Thursday, December 11, 2014

Santa Sampler

It's important to leave cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas eve as he has a very busy night delivering presents to children across the world, which is hungry work. This at least, is what I tell the little bears, but really I just love any excuse to make cookies. This year for presents for our neighbours, friends and family I decided to make a Santa Cookie Sampler of four different delicious cookies. I'm sure Santa will appreciate them too! For recipes and more photos click below.

Dark Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

250g butter (1 cup + 2 tablespoons), chopped, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup rice flour
200g good quality dark chocolate

Step 1: Line 2 flat baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Using electric beaters, cream butter and sugar until just combined. Sift over flours and a pinch of salt. Mix until a dough forms. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly knead until smooth.

Step 2
: Split the dough in half. Lay each half on a piece of non-stick paper and roll into a log shape with the non-stick paper around the dough. Tie each end of the log with string and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Step 3: Remove from the fridge and remove the non-stick paper. Cut into 2 cm thick disks. Place on baking trays.

Step 4: Bake shortbreads for 15 minutes at 160°C. Set aside to cool on trays. Transfer to an airtight container until ready to package.

yields: 20 cookies

White Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Cookies

225g (1 cup) unsalted softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
250g bar of white chocolate broken into chunks
1/2 cup dried cranberries 

Step 1: Preheat oven to 170°C fan forced. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add in the eggs and beat until combined. 

Step 2: In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking soda and gradually add to the butter sugar mixture while mixing on low. 

Step 3: Stir in chocolate chunks and died cranberries until combined. Drop heaped tablespoon size balls of batter onto a cookie sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes until just set. They should be slightly soft when removed from the oven (just golden around the edges). Transfer cookies to bench top to cool.

yields: 20 cookies

White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies
Adapted from: Cooking Classy

2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
170g (3/4 cup) softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons granulated sugar (for coating)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 bar of white chocolate or 1 package of white chocolate melts
3 vegetable oil
Red and green candy melts (or tinted royal icing)

Step 1: In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for 20 seconds, set aside.

Step 2: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Mix in egg, then blend in molasses and vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour. Preheat oven to 160°C fan forced during last 10 minutes of chilling.

Step 3: Scoop dough out about 1 1/2 tablespoons at a time then rolls between the palms of your hands to shape into balls. Roll each dough ball in granulated sugar. Transfer to cookie sheets lined with non-stick paper. Make sure to leave about 4 cm between cookies as they will spread a bit while baking. Flatten the dough tops just slightly (to evenly level). Bake in preheated oven 8 - 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 4: Melt the white chocolate over a bain marie or in the microwave. I always melt chocolate over a bain marie stirring constantly as it gives me more controlled over how quickly the chocolate melts. Once the chocolate has melted, remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until completely incorporated. Dip half of each cookie in melted white chocolate mixture then run bottom of cookie slightly along edge of bowl to remove excess, then return to non-stick paper to set at room temperature.

Step 5: For the holly, melt candy melts according to directions on package. Pour each colour into a piping bag fitted with a #5 tip and pipe decorations. Allow to set a room temperature.

yield: 20 cookies

Caramel Stuffed Crinkle Cookies
Adapted from Cooking Classy

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
140g (10 tablespoons) softened unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 bar of Cadbury Caramello or Rolos.
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Step 1: Preheat oven to 160°C fan forced. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, set aside. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, mix together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition until combine. Mix in vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combine.

Step 2: Scoop dough out 2 tablespoons at a time and roll into a ball. Press one caramel into the center then fold cookie dough around caramel (make sure the caramel is fully covered with dough around all sides). Place each ball 4 cm apart on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick paper. Bake in preheated oven 11 - 13 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Once cool dip the top of each cookie in icing sugar. Store in an airtight container.

To package for presents, simply place each type of cookie in a clear class jar with a label and red ribbon. I bought my Korken glass jars from ikea for $3.99. Steal! You can also use the vintage wreath clip art from my advent calendar post for a festive looking cookie jar label. 

Happy Holidays!

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