Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Three for the Price of One

While I love summer and I would never wish a day of my life away, I wouldn't mind it if we could celebrate Christmas more than just once a year. Christmas is full of happiness, spending time with family and friends, sharing love, and eating goodies until you are full to the brim. 
Since Christmas isn't coming for just under five more months, I've decided that I needed to spend a little time developing a few new cookie recipes to share with my loved ones. You know, just to taste test everything so I would know if my baking would be up to snuff for the big day. 

But once I got out my flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, I looked outside and realized that I didn't want to be inside by my oven for the entire afternoon. It was just too beautiful out. So my game plan changed and I used one basic recipe for Snickerdoodles and made it into three different types of cookies. 

You're going to love how this recipe is so versatile; you can make just one big batch of cookie dough and split it into three to bake a unique plate of cookies. It's going to help you to have so much more time Christmas!

Snickerdoodles - makes 3-4 dozen cookies

1 cup of butter, softened 
1 cup + 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper for baking. 

2. Cream the butter and 1 cup of sugar until fluffy. 

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and stir in the almond extract. 

4. Add in the flour and salt and stir to combine. 

5. Combine the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl and take teaspoon sized amounts of cookie dough and roll it into the sugar and spices. Place each sugar and spice rolled dough ball on your cookie sheet and flatten with your palm.

6. Bake for about 12 - 14 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies begin to brown slightly.

7. Let the Snickerdoodles cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Sugar Plum Cookies - makes 1 1/2 -2 dozen cookies

1 recipe of Snickerdoodles, baked
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups chopped plum, peels removed
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. As soon as the Snickerdoodles come out of the oven, dust the tops of half of the cookies with powdered sugar. These will be the tops of your Sugar Plum Cookies.

2. While your cookies are cooling, make your plum jam filling. Cook plums and lemon juice in a medium large pot at medium heat for about five minutes. Stir in sugar and cook another 15-20 minutes, until your jam looks like the consistency of honey. Allow it to cool slightly.

3. Sandwich your cookies. Take one of the Snickerdoodles without powdered sugar and spread on some tart plum jam on the bottom of it. Top with a powdered sugar covered Snickerdoodle, making the bottom of both Snickerdoodles touch in the centre. Repeat until all cookies are filled and enjoy!

Partridge in a Pear Tree Cookies - makes 2-3 dozen cookies

1 recipe Snickerdoodles, unbaked and not rolled in spiced sugar mixture
1/2 cup of grated coconut
4 pears, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest

1. Prepare your pear filling. Combine pears and sugar in a medium pot on your stove at medium heat. Stir to mix and cook with the lid covered until the fruit is soft, about 8-12 minutes. Stir in the flour, lemon zest, and cinnamon and set aside.

2. When you have your Snickerdoodle dough prepared, instead of rolling the balls in sugar and spices, roll them in grated coconut. Place each coconut rolled ball of dough on your cookie sheet and push your thumb into the centre of each to form an indent. Fill the indents with 1 - 2 teaspoons of the pear filling.

3. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies begin to brown slightly.

4. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

I am loving the idea of trying to bake the Twelve Days of Christmas this year. I have an idea for Turtle Doves and Swans a Swimming Treats and there are plenty of options for Golden Rings and Maids a Milking desserts, but the other seven days might keep me thinking. 
Luckily there are almost five months for me to work on this idea!

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