Our Daring Bakers November challenge was to make Christmas cookies! We were given 12 recipes to choose from and despite my best intentions to make more, I only ended up having time for three. I’m sure I’ll manage a few more over the holiday period, so stay tuned! I made a half-batch of the shortbread cookies (original recipe in the pdf), a half batch of the crinkle cookies (original recipe from epicurious) and a full batch of the foaming milk cookies (original recipe in the pdf) but decided to use brown sugar instead of white.
Piped shortbread cookies
My rings are not very ring-like and my star tip was too small, but they were light and delicate, buttery and melt-in-the-mouth good!
Makes about 40
115g softened butter
90g all-purpose (plain) flour
4 tbsp confectioner’s (icing/powdered) sugar
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1 tsp vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment.
Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle beater. Mix on low speed until combined and then change to the whisk beater.
Beat on medium speed for 10 minutes.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients that switch to an electric hand mixer on high speed. The mixture should be very pale and fluffy.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe into rings about 5cm across onto parchment-lined sheet. Keep remaining mixture cool but not refrigerated if you need to bake in batches.
Bake in preheated moderate oven for 18 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before cooling completely on a wire rack.
Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies
Makes about 42
1/3 cup ground hazelnuts
1 tbsp granulated sugar
85g dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
55g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioner’s (icing/powdered) sugar
Mix nuts with granulated sugar.
Melt chocolate in a metal bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water or in top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and set aside.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Beat together butter and brown sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, beating well, then beat in melted chocolate until combined. Add milk and vanilla, beating to incorporate. Stir in nut mixture. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper.
Sift confectioner’s sugar into a bowl. Roll dough into 2.5cm balls, placing them on a sheet of baking paper as rolled. Roll balls in confectioners sugar to coat generously and arrange 5cm apart on lined baking sheets.
Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are puffed and cracked and edges feel dry (but centres are still slightly soft), 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies (still on parchment) to racks to cool completely.
Brown sugar foaming milk cookies
Simple, crisp, not-too-sweet cookies and because there’s no egg in the dough it can kept safely in the fridge and baked in small batches, which is what I did. I made one batch rolled and pressed with my fingers and one batch cut into 1cm slices from a log. I think the sliced ones had a better texture.
Rolled and pressed
Sliced from a log
Makes 40 – 60, depending on how you bake them
225g softened butter
560g all-purpose (plain) flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp bi-carbonate soda
2 tbsp very hot water
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment.
Rub the butter into flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Heat the milk and sugar together over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
Dissolve the bi-carbonate soda in the hot water.
Add the bi-carb mixture to the milk mixture and mix it all quickly into the flour mixture until well combined.
When the dough has cooled, either roll it out to 1/2cm thick and cut out with the cookie cutters, roll into walnut-sized balls and flatten slightly with a fork or your fingers, or roll into logs and chill for 1⁄2 – 1 hour until firm and slice it.
Place on lined trays and bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden.
Allow to cool slightly on the tray and then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Daring Bakers Blog-checking lines: Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.
Download printable .pdf here.