Cookie Exchange Roundup Sugar Cookies with Eggnog Icing

December 19th, 2019

Cookie Exchange Roundup

The cookie exchange. A staple of the holidays…or at least…it used to be. Last year at this time I was struck with the thought that the cookie exchange might be in danger when a number of my friends mentioned they had never made Christmas cookies before. Never! Is this just what our parents and grandparents did? Am I a complete outlier? Of course, after instigating a baking night to correct this, I asked around among other millennials, and realized that maybe the cookie exchange (along with home cooking and baking in general) might be dying out in favour of purchasing baked goods.

Well, maybe it calls for a change. Imagine the joy your friends, family and office-mates will get upon receiving a little package of homemade, festive cookies. These are 3 of my favourite cookie recipes to make around the holidays, and I specifically chose them because they play well together if you want to make them all at once. They all bake at the same temperature, two of them need chilling, and two need decorating, so you can cycle through making/chilling/baking/cooling/decorating without any wait time. They’re all different in terms of flavour profile, texture, and *bonus* we get to use Farm Boy Eggnog in one of them.


Sugar Cookies with Eggnog Icing

These sugar cookies come together quickly in a food processor, barely need any chilling time, and are extremely versatile – decorate them, use them as the base for Windowpane Cookies, dip them into melted dark chocolate, or fill them with lemon zest & poppyseeds. For the holidays. We’re frosting them with a thick, spiced cream cheese and eggnog icing and sprinkling with cinnamon. 

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For the Cookies: 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (225 grams) salted or unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) almond extract

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350•F
  • Make the dough: Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Cut cold butter into small cubes and add to dry ingredients. Run the machine, scraping down if necessary, until the butter fully disappears into the flour mixture. You may have to use a spatula to push mixture up from the bottom. Add the egg and vanilla and run the machine until it blends into an even, smooth dough, scraping down a few more times.
  • Shape: Squeeze any rogue pieces of dough together into a cohesive ball. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, use a rolling pin to roll out both sections of dough to about ¼” thickness. 
  • Chill: Put the sheets of dough (still in between paper) onto baking trays and put in the freezer for 10 minutes. When dough has chilled, use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes. 
  • Bake: Place cookies on parchment paper-lined baking sheets (use what you’ve already been using!) and bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are barely golden. Let cookies set on tray for 1-2 minutes, then move to cooling racks to cool for 20 minutes before icing. 

For the Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Farm Boy Organic Eggnog
  • (Optional) cinnamon

Instructions:

  • With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until fluffy and incorporated.
  • Add sugar, in increments, beating until well incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl.
  • Add eggnog, one tablespoon at a time, still whisking.
  • If mixture seems too thin, add more sugar, if it seems too thick, add a little more eggnog until it’s at a spreadable but not runny consistency.
  • Wait until cookies cool, then use a small offset spatula or butter knife to spread icing on the cookies. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired!

 


Soft Ginger Spice Cookies 

Of all 3 recipes, this is the dough that you really need to chill so the brown sugar doesn’t overheat and burn and the cookies don’t spread. I made these with Farm Boy Organic Whole Grain Buckwheat Flour for a little extra heartiness and to coincidentally make them gluten free (although please note that there is always the chance of gluten cross contamination with this product). They are chewy and soft and absolutely irresistible. I always amp up the spices I’m using to make sure the cookies aren’t bland. 

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 ½ cups butter, softened to room temperature 
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200g) packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup fancy grade molasses (not blackstrap!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cups (635 grams) Organic Whole Grain Buckwheat Flour 
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions: 

  • Dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Set aside.
  • Wet ingredients: Using a separate mixing bowl, either with a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together the softened butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until the mixture is light, fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides occasionally as needed. Mix in the eggs (one at a time) and molasses, and beat on medium speed until  combined. 
  • Add in the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredient mixture in increments and beat until it is evenly incorporated.
  • Chill: Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 
  • Prepare: Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Cover a plate with granulated sugar. Roll the dough into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Roll each ball in the sugar until it is completely coated. 
  • Bake: Place dough balls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until the cookies begin to slightly crack on top. Remove from the oven and let set for 4-5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

 Chocolate Caramel Pecan Thumbprints

I don’t want to pick favourites, but I think I’ve left the best for last. Decadent, brownie-like cookies with a sticky caramel centre, I love to add a pinch of flaky sea salt at the end. These are a family and friend favourite and always disappear first off the cookie tray. We hope you love them! If you’re not a fan of caramel, we have also filled these cookies with raspberry jam with excellent results.

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For the Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter 1 stick
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans , finely chopped

Instructions:

  • Combine flour, cocoa and salt mixing bowl. In the bowl of your food processor, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolk, milk and vanilla.  Pulse in flour mixture, just until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for one hour.
  • Whisk egg white in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another shallow bowl. Remove dough from fridge and roll into small balls. The size is up to you, mine are about 3/4″ in diameter.
  • Roll each dough ball in the frothy egg whites, and then roll and press in the chopped pecans. The balls should be fully coated. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Use the back of a small measuring spoon (or your finger!) to make an indentation in the centre of each ball.
  • Bake at 350 Degrees F for about 10-12 minutes, or just until set. Don’t over-bake as cookies will harden as they cool.
  • As the cookies come out of the oven, gently re-press the indentations with a small spoon. Let set on tray for 5 minutes, then move to cooling rack to fully cool.

For the Caramel

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup caramels, melted
  • 1 teaspoon heavy cream

Instructions:

  • In a small saucepan over low heat, melt caramels with cream, stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth.
  • Spoon caramel into the indents in the cookies, and allow to cool.

For the Chocolate Drizzle

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, melt chocolate.
  • Pour melted chocolate into a piping bag and cut a very small hole in the tip.
  • Drizzle cookies with chocolate quickly into a striped pattern, and allow to cool. Sprinkle with a pinch of flaky salt if you want some salty-sweet contrast. Enjoy!

Emily

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