|Getting into the Christmas spirit…|
It’s that time of year again – time for Christmas cookies. Over the next month leading up to Christmas, I plan to share with you a few of my favorites. They will have their origins in different parts of the world – beautiful and tasty snacks I’ve indulged in as I’ve enjoyed the Christmas season in a few different places.
But the first on the list are cookies I found back in the USA, the Fall after I’d purchased my first home and was getting ready to celebrate Christmas in it. They came from a Martha Stewart Living Christmas book, were featured in the December Martha Stewart Living magazine that year, and have been a favorite cookie of mine to make and to gift ever since.
This year, I was asked to make Christmas cookies for a bake sale, and I decided these were one of the cookies I wanted to include. I hope they’ll become favorite with you too. I recommend making a double or triple batch of these as it’s about the same amount of work, especially if you have a big mixer as I do to make short work of the project. After the cookies are all rolled up, I wrap the finished roll in parchment paper, label it, and put it in the freezer. This way, I can cut off cookie slices and bake them as I need them. Something I want to try this year is to slice them, freeze them flat on the pan, and then pack them in a freezer bag so I can more easily pull them out to bake them.
|Cookies cooling. You should definitely do a quality control taste at this point.|
They are absolutely at their best about 5 minutes out of the oven, still slightly warm and a little bit chewy, but you won’t have any complaints eating them the next day with a cup of coffee or tea, either. To me, they look like a little Christmas celebration, and I’m so happy to be sharing them with you!
One more note: use great chocolate and real butter. You’ll definitely notice the difference. Drop a note at the end of this blog and let me know what you think.
Here’s to the start of the season! Wishing you all the joys it may bring.
|For you, my friends!|
adapted very slightly from Martha Stewart Living
In a bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine and cream together until fluffy:
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
Add and beat again until fluffy:
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together:
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Add the flour mixure to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add and beat until combined:
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
Place the dough between two 12-by-17-inch (in Europe, just use the standard-size, pre-cut pieces of parchment paper), and roll out into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle (25cm x 38cm), about 1/2 inch (1.3cm) thick. Transfer dough, still between the two pieces of parchment paper, to a baking sheet/pan and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Prepare a double boiler, with the water just at a simmer. In the top of the double boiler (or in a bowl placed over a pot of simmering hot water, place:
6 ounces (165g) bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
Melt the chocolate and butter completely, stirring with a rubber spatula occasionally to combine well, about two minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in:
1/3 cup / 3/4 dl sweetened condensed milk
Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Remove the top sheet of parchment. Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the dough to cover the entire surface. Using the bottom piece of the parchment for support, roll the dough tightly into a log. Wrap the log in parchment and chill overnight. At this point, you can also freeze the dough.
Heat the oven to 350°C / 175°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the parchment paper from the log of cookie dough and cut the log into 1/4″ (0.6cm) thin slices. Place the dough rounds onto a baking sheet, spread about 1.5 inch (4cm) apart. Bake until the cookies are a pale golden brown around the edges but still pale in the middle, 8 – 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze.
Makes 32 cookies.