Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Cookies

(speculaas and danish butter cookies)

Opps! I had completely forgotten that I had promised recipes for the next seven days....

Yesterday I was baking. Four batches of Christmas cookies and a Christmas cake. I was also battling (yes battling) with very tired children and we had my husband's Christmas party to attend. A Christmas party, I had also completely forgotten about!

To make it up to you I am posting two recipes today. Danish butter biscuits and ginger cookies.

I first made these butter cookies years ago. In fact the recipe (since adjusted) had been ripped out of a Cosmopolitan Magazine. (I have not bought that since I was 16!) I made these cookies as part of a mixed tin of Christmas cookies that I gave as gifts one year. This was the one cookie that everyone wanted the recipe for.

I have made two batches of these this year, one last week and again yesterday. I needed to add more butter to my mixture than listed in the original recipe. The recipe below has been adjusted to how I made them. The dough was a bit crumbly and I really needed to shape my dough into logs rather than roll them. However the outcome on both occasions has been successful looking and yummy tasting butter cookies.

If you make these, I would love to know how you went with your mixture. Maybe it's my flour?

Danish Butter Cookies


makes about 40 cookies

• 255 grams butter - the best you can afford (softened)

• 175 grams caster sugar

• 350 grams plain flour

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• a pinch of salt

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

• icing sugar

Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Turn onto the bench and knead for about 5 minutes until a soft workable cookie dough forms. The mixture will probably be very crumbly at first. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a log shape, about 4 cm in diameter. Wrap the dough logs in baking paper and chill for 1 hour or until required.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Grease 2 large baking trays. Cut the dough into 6 mm slices and lay onto the baking trays, 5 cm apart. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool on the trays until crisp. Transfer to a wire rack and sprinkle with icing sugar.

I have just realised that there is no icing sugar on the cookies in the photo at the start of this recipe. That is because they have been and made to be frozen and I will sprinkle them with icing sugar when I am going to serve them.

Ginger cookies. We love ginger everything in this house. So these are often cooked throughout the year. This is a soft biscuit, which I don't usually bake, but I like this recipe for a few different reasons.

First and most importantly, especially at this time of year: these are easy. Made in minutes with no rest time and just 10 minutes in the oven. Extra quick if you can find little helpers to help you roll them into balls. They are perfect for a last minute Christmas gift or to make when friends and family 'pop in' during the holiday season. I really love the spicy ginger kick to them.

Ginger Cookies

makes 40 - 50

• 125 grams unsalted butter (softened)
• 3/4 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)

• 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

• 1/4 cup ground ginger

• 2 cups plain flour

• 2 tablespoons golden syrup (mixed with 1/4 cup hot water)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Prepare baking trays. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the soda, ginger and flour with a wooden spoon. Once mixed stir in the syrup mixture, not all at once, you don't want the mixture to get to wet. Mix to form a soft dough. Roll the mixture into teaspoon size balls and place 5 cm apart on the baking trays. Lightly flatten with a fork. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool on the trays.

My speculaas recipe tomorrow - I promise!

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Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear what's happening in your kitchen. If you've tried one of my recipes, I'd like to know what you thought? Do you have some advice to make it better? Did you find a mistake? Perhaps it is a new favourite in your home?

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