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Christmas Cookies Simplified

Create a variety of cookies using one base receipe

  Cut-Out Cookies
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To easily make a variety of Christmas cookies, begin by using our base cookie recipe. Variations are made by (1) cutting or forming different shapes, (2) topping the cookies with different decorations, or (3) by adding just a few extra ingredients.


Base Recipe

Makes 30-50 cookies (depending on size and thickness)

1 1/2 + 1/8 cup (7oz) All-Purpose Flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) Butter (room temperature; cubed)
1/4 cup (2.5oz) Sugar
1 package Vanilla Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1 Egg

Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla sugar, and salt. Mix until well combined.

Add the egg and butter cubes. Using a fork, start working the flour into the egg and butter. Keep going until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Now, use your hands to knead the mixture into a smooth dough (until it holds together when shaped into a ball).


Variations ... Get Creative!

Here are some additional ingredients to add to change the taste and appearance of the base cookie. Get creative ... add as many or as few of these suggestions as you like ... and depending on your taste, as much or as little as you like.

Add Chocolate Shavings, Pieces, or Chips:  Choose the chocolate of your choice (white, milk, dark, semi-sweet) and knead into the dough. The dough must be at room temperature to incorporate the chocolate. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Add Melted Chocolate:  Melt 1-2 oz chocolate and work it into the dough. Depending on taste and how sweet the chocolate is, you may have to reduce the sugar of the base recipe slightly.

Add Nuts:  Choose any nut (walnut, hazelnut, almond, pistachio, pecan, etc.) or a mixture of nuts - coarsely chopped or finely ground - add a little or a lot. Knead the nuts into the dough. The dough must be at room temperature to incorporate the nuts. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. For decoration, save some whole (or sliced) nuts and top the cookies with them before baking.

Add Marzipan:  Chop 1-3 oz. marzipan into small cubes. Knead the marzipan into the dough. The dough must be at room temperature to incorporate the marzipan. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Add Fruit:  Add candied fruit (Zitronat, Orangeat), dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, dates, figs), apples, coconut, or lemon zest. Any of these will incorporate well into the room-temperature dough. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Add Spices:  Add cinnamon, all spice, cardamom, Lebkuchen seasoning, or ginger.


Shaping & Baking the Cookies

Now that you've made the perfect cookie dough, its time to shape it into cookies. Here are some ideas:
  1. Roll out the dough to the desired thickness. The cookies will not rise much when baking, so for crispy cookies roll the dough out thin (the thinner the dough the crispier the cookie). For softer cookies, roll the dough out thicker. Use cookie cutters to cut out various shapes.
  2. Form the dough into a log about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. Cut the log into slices (thinner for crispy cookies, thicker for softer cookies).
  3. Take tablespoon size dough pieces and roll them into balls. Gently flatten them with your fingers.
  4. Take tablespoon size dough pieces and shape them into special shapes, like crescants.
  5. If the dough has nuts or fruit, making it hard to roll out, you can also scoop up small amounts of cookie dough and drop them as is onto the baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 325 °F (160°C). Prepare cookies sheets by lining them with parchment paper or by greasing them with butter. Place formed cookies onto prepared pans. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes, depending on their thickness and your crispiness preference. For softer cookies, bake until they just start to brown - for crispy cookies, bake until cookies are a dark golden brown. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool completely.

At this point, you can leave the cookies as they are. They taste great with or without extra decorations. But for those who want to add a little extra Christmas touch, here are some decoration tips and ideas.
  1. Create a glaze using powdered sugar and water. For different flavors, replace the water with orange juice, lemon juice, vanilla extract, coffee, or rum. For different colors, add 1-2 drops of food coloring. Spread or drizzle the glaze onto each cookie. Before the glaze dries, you can also add extra decorations, such as nuts, raisins, dried fruits (such as Zitronat, Orangeat, dates) coconut, holiday-colored sprinkles, chocolate shavings, etc.
  2. Use chocolate as a glaze. Melt some milk or dark chocolate. Dunk each cookie into the melted chocolate. Place cookies on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to let dry. Before the chocolate dries, you can also add extra decorations, such as nuts, raisins, (such as Zitronat, Orangeat, dates), coconut, holiday-colored sprinkles, M&M's, etc.
  3. You can make cookie sandwiches. Spread some jam or melted chocolate onto the bottom of one cookie. Place the bottom of a second cookie on top of the filling and gently press together. Dust the top of the cookie sandwich with powdered sugar.

Share with Family & Friends

Christmas cookies make a great gift. Get a special cookie box or plate, add the cookies, wrap if necessary, and add a Christmas bow ... you're done! Your friends and family will love them ... because everybody enjoys homemade cookies at Christmas time.





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