Sunday, December 11, 2011

A cookie to swap

So this weekend, I baked.  A lot.  A real lot.  I do this every December and voluntarily turn my kitchen into a cookie factory.  I started baking early this year, so the fun has only just begun.  My mother in law had a cookie swap scheduled for today so naturally, I needed to represent.  Every year we've done a cookie swap at my mother in law's, she included a fun competition of "Most Artistic Cookie," "Best Tasting Cookie," and "Most Traditional Cookie."  It is my goal, every year to win at least one category and I'm happy to report that this year I secured the award for "Most Artistic Cookie" - third year in a row!!!

So hear goes!

My sister in law, Erin, and I did some serious baking yesterday.  I report on two cookies.

Cookie #1:
Spritz Cookies:
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

  • Preheat oven to 375* F
  • Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.  
  • Add the egg, milk, vanilla and almond and mix well.  
  • Add the flour/baking powder and mix until combined (the recipe actually calls to mix those together first and gradually add them, but I just dump everything into the wet ingredients all at once).  
  • Do not refrigerate.  
  • Fill cookie press with dough and with the desired disk and press the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I baked mine on parchment paper).
  • Bake for 10 minutes.  Do not brown.

NOW - Because this was a cookie swap, I baked all my cookies as either Christmas Trees or Wreaths.  And half of the dough I died green (just for fun).

After everything was baked and cooled, I decided to decorate the cookies with some chocolate (my aunt gave me tips on how she decorates her cookies).  I left some cookies plain, I made little chocolate sandwiches with others, and on the last third, I put chocolate and chopped pecans on them.

I had a LOT of decorating to do!

Spritz Cookies!!!

Cookie #2:
Nutella Cookies stuffed with Chocolate Ganache (adapted from Everyday Italian, given to me from my Sister, Stephanie)
Nutella Cookie
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt (if you only have regular salt add under a teaspoon)
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sugar for rolling cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 375* F.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. (I did not do this step)
  • Cream together the nutella, butter, and both sugars for about about 3 minutes.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and blend until combined. 
  • Stir in the dry ingredients until incorporated. 
  • Chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Shape the cookie dough into 1 inch, about 1 teaspoon sized round balls. Rolls the cookie balls in sugar and place the cookies on a heavy cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. 
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

(We rolled these to a true 1" ball and they were much bigger than the picture.  I think the originator of the recipe rolled balls that were closer to 1/2")

1/3 cup heavy cream
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
  • Heat heavy cream just to the boiling point in a small sauce pan.
  • Remove from heat and add in chocolate chips and let stand for 2 minutes.
  • With a whisk, mix until smooth. Allow to cool to just about room temperature.
  • Spoon a small amount of the ganache on to the bottom of one cookie.
  • Top off with another cookie and allow to set. Then enjoy!

Nutella Cookies

NOTE:  In the original Giada recipe, she baked these like a peanut-butter Hersey Kiss cookie.  She baked the cookie for about 8 minutes, pulled out and put a Hersey kiss in the middle.  Delicious - but so is this version!

So - At the end of the day, there were a lot of delicious cookies!!!
From Top to Bottom (and left to right):  Pizzelles by Auntie Marie (WINNER of most Traditional), Cheesecake squares by Marie, Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake cookies by Maureen, Peanut Butter Cup Cookies by Vicki, Nutella Cookies by Erin, Chocolate Chip cookies with coconut, nuts and chocolate drizzle by Chris, Jam cookies by Maria, Spritz Cookies by Camille, Chocolate Hay Stacks by Suzie and Cherry Bars by Claudia - my mom!! (Winner of Best Tasting)

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