Holiday Cookie Baking – Day 2

I had planned to post this last evening for Day 2 of the Holiday Cookie Blog, but it got too late to do that and attend the neighborhood party, so you would know which one won out. Tis the season…

Anyway, yesterday I made two different types of rolled cookies. They are very festive and fun. Perfect for cookie gift giving.

The first dough I made was actually an old favorite from a Pillsbury cookbook. It is a little different from the Holiday Cookie dough from America’s Test Kitchen. It has a standard mixing method (creaming the wet ingredients and then adding flour). It also has almond extract for a contrast in flavor to the other cookie. It needed to chill for 2 hours, so I worked on the next cookie while it was in the fridge. Once the dough was ready, I used traditional holiday cookie cutters and then decorated with icing, sprinkles and sugar. They are really buttery and not too sweet. The addition of cream cheese makes them extra light and flaky.

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies


1 cup sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened (butter, of course!)
3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened (use Philly cream cheese)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract (pure, not imitation)
1/2 tsp. vanilla (I prefer Nielsen-Massey)
1 egg yolk, reserve white (I used a large egg)
2 cups all purpose flour

In large bowl, combine sugar, butter, cream cheese, salt, almond extract, vanilla and egg yolk; blend well. Stir in flour until well blended. Refrigerate dough 2 hours (I kneaded the dough into a ball and wrapped in plastic).

Heat oven to 375 degrees. On lightly floured surface, roll dough out one-third at a time to 1/8 inch thickness. (Be sure to keep the remaining dough in the fridge until you need it.) Cut into desired shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Leave cookie plain or if desired, brush with slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely. I frosted them and then decorated the cookies. Here is the frosting recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

Glaze for Holiday Cookies

Makes enough for 3 dozen cookies

3 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Whisk 2 tablespoons of the milk and the cream cheese together until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and whisk until smooth, adding the remaining milk as needed until the glaze is thin enough to spread easily. You can divide the glaze among separate bowls and add food colorings as desired (I used Wilton icing colors).

The second cookie was Jam Sandwiches. It is made with the Holiday Cookie dough (America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook) and a reduced raspberry jam. Wow! It really is a pretty cookie and is delicious. The top half is sprinkled with turbinado sugar prior to baking to give it a sugary crust. When prepared this way you would not know that the basic dough is the same as the Lime-Glazed Coconut Snowballs. It was very different. So far, they are all very different in taste and texture and will be great to give as gifts.

Jam Sandwiches

Makes about 30 cookies. Published November 1, 2003.

If you cannot find superfine sugar, you can obtain a close approximation by processing regular granulated sugar in a food processor for about 20 seconds.

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup superfine sugar , (5 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into sixteen 1/2-inch pieces, at cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese , at room temperature
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, Demerera, or white decorating sugar (I used turbinado)
1 1/4 cups raspberry jam (12 ounces), strained, simmered until reduced to 1 cup, and cooled to room temperature

1. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, mix flour, sugar, and salt on low-speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.

2. Remove bowl from mixer; knead dough by hand in bowl for 2 to 3 turns to form large cohesive mass. Turn out dough onto countertop; divide in half, pat into two 4-inch disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 weeks; defrost in refrigerator before using.)

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out 1 dough disk to even 1/8-inch thickness between 2 large sheets parchment paper; slide rolled dough on parchment onto baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat with second disk.

4. Using 2-inch fluted round cookie cutter, cut rounds from one piece of dough and bake on parchment-lined baking sheet in 375-degree oven until light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Sprinkle second piece of rolled dough evenly with sugar.

6. Using a 2-inch fluted round cookie cutter, cut out rounds of sugar-sprinkled dough and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Using 3/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out centers of rounds and bake until light golden brown, about 8 minutes.

7. When cookies have cooled, spread 1 teaspoon jam on solid cookies, then place cut-out cookies on top. Let filled cookies stand until set, about 30 minutes.

One more day of baking to go…I hope you will try one or several of these recipes. I have tried many cookie recipes over the years and can assure you that these are foolproof and will really impress your guests or those that receive them as gifts. Lots of love and time goes into baking and family and friends are certainly appreciative of your efforts and creativity. Happy baking!

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