Posted on January 12, 2013
Christmas Cookies in January
If you ran out of time this holiday season, bake in January and tempt everyone you work with while they are on their New Year’s Resolution Diet. It’s a lot of fun.
I love Christmas. I love hanging out with family. I love Christmas smells: cookies, cinnamon, pine trees, fires, roasted marshmallows, egg nog…. I’m going to say it…I love presents! I love giving, getting, spying on them, ripping them open carefully, watching someone else open something I thought long and hard about. To me, Christmas means family and love…..and CHRISTMAS COOKIES!
But this year was rough. I worked 80-hour weeks until the day I left for Ohio. I didn’t get to enjoy some of my favorite holiday events. I knitted like a mad-man trying to get all of my gifts done, but I didn’t get to make Christmas cookies!
So this year, I made Christmas cookies in January.
After the holiday rush was over and the tree was taken down, I put on my favorite record, the see-through green Charlie Brown Christmas album. If you dont own this…make the $12 investment. I have now listened to this record approximately 30 times this year. Once, almost every morning while getting ready for work and then extra times on the weekends. (That doesn’t include my “Ol’ Fashioned Christmas” playlist on Pandora.)
With a little help from Martha [Stewart’s Magazines], together we picked out which cookies I would make.
Last Christmas, my G’ma Sally & G’pa Bruce had a few of us over for tea. My mom, the HB and my G’ma Fran enjoyed a nice afternoon of conversation and cookies. One of G’ma Sally’s favorite cookies were these very thin cookies wafered together with chocolate. She told me how she found this one place to purchase these cookies. So when I stumbled upon them in Martha’s magazine, I knew what I had to make.
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3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites, room temperature, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used dark chocolate chips and it worked out. The cookies were a little sweeter)
I mixed up the dough and used a ziploc bag with a tip cut out to pipe out the cookies. (I don’t own a real piping bag, but I find this works fine in a tight spot.)
I love using silicon sheets on my baking sheets instead of butter or spray. They work great! I suggest buying thicker ones though. These ones were a little too thin, which caused my cookies to bubble up a bit.
To melt chocolate, use a double boiler. If you don’t own a double boiler pan, that’s fine! I use a pot of boiling water and then stick a metal bowl containing the chocolate on top. I wouldn’t suggest melting chocolate without a double boiler or it will melt too quickly and probably burn or get dried out and chunky.
Sandwich the cookies, flat sides together, using the chocolate as your glue. This is where the HB came in handy. He matched up my cookie sizes and shapes and I glued them together.
These cookies taste wonderful! If I would have had thicker silicon mats, I think they would have baked a little flatter, in turn, making flatter sandwiches. They stay crisp for a few days if you keep them sealed.
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Strawberry-Rhubarb-Walnut Layer Cookies
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon roasted Saigon cinnamon, plus extra for top sprinkle
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1/2 rhubarb jelly
I started out by chopping up all of the nuts together and then toasting them in my toaster oven. You just want them to get a little crispy and less chewy. You will add them into the dough after it’s in dough form.
Beat together the butter, sugar, cinnamon and orange zest to make it fluffy. If using an electric mixer, use the whisk attachment.
Whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla.
If using an electric mixer, switch attachment to your regular mixer. Beat in flour and salt.
By hand, mix in your toasted nuts.
In a greased baking sheet (8×8 or 7×9) pat down about half the dough for your crust.
Spread in good globs of jelly, staying away from the edges. You want them to seal and you don’t want the jelly to touch the edge and burn. I found this rhubarb jelly on our trip to Iceland. It’s pretty much want the HB and I lived on for a week solid while traveling in the middle of no-where…
Sprinkle on the rest of the dough on top, like you would a strudel.
Take your jar of cinnamon and sprinkle on a crap-ton to the top. What? You can never have too much cinnamon! (I seriously believe this, so if you disagree, maybe use less than the previously mentioned “crap-ton”).
Bake for about 45 minutes. DON’T OVER BAKE. If you do, you will bend your knife you were attempting to cut with, but they will still taste great. You will even get comments from your co-workers such as “I really like the burnt bottom – it adds a great flavor.”