Hi friends! Happy Christmas Eve! I know it has been a long time since I’ve blogged. Ten months. After giving my blog a small makeover at the beginning of February, everything came to a screeching halt within the same month. I didn’t intend to step away from blogging, but it became necessary. This year had several rough patches for me so I (reluctantly) gave myself permission to let my blog go dormant. I found myself struggling with anxiety and overwhelm–not only regarding my blog, but about several other Life Things. It was next to impossible to feel creative when I didn’t feel my best. So I used these past ten months to take care of myself and recalibrate. I started exercising regularly. I read for pleasure. We traveled. I joined a women’s club at our church that is active in the local community. All these activities have done wonders for my mental and physical well-being and have re-ignited my creative energy. It makes me so happy to be back in my space writing again, especially before the year comes to a close. You know what is also making me happy? Smitten Kitchen’s bakery style butter cookies. Just look how festive they are!
I first came across Smitten Kitchen’s bakery style butter cookies after I bought Deb Perelman’s latest cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day. When I was deciding what cookies to make for my annual Christmas cookie gift tins, I knew I wanted to include these because they’re easy to make (no chilling the dough!), festive (melted chocolate and colorful sprinkles!), and absolutely delicious (all butter!). Obviously, you can’t go wrong. I believe that any cookie can be a Christmas cookie, but I also believe that a well-executed cookie gift tin or cookie tray must include variety and interest. It’s Christmas after all–the most festive time of year! To me, this means variety in flavors, textures, shapes, and colors. Smitten Kitchen’s bakery style butter cookies were a hit in this year’s gift tins and I’m planning on keeping them in my rotation. I love the delicately crisp-tender texture of an all-butter cookie, the richness of the dark chocolate, and the cheerful sprinkles that brings out the joyful kid in all of us at Christmas time.
You will need a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to make this dough because it is thick and somewhat sticky, but it comes together quickly and easily with ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. You can enrich the flavor of the dough even more with freshly grated lemon zest and a small splash of almond extract (a little goes a long way). If you are a pro with a cookie press (I am not), you could use one to press out cookies into different shapes. Since I wanted a larger cookie, I used a heavy duty plastic piping bag fitted with a large star tip which worked perfectly. Bear in mind that the dough is on the dense side so you will need some muscle (my new exercise routine is paying off!) and some patience to pipe it out. I found that heating my (always cold) hands under very warm water helped warm the dough in the piping bag just enough to get it to slide out smoothly.
The shape you pipe is up to your imagination. I love the oval shape, but you could also pipe the dough into a round or a star. Experiment to see what you like best, and if you don’t like the shape you pipe out, all you have to do is put the dough back into the piping bag and try again! As they bake, your kitchen will quickly start to smell just like an Italian-American bakery and you will soon have a batch of cookies that will be the star of your Christmas cookie tray. I’m pretty sure that Smitten Kitchen’s bakery style butter cookies will make it onto your cookie-baking rotation, too.
I will be back in January with new recipes. Thank you for joining me here again to read my posts and for connecting with me on social media. If you are new here, benvenuti! And remember, if you make any of my recipes, be sure to use the hashtag #Flavias_Flavors so I can see what you are making. Happy cooking and buon appetito!
Buon Natale e Buon Anno a tutti!Print
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman
1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
⅔ cup (135 grams) granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1 10-ounce (283 grams) bag dark chocolate melting wafers (such as Ghirardelli)
1 cup “jimmies” sprinkles, or chopped nuts, or shredded coconut
- Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lline 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Reduce the speed to low and add in the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt and mix to incorporate. Scrape down the bowl and the paddle attachment.
- Add in all of the flour and mix over low speed until all of the flour has been incorporated, scraping down the paddle attachment and the bowl as necessary.
- Fit a large piping bag with a large star tip.
- Transfer the dough into the piping bag and pipe the dough into the shape of your choice. Depending on the size of your piping bag, you may need to add the dough to the bag in batches. Take care not to make the cookies too large–keep them to a maximum length of 2 inches (5 cm) if you are making oval/oblong shaped cookies. Space the cookies 1 inch (3 cm) apart on the baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes, or until they are pale golden at the edges. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking.
- Cool the cookies completely on the baking sheets set onto cooling racks. Once cooled, you can store them in a container or a disposable aluminum cake pan covered lightly with aluminum foil.
- To decorate: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate melting wafers according to the package directions.
- Dip half of every cookie into the chocolate, letting the excess drip off. Pour the toppings of your choice over the chocolate while it is still wet.
- Carefully place the decorated cookies on the parchment-lined baking sheet and allow the chocolate to set completely before plating or storing the cookies (it will go from shiny to opaque).
- A stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment is essential for making the dough for these cookies, as it is thick and dense.
- Use a large piping bag and the largest star tip you can find (I used size 1M) so that the dough slides out easily.
- Run your hands under very warm water to help warm the dough in the piping bag just enough to slide out easily.
- You may want to use a sharp paring knife or scissors to cut the dough away from the piping bag as you press out dough since it is sticky and may not break off easily on its own.
- The cookies will keep for 1 week stored in a covered container or tin.