Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Cookie Countdown Day 1: Tools of the Trade and Festive Shortbread Cookies

Hello! I know I have somewhat MIA in the last little while, things have been a little crazy around here trying to get ready for the craft sale (which is next week), making Christmas gifts and prepping for the Christmas Cookie Countdown! However, I have a super fantastic month planned for you, with lots of baked goods, some gifting ideas for those baked goods and some link-ups for you to share your favourites!

I thought I'd start out this year by talking about my go-to tools for all my baking adventures:
For most of my holiday baking I use my stand-mixer, but it is always good to have a sturdy bowl and a variety of wooden spoons on hand. The spatulas are great for making sure you get all the batter out of the bowl, unless you have someone who wants to lick out the bowl. A good quality whisk is a great tool for creaming butter and sugar, whipping cream, beating eggs, etc.The tool on the right is a cookie dough scoop, which I found ever so helpful last year to ensure my cookies were all roughly the same size. And if you are going to grease your trays or other bakeware then a kitchen spritzer such as this one is so handy, and parchment paper is a less greasy option! Lots of towels and cloths for cleaning up messes, and of course cute Christmasy tins to store all your delicious treats in!

There might be other tools, but these are my go to, and I realize I left out measuring spoons ans cups, but I kinda thought those were a given ;)

And on to our first recipe of the month: Festive Shortbread Cookies
Source Canadian Living Magazine, December 2006 can also be found on the website, here.

I thought we'd start out with a family friendly, simple recipe. These super cute cookies are equally tasty and come together really quickly. If you are looking for a fun family activity for this afternoon - this is it!

  
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
    Decorations:
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp vegetable oil
  • Candy-coated chocolate pieces
  • Coloured sprinkles

Directions 

1. Heat oven to 300°F (150°C).

2. In mixing bowl, whisk flour with cornstarch. In large mixing bowl and using wooden spoon, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, half at a time, to make smooth dough with no streaks.

3. On lightly floured work surface and using hands, roll dough into two 9-inch (23 cm) logs; cut each log into 9 pieces. Roll each piece into ball. Place, 2 inches (5 cm) apart, on prepared baking sheets.

4. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in centre of oven until bottoms are golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Wearing oven mitts, transfer baking sheets to rack. Let cool for 2 minutes. Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to rack and let cool completely.

5. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Pour enough water into small saucepan to come 1 inch (2.5 cm) up side. Heat on stove over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat.
Place chocolate chips and oil in heatproof bowl. Wearing oven mitts, place bowl over hot water; stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. (Be careful not to get any water in chocolate or it will clump.) Move bowl to work surface.
Dip cookies, 1 at a time, halfway into chocolate, shaking gently over bowl to remove excess. Dip into desired decorations. Set on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm and shiny, about 30 minutes.


And there you have it! Day 1 complete, be sure to check back tomorrow for another great recipe! And if you'd like to join in feel free to fill out this form. I'm still looking for squares and loaves :)


Happy Baking!
xox
 

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