Sweetness

We’re usually showcasing our client work in this space, something we produced for someone else, something we’re especially fond of. But this month we’re showcasing a different sort of work.

The beautiful thing about a home-baked cookie is that it is usually made by someone we know — a friend, co-worker or family member. We take comfort in knowing that. And while the hand-crafted treats are often fraught with imperfections (much like ourselves), we appreciate and love them simply for what they are.

When we take that first bite of sugary goodness, there is a momentary sense of connectedness to the people who made them that no soul-less, preservative-laden, store-bought variety could ever offer.

— Debbie Nielsen
Project Manager

So, without further ado, here are three of our favorite cookie recipes — using all the soul, charm and confection we can digitally spread. Merry Christmas.

Candy Cane Macaroons

Rachel De Jong via Tartelette

  • 3 egg whites (use egg whites that have been left 3-5 days in the fridge after separating)
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought chocolate buttercream
  • Crushed candy canes
Print
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam (think bubble-bath foam), gradually adding the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.

  2. Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue, giving it a quick fold to break some of the air, and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: If the top flattens on its own, you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.

  3. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mat-lined baking sheets. Let the macaroons sit out 30-60 minutes to harden their shells a bit. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 280 degrees.

  4. When ready, bake 15-20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macaroons will lift up more easily, due to the moisture. Don’t let them sit in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days, or in the freezer.

  5. Fill with chocolate buttercream and roll sides in crushed candy canes.

Embezzled

Amanda Uhl via Martha Stewart

Makes about 4 dozen.

  • 1-¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup finely ground walnuts
  • 1-½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Raw sugar, for decorating
Print
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Whisk flour, nuts, rosemary and salt in a large bowl.

  2. Put butter and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until lightened, about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until dough comes together and is smooth, about 3 minutes.

  3. Turn out dough onto parchment paper and pat into a round. Place parchment paper on top; roll into a 12-inch round, ¼-inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet; refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

  4. Cut out cookies using various sizes of heart-shape cutters (½ inch to 3 inches); transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets. (Keep same-size cookies on same sheet.) Roll scraps; cut out. Gently press raw sugar onto edges of cookies.

  5. Bake until just golden, 15-18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookie

Ashley Walton, from Baked Explorations

  • 3-¼ c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/3 c dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 c vegetable shortening
  • ½ c firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temp
  • ½ c molasses
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooked

Icing

  • 1-¼ c confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Print
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the softened butter with the shortening at medium speed until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

  2. Add the egg to the cookie batter and beat until incorporated. Beat in the molasses and then the melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture in three batches, beating between additions. Divide the dough into three equal parts. Shape each part into a disk, then wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate the cookie dough until chilled, about 2 hours.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one disk of dough ¼-inch thick. Using 4- to 5-inch cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Reroll the dough scraps and cut out more cookies. Bake the cookies for about 7 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time until the tops are dry. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.

  4. In a medium bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar with the egg white and lemon juice, and whisk until the icing is completely smooth. Scrape the icing into a piping bag fitted with a small tip. Decorate the cookies as desired. Let stand until the icing dries, about 30 minutes. Store tightly covered for three days.