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Holiday Cookies

May 6, 2010

What?  It’s not the holidays?  Oh, well…um I’m planning ahead!  Yeah that’s it!

I like to make sure our cookie jar always has cookies in it.  I also like to mix it up and have different cookies each time…actually, since we’ve moved I’ve made about 5 different batches and haven’t repeated cookies yet.  Not to so that I won’t ever repeat, but I’m trying for a good variety.

I was looking for something fairly simple and quick.  I got simple, and, although it didn’t take forever, there is some “wait time” for the dough to rest and get firm and all that.

Serves: (makes about 3 dozen cookies) at 1 cookie, makes 36 servings

Weight Watcher Points: 2 per cookie

Ingredients:

20100430 0402 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour

3/4 cup Superfine Sugar

1/4 tsp Salt

16 TBS (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and softened

2 TBS cream cheese, softened

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Tools:

20100430 041Okay, you need more than in the picture, but really not much more

Whisk

Large Bowl

Cookie sheets

Parchment Paper

Rolling Pin

Cookie cutters or butter knife (I don’t have cookie cutters…maybe someday)

Cooling Rack

Directions:

First, if you don’t have Superfine Sugar, don’t panic, you can make some.  Just pour a cup of regular sugar into a food processor and turn on for 30 seconds to 1 minute:    20100430 03220100430 037

There you have it!  Superfine sugar!

Now, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl.  I typically use a salt grinder with sea salt, I learned after this recipe that I should have used regular table salt.  The salt doesn’t dissolve and spread through the mixture and you end up with literal chunks of salt…don’t repeat my mistake.

20100430 04220100430 04320100430 04520100430 047Now, beat the butter into the flour mixture ONE PIECE AT A TIME.  If you don’t have a mixer know that I am extremely jealous of you right about now.  If you don’t have a mixer, know that you are not alone.  So, use your whisk to beat in the butter: 

20100430 048 I learned that it’s actually much better if you use a firm up and down, almost chopping, motion with the whisk to really get that butter broken up and mixed into the flour mixture.  Do this until all the butter is in and the mixture looks a little crumbly and is slightly wet:

20100430 051 Beat in the cream cheese and vanilla:

20100430 052 20100430 053 20100430 054 Keep beating until large lumps begin to form and it looks something like this:

20100430 056 While in the bowl still, knead the dough until it forms a large cohesive mass.  Basically, you are pressing together all those large lumps:

20100430 058 Turn it out onto a clean counter (really, do recipes have to say this?  I mean, are you going to put it out on a dirty counter?):

20100430 059 Then cut it into two equal portions and form those pieces into 2 discs about 4-inches in diameter:

20100430 060  Wrap each of those discs separately in plastic wrap then put in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes until it gets firm:

20100430 06220100430 063 While you wait, clean up your mess!  I mean, really!  Dirty countertops and everything!

Oh, and preheat your oven to 375 and put the rack in the middle of the oven.

Line your cookie sheet (or sheets, I have multiple and like to have them ready to go) with parchment paper.  I don’t typically use parchment paper, but this time I did and I think it was a wise move.  I don’t know for sure, but something inside me said they might stick if I didn’t.

Now, take out ONE disc of dough (no need to take out both, let the other remain cold.  It’s easier to work with) and place it on a piece of parchment on the counter:

20100430 064 Cover it with another piece of parchment (another important thing because it will STICK to the rolling pin.  I don’t know from experience, but I can imagine with the stickiness of this dough):

20100430 065 Roll the dough with a rolling pin:

20100430 066 Flatten that sucker to about 1/8 of an inch thickness

20100430 067 20100430 068 Now, if you have cookie cutters, use those.  I don’t have cookie cutters but that doesn’t stop me!  I used a butter knife and cut the dough into squares:

20100430 069 20100430 070 If you use cookie cutters, know that the dough really should only be rolled out TWICE: roll the first time then, pile and press the scraps together, re-refrigerate, and roll out one last time, cut the shapes again and any scraps?  Well, eat ‘em I guess.  The multiple rolling overworks the dough.

Okay, after your shapes are cut, spread them onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet about an inch apart.  They don’t really spread too much, so closer is okay. 

Bake for about 10 minutes until light golden brown. 

20100430 071 While they are baking, start the next batch so it’s ready to go in when the first batch comes out.

When done, take the sheet out of the oven and let cool on the sheet for about 2 minutes.  Then, transfer to a cooling rack for about 30 minutes…or, if you’re like me, until they are cool to the touch.

20100430 072 Why?  Oh, glad you asked.  I only have ONE cooling rack and with another batch coming out I have to make room!  Quickly!  Someday I will buy myself at least one more cooling rack, until then, I make it work.

Oh, another way to make room on the cooling rack is to hand out cookies to the husband and stepson who are anxiously waiting to taste-test…and you should probably taste one as well…you know, to prove to them that you didn’t poison them!

My comments:

This recipe?  Delicious!  Soft, chewy, and oh so good!  You can put some frosting or a simple glaze on them, but they are just as tasty on their own.

My stepson loved them, my husband devoured them, and I have definitely enjoyed my share.

I’m not sure why these are called Holiday Cookies because I can sure enjoy them just about anytime of the year.  What’s your favorite Holiday type cookie? (Don’t ignore this question.  It might just be me fishing for cookie recipes to look up for you come holiday season!)

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