Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas Cookies. Day One.

Let me start by saying I mixed the doughs for all the cookies that I baked today two weeks ago. I put all the dough in the freezer. Even the dough for the Snowballs. Not sure I would freeze that dough again.
The Snowballs (aka Rolly Poollys, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes) are traditionally the first cookie I bake every Christmas. Why? They were the first cookie my Mom baked every Christmas. This year I decided to freeze the dough. The jury is still out on the taste but I thought they took longer to bake and a couple of them lost their shape while baking. I know I am nitpicking but I also know what the cookie should bake like.

Snowballs (makes 36 cookies)

1 c. Butter
1/2 c. Sifted Confectionary Sugar
1/2 c. Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 c. Chopped Walnuts

Preheat oven to 400˚.
Combine butter and sugar.
Mix in all ingredient for cookies.
Roll dough into small balls.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.

Coat cookies right out of the oven with additional Confectionary Sugar.

The Striped Cookie recipe is from a Martha Stewart magazine dating back to the early 90s. This is my husband's favorite cookie. You make a vanilla dough and then a chocolate dough. You can shape them in bars for the striped cookies or in bullseyes. I did both but for the bullseyes, I made the dough into square.. I think they look pretty cool!
The original recipe called for the dough to be mixed together and then divided and that just got too messy. I mix the doughs separately. I tried to find a link to the original recipe but could not.
The Vanilla Dough -
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 c. Confectionary Sugar
3 3/4 c. bread flour 

The Chocolate Dough-
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 c. Confectionary Sugar
3 3/4 c. bread flour

Place butter, vanilla, sugar, and flour in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until well combined.

For the Chocolate Dough add 1/3 cup of Dutch-process Cocoa Powder to the ingredients and mix.

Now for constructing the cookies-
1. Divide both doughs into 4 equal pieces. Place each piece between two 12x14 inch pieces of parchment. Roll into 3 1/2x12 inch rectangles. Transfer to baking sheet; chill 30 minutes. Repeat process with all the chocolate and vanilla dough.

2. Remove the top piece of parchment from all the rectangles. Using the bottom piece for support, invert one vanilla rectangle onto a chocolate one; remove parchment. Repeat, for a total of four layers. Wrap. Make a second brick with remaining four rectangles. Chill at least 1 hour.

3. Heat oven to 375˚. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Unwrap bricks; trim evenly by 1/8 inch. Slice into 1/4 inch thick rectangles; place on baking sheets spaced 2 inches apart.

4. Bake until barely golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Bake or freeze remaining dough.

This year's new recipe is the Orange Cranberry Shortbread. Wow. New favorite cookie. Loved the smell of these in the oven. The recipe is from Mom On Time Out blog. Here is the link.

Next week I will make the rainbow cookies and maybe one or two more recipes.

About dinner. All this baking and we still have to eat dinner. Picked an easy recipe for tonight. Yes, ordering pizza would have been easier. We had Chicken Cutlets and Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe.

First, the oven was preheated to 350˚. The Chicken Cutlets were added to a bowl of beaten eggs, chopped parsley, Parmesan Cheese. Next, the cutlets were then dredged in a mixture of breadcrumbs (I used 1/2 plain and 1/2 plain Panko), flour, Parmesan Cheese, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. I placed the cutlets on a baking sheet, covered with parchment, and drizzled olive oil over both sides of the chicken. The temperature of the oven was raised to 450˚.  They baked for about 20 minutes until the underside started to get toasted. The cutlets were flipped and baked for about 5 more minutes.

The chicken was moist and the breading was crisp.

The Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe was a nice side after the Christmas Party Carb overload from last night. The squash was split. PLEASE be careful if you try this at home. The seeds were scooped out and discarded. Yes I know I could have roasted them but I had a lot going on already. I put the squash in a roasting pan, cut side down and put about an inch of water in the pan. The squash was roasted at 375˚ for about an hour. Using a fork I pulled the squash away from the shell.

I heated up butter in a saute pan. The cooked squash was added to the pan, along with the zest of 1/2 a lemon, chopped thyme,  and ½ cup Parmesan, stirring to combine, until squash is heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in pepper and season with salt. Serve topped with more Parmesan.

No comments: