Sunday, January 27, 2013

Christmas Swirl Cookies

Friends, I am proud to deliver yet another Christmas cookie post that frankly should have been added to my blog a month ago. (I know what you're thinking. "Wow thanks Marisa...it's not like this would have been helpful during the actual season of Christmas." Go on. Admit it). No worries, I completely agree with you. All I can say is, my blogging tends to fall by the wayside during holidays, and this year was no exception. For those of you who have been reading my blog for the past couple of years, you may remember my attempt to do the 12 Days of Treats in December of 2010. Not the greatest idea I've ever had, especially considering I was 9 months pregnant with my first child at the time. However, I digress.

I found this cookie recipe on Pinterest, and I decided it looked far too tasty and pretty for me not to give it a try. Well, pretty and tasty it was, but painless it was not. I would advise against attempting this recipe if you:
a) Don't have a few hours set aside for holiday baking
b) Don't have a lot of counter space (I do not, and it made this recipe all the more frustrating)
c) Have small children who are fascinated by holiday sprinkles and attempt to grab them off the counter and throw them on the floor. Not like I would know anything about that...

What I will say is that these cookies were worth the hassle. They were delicious (they tasted kind of like an English shortbread cookie), they were very pretty and festive, and they didn't last long in my house, not with Will and our friends snitching cookies every time they walked in the kitchen. If I'm feeling brave enough to trash my kitchen  make these cookies next year, they will be a great addition to the Christmas cookie platters I like to hand out as gifts.
Source: Our Italian Kitchen

Ingredients:

2 cups flour, plus possibly a few more tbsp (the original recipe called for cake flour, but I just used regular old all-purpose flour since I was all out of a softasilk)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup unsifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (cut in chunks)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp of food coloring of your choice(and/or 1/2 tsp of any desired extra extracts)
1 1/2 cup holiday sprinkles


Directions:

1. In a stand mixer, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugars with paddle on medium until well blended.
2. Add butter in, gradually, and continue mixing. Add in vanilla extract. At this point, your dough will form a ball on your paddle.
First I cut the butter up like so:
Then I blended the mixture until it looked like this: 
 This is how it will look after you add the vanilla extract:
3. Remove all your dough and divide into two equal parts. Return one portion back in to the mixer and add the food coloring and any extra extracts. I made two batches, one with red food coloring and the other with green. I also used almond extract in the colored batch. When you add the food coloring to the second batch, make sure you add 2-3 extra tablespoons of flour, otherwise the mixture will be too moist.

4. Roll out each portions of your dough, between two sheets a wax paper until is reaches about 11 x 9 inches and is 1/4 inch thick. Slide both unto a cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
 5. When firm, remove the top sheets of wax paper from both.
6. Brush the uncolored vanilla dough lightly with water using a pastry brush. Then flip the colored dough onto the vanilla uncolored dough so they are stacked atop each other and even. Press the edges lightly with your fingertips to seal them together. Using a small pairing knife, trim the edges of the dough to make straight, even lines.

7. Pour out sprinkles onto a large platter and set aside.
8. Be sure your dough is still cold, but flexible. Once it's ready, begin rolling the long side of dough into a swirl, jelly-roll style. Now, don't get nervous if the outer layer of uncolored dough tears a bit. It's no problem, just pinch and pat those tears and voila, then just keep rolling.(This is the part that I really struggled with. The uncolored dough did NOT want to work with me, and I got frustrated very quickly). 
9. Now gently lift your dough log onto the sprinkles and roll away. Cover the log completely with your sprinkles. 
10. Wrap the colorfully decorated log in plastic wrap twice. Depending on when you want to bake the cookies, either place the wrapped dough into refrigerator for about 3-4 hours or you can put it the freezer and keep it there for up to 2 months. (If freezing, give yourself time for the dough to defrost in the fridge overnight before cutting.)

11. Slice your dough into 1/4-1/8 inch slices and bake on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes until edges are slightly golden.
12. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move them to a cookie rack to finish cooling. 

4 comments:

  1. They are beautiful! We will have to give them a whirl-I mean swirl-next year!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Those are lovely and so yummy looking!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Monica (and thanks for reading!). :) Mom, I agree, these will be a great cookie-baking project next December.

    ReplyDelete
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