ;)

What are some of your favorite cookies to make? If you have a good one that I need to add to my vault, share the link with me below!

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  1. I really need a good gingerbread cookie before Christmas :) These look wonderful. The star cookies look lovely too.

    1. Thank you! The star cookies I think are my favorite, the little pearly nonpareils were a lot of fun.
      This really is my most successful gingerbread trial thus far, give it a try!


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