>> Sunday, December 02, 2007

So I finally started my cookie baking for the Christmas open house. Its going along pretty well. A few glitches here and there but for the most part successful. One issue is, I have one of those side by side refrigerator and freezers, and the freezer does not hold all that much stuff. Needless to say I have had to empty out the freezer of our real food and fill it with Christmas cookies. And yes, it is already almost full and I am only about halfway through with my baking. So that leaves me to hunt down other people's freezers and hope they don't mind storing some of my Christmas goodies.

Note to self: buy a second freezer for next year!

Anyway, a lot of my cookie inspiration this year came from Tish Boyle's book The Good Cookie. This book is filled with lots of wonderful recipes that really work (and let me tell you, that's not always the case). Some recipes I changed a bit, some I didn't change a thing but the end result was always a winner!

A few tips on cookie making:
~Use best ingredients possible (King Arthur Flour)
~Always make sure ingredients are at room temp.
~Let dough chill and rest in fridge for at least an hour.
~If doing cut out cookies chill cookies after you cut them out but before you bake them. This helps them hold their shape better.
~Let cool completely on wire racks before storing.
~Most cookies freeze beautifully for a couple months.

Chocolate Peppermint Polka Dot Pigs
(and yes they are as cute as they sound!)
Adapted from The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 lg. egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
4 oz. good quality white chocolate
1 tsp. shortening
pink paste food coloring
pig shaped cookie cutter
pastry bag

sift the flour, cocoa and salt into medium size bowl and set aside.
Beat the butter until creamy in bowl of electric mixer. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and mix well. Add vanilla and peppermint extract, scraping sides of bowl as you go. Gradually add flour mixture and mix just until blended. Be careful not to over mix. shape dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap for at least 2 hours.
preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 of an inch. Using pig cookie cutter cut out pigs and arrange on cookie sheets about 1/2 inch apart. Reroll scraps and cut out more. Bake cookies for about 8 to 10 minutes until they no longer look wet but should still be soft. Cool on wire racks.
melt white chocolate and shortening in microwave for about a minute. Add pink food coloring to turn mixture a pale pink. Put in pastry bag fitted with plain tip and pipe varied size circles onto pig. Be sure to make a smaller circle for the eye. Let dry completely before packaging or storing.
Makes about 15 cookies (depending on size of cutter).


Katia December 2, 2007 at 9:48 PM  

Oh my goodness...these are the cutest ever!! I just bought a pig cookie cutter yesterday, I will be making these very soon. Good luck with the baking.

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