Not Santa's Christmas Cookies

 
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Were you expecting a collection of typical Christmas cookies - like the predictable sugar cookie covered in corny, seasonal sprinkles, or the obvious Snicker-doodle? Here at Jack's Shop Kitchen, we are 100% fans of the classics, but we're sure you already have an overload of quintessential Christmas cookie recipes in your repertoire. The following are four of Jack's personal favorites that steer clear of the stream of conventional Christmas cookies you are sure to be bombarded with this time of year. Do or don't share them with Santa - but if you try them out, let us know what you think! 


Cranberry + Almond Icebox Cookies

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Icebox cookies are Jack’s go-to recipe for this time of year.  The dough can be made up to a month in advance and kept in the freezer, hence the name.  Feel free to experiment with different flavor profiles like chocolate, nuts and other dried fruits.  With everyone’s hectic schedule through the holidays, it’s the perfect recipe to keep things festive AND enjoyable.

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1 ½ sticks          Butter, room temp

¼ cu                   Sugar

¼ tsp                  Salt

1 ½ cu                 Flour

1/3 cu                 Dried Cranberries

½ cu                    Almonds, sliced

½ tsp                   Orange, zested

 as needed         Decorative Sugar

Method:

1.       In a kitchen aide mixer set with paddle combine butter, sugar and salt, whip 3-5 minutes, or until fluffy. 

2.      Sift flour, add to butter mixture in 3 stages.

3.      On last addition of flour, add cranberries, almonds and orange zest.  Mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.

4.      Remove dough from mixer, separate into 2 batches.  Using plastic wrap, roll dough into 1.5 – 2 inch cylinder.  Place in freezer for about 30 minutes or until firm.

5.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove dough from plastic wrap and slice into ¼ inch rounds.  Roll edges in decorative sugar, place on parchment lined sheet pan.

6.      Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Rotate pan half way through cooking.

7.       Remove cookies from oven, transfer to cooling rack, allow to stand 5 minutes.


Swedish Gingersnap

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Don’t let the ubiquitous gingerbread man drag this recipe down.  Uncommonly light, with an unmistakable “snap” this cookie deserves its own place on the cookie tray.  Should you choose to slather in royal icing, be sure to hold a few plain ones aside to dunk in your egg nog.

Yield: about 6 dozen thin cookies

Ingredients:

1 ½ sticks            Butter

4 tsp                    Ginger, peeled + grated

2 tsp                    Cinnamon

1/2 tsp                 Clove

1 ¼ cu                  Brown Sugar

¼ cup                  Molasses

1 ea                      Egg, whole

1 ea                      Egg Yolk             

1 ¼ cup                Flour

2 tsp                    Baking Soda

pinch                   Salt                                                                  

Method:

1.       In a sauce pot, melt butter and cook until it begins to foam and turn brown.  Add ginger, cinnamon, clove, brown sugar and molasses.  Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly.

2.       Whisk eggs into butter mixture.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt, sift into butter mixture and mix to form dough.

3.       Separate dough into 2 portions, wrap in plastic wrap and chill, 30 minutes.

4.       Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  When dough has rested, roll out to between 1/8 – 1/4 inch.  Punch out shapes and transfer to a parchment lined sheet pan.

5.      Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Rotate pan half way through cooking.

6.      Remove cookies from oven, transfer to cooling rack, allow to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.


Spritz Cookies with Chocolate and Candied Orange

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German by design, the Spritz cookie is perfect in its simplicity, using only 4 main ingredients.  With a classic recipe we offer to you our chocolate variation, rich in both flavor and Christmas tradition.

Yield: about 60 cookies

Ingredients:

Candied Orange:

3 ea                    Oranges

1 cup                  Sugar

as needed         Water

Cookies:

2 sticks               Butter

½ cup                  Sugar

¼ tsp                   Salt

1 ea                     Egg

½ tsp                  Vanilla

2 ¼ cup              Flour

Chocolate:

1 cup                  Chocolate Chips

2 cups                Heavy Cream                                         

Method:

1.        For Candied Orange: using a peeler, remove peel from orange, thinly slice.  Add peel to a sauce pan, add enough water to cover, bring to a simmer then drain.  Repeat process two more times.  When peel has been blanched add sugar and 1 ½ cups of water.  Boil until a thick syrup, add orange peel and continue cooking until translucent.  Remove orange peel, allow to cool, finely chop and reserve for decoration.

2.       For Cookies: preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a kitchen aide mixer set with paddle combine butter, sugar and salt, whip 3-5 minutes or until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla.  Mix to combine

3.       Sift flour, add to butter mixture in 3 stages, mix until just combined.  Do not over mix

4.       Transfer batter to a piping bag with a star tip.  Pipe shapes to 1.5 – 2 inches wide on parchment lined sheet pan.

5.       Bake cookies until set but not browned, 5-8 minutes.  Rotate pan half way through cooking.

6.       Remove cookies from oven, transfer to cooling rack, allow to stand 5 minutes.

7.       For Chocolate: meanwhile, in a glass bowl, combine chocolate and heavy cream. Microwave 1 minute at a time, stirring in between, until chocolate has fully melted and incorporated all the cream.  Reserve in a warm place.

8.      Dip top of cookies into melted chocolate and sprinkle with candied orange.


Raspberry Linzer Cookie

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What’s better than a cookie?  TWO cookies.  What’s better than two cookies?  Two cookies sandwiched with jam.  From the city of Linz, in Austria, a nut dough is traditionally made into a large tart with a lattice top and fruit filling.  Because they’re cute, and much hard to keep track of how many you eat, we’ve made a mini, mouth-pop-able version for your holiday guests.

Yield: about 24 cookies

Ingredients:

1 ½ sticks           Butter

½ cup                 Sugar

¼ tsp                  Salt

1 ea                    Lemon, zested

1 ea                    Egg Yolk

1 tsp                   Vanilla

1 cup                  Flour

¾ cup                 Almond Flour

as needed         Raspberry Jam

as needed         Powdered Sugar                                                                                        

Method:

1.       In a kitchen aide mixer set with paddle, combine butter, sugar, salt and lemon, whip 3-5 minutes or until fluffy.  Add egg yolk and vanilla.  Mix to combine.

2.      Sift flour, add to butter mixture in 3 stages, mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.

3.      Remove dough from mixer, separate into 2 batches, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

4.      When dough is chilled, roll out to ¼ inch and punch out 2 inch rounds.  For the tops: separate half of the cookies, using a piping bag tip punch out the center.  You should have equal amount of full cookies and cookie tops with a hole in the middle.  Transfer to a parchment lined sheet pan, chill cookies 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5.      Remove cookies from refrigerator, bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating half way through cooking.  Transfer cookies to cooling rack, allow to set 5 minutes. 

6.      Using the full cookies, pipe a dollop of raspberry jam in the center.  Dust top cookies with powdered sugar, then sandwich together.

 
Kristy SkipperComment