What’s Trending Wednesday: Holiday Cookies

‘Tis the season for cookie exchanges, resulting in an abundance of incredible treats.

If you’re getting ready for your next office Christmas party, family get-together or you’re just looking for a reason to make mass amounts of cookies to share (or not…we’re not judging), we’re sharing three festive cookie ideas!

Christmas Tree Cookie Stacks

Ingredients:

Cookies

  • 3/4 c. Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. Almond extract
  • 2 1/4 c. All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Frosting

  • 1 c. Butter
  • 4 c. Powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbsp. Water or milk
  • Green gel icing color
  • 2-3 tbsp. Red and white pearl sprinkles
  • 16-18 yellow star sprinkles

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 350º and line two cookie sheets with parchment.

2.Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla and almond extracts. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Dough will be thick.

3.Make three sizes of cookie dough balls: 1 teaspoon, 2 teaspoons, and 3 teaspoons. (you should have an even number of each.) Place medium and large cookies on a cookie sheet and press down slightly on each. Bake until center looks mostly cooked, 7 to 8 minutes. Place smallest balls of dough on another cookie sheet and press down slightly. Bake until center looks mostly cooked, 5 to 6 minutes. When cookies are done, remove from oven and let cool 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a cookie rack to finish cooling.

4.Make frosting: beat butter until smooth. Add half the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add vanilla and 2 tablespoons water and mix until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add green gel icing color to frosting and mix until your desired shade of green.

5.Assemble cookies: get one size of each cookie. Fit a piping bag with a medium sized star piping tip and fill bag with green frosting.

6.Pipe a swirl of frosting onto the largest cookie, then add the second medium sized cookie on top. Pipe a swirl of frosting onto the second cookie, then top with the smallest cookie. Pipe a swirl on top of the final cookie and decorate with a star and round ornament sprinkles. Continue building cookie trees, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

For more information on this recipe, click here.

Passionfruit Snowballs

Ingredients:

  • 10 passionfruits
  • 2¼ c. Castor (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Glucose syrup
  • 1½ tbsp. Powdered gelatin
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Shredded coconut

Directions:

1.Lightly spray four 12-hole round-based gem irons, 1 fluid ounce silicon baking molds or 1 fluid ounce mini muffin pans with oil. Scoop the passionfruit pulp into a sieve set over a shallow microwave-safe bowl to catch the juice. Discard the seeds. You will need fluid ounces of juice for this recipe. If you do not have quite enough juice, make up the difference with water.

2.Combine 2 cups of the sugar, the glucose and 3/4 cup water in a small, deep heavy-based saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and simmer, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 250 degrees f on a sugar thermometer (hard-ball stage). Watch it carefully, as the syrup has a tendency to bubble up.

3.Meanwhile, slowly sprinkle the gelatin over the passionfruit juice and set aside for 5 minutes. Heat in the microwave for 30–45 seconds on high (100 percent), or until the gelatin has dissolved.

4.When the sugar syrup reaches 234 degrees f, whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on medium speed. When frothy, increase the speed to medium–high and gradually add the remaining sugar, whisking until thick and glossy. Keep the mixer running on medium speed.

5.When the sugar syrup reaches 250 degrees f, turn off the heat. When the bubbles subside, carefully add the gelatin mixture – take care, as the syrup may bubble up.

6.Increase the mixer speed to medium–high and gradually pour the hot syrup mixture down the inside of the bowl in a thin, steady stream. Increase the speed to high and continue whisking until the mixture is very thick and holds its shape, about 8–10 minutes, depending on your mixer. The outside of the bowl should almost be at room temperature.

7.Spoon or pipe the marshmallow mixture into the oiled molds, ensuring the surface of each is flat. Stand for 2–3 hours, until firm but sticky.

8.Slide 2 marshmallows out of their molds and sandwich together. They should be sticky enough to join together securely. Repeat with the remaining marshmallows, then roll in the coconut to cover completely.

For more information on this recipe, click here.

Pistachio Cherry Meltaway Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • (optional) green food coloring
  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped finely

Directions:

  1. With a stand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, pudding mix, and flour. Mix until combined. The mixture may seem dry at first but will come together after beating.
  2. Add the almond extract and green food coloring if you want the cookies with a brighter green color.
  3. Finely chop the maraschino cherries. Using a paper towel pat the cherries removing all of the juice and excess liquid. You want to make sure you dry all of the red juice or you may turn your cookies a not so pretty color. Gently mix in the chopped cherries.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes or until firm.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    Take a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place cookie on the cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet. Once completely cooled sprinkle cookies with additional powdered sugar.

For more information on this recipe, click here.

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