Saturday, December 17, 2022

Christmas Cookies as Improv

A long time ago here, we made Christmas cookies from one of those magazine articles that use one dough and many variations. This particular one was based on the book One Dough, Fifty Cookies, by Leslie Glover Pendleton; but you can find other kinds of dough-with-variations in cookbooks and online.

This year, having a small number of people to make cookies for, I decided we would revive the Master Dough, though without the very fancy variations given in the magazine. Crissy and Elizabeth got their fancy aprons on to help us.

Mr. Fixit, who likes gadgets, got out the hand mixer and mixed the dough. Actually the stand mixer would have been a better idea, as it wasn't really strong enough and he had to finish mixing it by hand.  What goes into this particular recipe? One pound unsalted butter; 1 1/3 cup sugar; 1 tsp. salt; 3 egg yolks; 2 tsp, vanilla; 4 3/4 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour.

We happened to have a box of red and green holiday Rice Krispies (gift from daughter), so I worked two cupfuls of those into a quarter of the dough, and pressed it into an 8 inch pan to make bar cookies. I stuck them in the oven to bake at 350 degrees, but I don't think I gave them quite long enough, because the middle ones ended up underdone. If I were doing this again, I'd leave the bar cookies until the end and then they could have all the time they needed. Later I drizzled the survivors with a bit of powdered sugar glaze.

To one-quarter of the dough, we added half a cup of hot chocolate mix and a cupful of mini chocolate chips, plus a bit of extra water to moisten it. We rolled those into balls, but did not flatten them; they flattened a bit in the oven (375 degrees). They also got a bit of glaze, but that was probably unnecessary as I decided afterwards to dress them up a little more with a squirt of white icing and a few sprinkles.

The rest of the dough was rolled into balls, and we made thumbprints (actually end-of-a-cake-server prints) in each one (and baked them at 375 degrees). Some of them were filled with jam before baking, which you have to be careful with as it can leak over, but this time around we had no problems. We filled the hole in a few of them with sprinkles, which turned out not to look too great, so when they came out of the oven I pressed a green chocolate-covered candy (you know which ones) in the middle, and they went on the plate for the glaze drizzle as well. (I did all the glazing at once.)

And some of them got a peppermint Hershey's Kiss, which turned out WEIRD and NOT GOOD, like something from Cake Wrecks. I'd made Kiss cookies before, but I couldn't remember whether we'd put them on the cookies before or after baking. Suggestion: don't do what Elizabeth did here. Let them bake plain, squirt some icing on top, and add the Kisses after baking (we replaced the burned Kisses with unbaked ones). We also happened to have snowflake dragees from Bulk Barn, so I pressed a few of those into the icing. Yay for last-minute rescues.

And that's it! Just enough cookies and variety to keep us going over the holidays.


Terra said...

I had not heard of the one dough that you can make many different types of Christmas cookies with. How clever and time saving. That is good you did a rescue for the Hershey kisses.

Mama Squirrel said...

We just improvised, pretty much! This dough does not seem to keep quite as well as a regular shortbread, so it's probably better to make these closer to when you need them (although you can probably freeze them too).