Tag Archives: holiday baking

Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies

Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies

You could not pay me to drink a glass of eggnog, but I will happily bake with it all Christmas season long. Being made of eggs and dairy, it’s just a thin custard—think melted ice cream—so it’s an easy swap for the liquid in many of my favorite bakes.

I’ve made eggnog sandwich cookies, cakes, scones, and puff pancakes over the last several years, plus a few more treats that I still need to perfect before I pass them your way. These Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies though? They couldn’t wait. They’re the seasonal sibling of the Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies I posted earlier this year, and they are spectacular.

Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies

I think of these as a slightly-sophisticated holiday take on the Lofthouse Cookies I loved in college. Made with ingredients like softened butter, sour cream and eggnog, and sweetened with a mix of granulated and confectioner’s sugars, these cookies are super tender and slightly cakey (but in a good way). Their flavor is rounded out with cinnamon and nutmeg; you can add 1/2 teaspoon of rum extract (not straight rum!) too, if that’s your deal.

Heads up that this recipe requires a fair amount of inactive prep time. Initially, the dough is super sticky and needs a long chill to be workable. There is no way around this—I tried the freezer, rolling it between parchment, and separating it into quarters before the chill. You need to set aside at least four hours between mixing and baking, or prepare to have sticky hands and be extremely frustrated. No, thanks! Once the dough is cold and the ingredients have had a chance to meld though, it’s smooth sailing.

Make sure to roll your cookies out so that they’re super thick. I like them to be 1/2-inch thick before baking, and though they will spread somewhat significantly, they’ll still get some good height. They won’t look particularly enticing coming out of the oven, but that’s because they aren’t done yet. Ohhh no. Each of these ultra-soft sugar cookies is topped with a blanket of buttercream and sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and eggnog for maximum holiday cheer.

Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies

I know I say this about every recipe, but these are so good, y’all—feather soft with plenty of eggnog flavor and a little tang from the sour cream. The combination of tender cookie and hearty schmear of buttercream is akin to eating the top a cupcake. If that’s not the ideal way to consume eggnog this holiday season, I don’t know what is.

Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies
Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies
makes about 3 dozen

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream (not fridge-cold)
1/4 cup eggnog (not fridge-cold)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Eggnog Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioner's sugar
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons eggnog

Special Equipment:
a 2-inch round cookie cutter
offset icing spatula

Make the cookie dough. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in sugar until creamy. Mix in egg, followed by sour cream, eggnog and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 2 installments, beating until combined. Dough will be a bit sticky.

Divide dough into halves and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

Generously flour a surface and rolling pin. Unwrap one half of the dough. Roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness, lifting and turning the dough frequently so that it doesn’t stick to your surface. Use a 2-inch round cutter to cut cookies. Cut directly down. Do not twist.

Place cookies 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 10-11 minutes, rotating top-to-bottom and back-to-front at the 5 minute mark. Cookies are done when puffed and no-longer raw-looking. They should be mostly pale, but there may be some golden coloring at the bottom edges. Let cookies cool on the pans for 8-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Let sheet pans come to room temperature before proceeding with the next batch.

Repeat rolling, cutting and baking with remaining half of dough. Re-roll scraps as desired, refrigerating if anything gets too sticky.

Make Eggnog Buttercream. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in confectioner's sugar in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Add eggnog and beat until combined.

After cookies have cooled completely, use an offset icing spatula to frost each one with about 1 tablespoon of Eggnog Buttercream. Garnish with pinches cinnamon and nutmeg immediately after frosting. Buttercream will crust after an hour or so. You may serve the cookies immediately after frosting, but they are softest the next day.

After they’ve crusted, leftovers may be layered with wax or parchment paper and kept in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for a couple of days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies​

After nailing the perfect snappy texture in last week’s Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies, I couldn’t resist taking that formula and making it into linzer cookies.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies​

Traditional linzer cookies are made from a dough that isn’t much more than a sugar cookie with a smattering of ground nuts tossed in for depth and tenderness. My vegan, gluten-free cookie formula already gets all its structure from almonds, but I still found a way to make the final product uniquely linzery. Linzerian? Linzeresque? Anyway…

The gist is that I removed the dark molasses and spices from the dough, lightening the flavor profile with maple syrup and a small, but effective amount of toasted ground hazelnuts. If you can’t get your hands on hazelnuts, pecans will work just as well (plus you won’t have to peel them).

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies​

This dough requires a short chill before the usual rolling, cutting and baking. Don’t forget to stamp out a little window in half your cookies for that signature linzer cookie look!

As far as filling goes, you can use any spread you like, but jam is traditional. I’m not much of a jam person, but I had a jar of homemade blueberry jam from my friend Suzette up in Maine, so I used that. Raspberry and strawberry would give festive Christmas red vibes, but I think orange marmalade might be absolute magic paired with the nutty cookies. I’ll have to try that another day though—for now, I’m extremely into these blue-black little picture windows and the signature flavor of my favorite place.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies​

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies are initially very crunchy, but soften a bit as they soak up some moisture from the jam. This is not a bad thing at all, as it makes them easier to eat without getting crumbs on your shirt. That’s very important if, like me, you plan to casually snag a cookie every time you walk by the plate from now until 2022.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies​
Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen sandwich cookies

1/2 cup whole hazelnuts (or pecans)
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup or light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For assembly:
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
~3/4 cup jam or spread of choice

Special equipment:
rolling pin
2-inch cookie cutter
smaller cookie cutter (I used the large end of a piping tip)

toast and peel the hazelnuts. Place hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently until fragrant, 7-10 minutes. Immediately transfer hazelnuts to a clean, dry hand towel. Fold towel around the hazelnuts and then rub the towel with the palm of your hand. This will allow the hazelnut skins to loosen. This step does not have to be done perfectly. (If you are using pecans, you do not need to peel them.)

Let hazelnuts cool completely. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until they are a fine meal. Do not over-process or you’ll have hazelnut butter (delicious, but not helpful here).

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together ground hazelnuts, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add sugar and confectioner’s sugar and beat until fully combined (about 2 minutes). Beat in maple syrup and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing completely after each addition. Dough may look rubbly, but should hold together extremely well when pinched.

Divide dough in two. Form each half into a disk, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Use confectioner’s sugar to dust a surface and rolling pin. Unwrap one disk of dough and place it on the surface. Use the rolling pin to roll it out to 1/8-inch thickness. A thin offset icing spatula or bench scraper (or similar) will make moving the dough much easier, as will adding more confectioner’s sugar to the surface and rolling pin.

Use a 2-inch rom d cookie cutter to cut cookies, then use the icing spatula to move them to the prepared pans, keeping them 1.5 inches apart. Use a smaller cutter (I used the wide end of a piping tip) to cut windows in half your cookies—these are the tops of your linzers. Bake cookies 12-14 minutes, rotating the pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back at the 7 minute mark.

Let cookies cool 10 minutes on their pans. Use a spatula to remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking as needed, re-rolling scraps as needed. Let cookie sheets come to room temperature between batches.

Set a cooling rack over a piece of parchment. Once all cookies are baked and cooled, set the cookies with the centers cut out on a prepared rack. Sift confectioners sugar over the tops.

Spread each whole cookie with jam (amount is based on your preference). Carefully sandwich cookies together. Serve.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Place wax paper between layers for best storage. Cookies will soften a bit over time.

Sparkling Shortbread

Sparkling ShortbreadHappy Christmas week! Happy Solstice! Happy almost the end of 2020!Sparkling ShortbreadI’m coming at you on this winter Monday to give you one last cookie recipe before Christmas. Don’t worry, it’s super easy—just a slice & bake shortbread that’s been rolled in sparkling sugar so it looks *fancy.* And it is. But it’s also stupendously easy. I don’t know about you, but when it’s four days before Christmas, I only have time for things that are stupendously easy.Sparkling ShortbreadThis dough is super rich and buttery, and comes together in 15 minutes. Once mixed, divide it in two and shape each half into a log. Don’t worry about perfect round shaping—you can fix flaws after an hour-long chill. It’s much easier to form smooth shapes when the dough isn’t so pliable.Sparkling ShortbreadSparkling Shortbread Next up, coat your shortbread in sparkling sugar! Working with one log at a time, give your shortbread a few rolls to even out any odd shaping. Then, roll them in a few tablespoons of festive sparkling sugar (this is the Mistletoe Blend from NY Cake Supply). I find it easiest to coat the shortbread by using my hands and a sheet of plastic wrap. Just do your best with this and don’t worry about perfection—these will all be a little different and they will all be gorgeous.

Don’t have sparkling sugar? Use sprinkles. I recommend using jimmies (the cylindrical kind) instead of non-pareils (the little balls), as those will bleed their colors.Sparkling ShortbreadAfter coating, the shortbread will need another hour chill. I know—I know!—two chills are too many, but they are easily the most annoying part of this recipe. One upside, however, is that this means you can make the Sparkling Shortbread dough days in advance and then slice & bake when you have time.Sparkling ShortbreadSparkling ShortbreadWhen it’s time to bake, slice the dough in 1/4-inch rounds and bake for 20 minutes at 300F, so they’re fully done but not brown. Despite not containing any leaveners, these cookies will puff and spread (but not too much).Sparkling ShortbreadOnce the shortbread are baked and cooled…well, that’s it! Time to eat. Sparkling Shortbread are crisp and buttery with a little extra crunch and zazz from their sugared edges. Truly, they’re so simple and stunning that I don’t know why you’d bother to make any other cookies this close to Christmas. Keep a few for yourself, drop a few off with a friend and leave a few for Santa. Everybody needs a little sparkle right now.Sparkling ShortbreadThere’s only one more E2 Bakes recipe left this year, and it’s coming up Wednesday! Any guesses???Sparkling Shortbread

Sparkling Shortbread
makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

For coating:
6-8 tablespoons (about 3 ounces) coarse sparkling/decorative sugar

Place softened butter in a medium-large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat it until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add dark brown and confectioners sugars and mix until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and salt. With the mixer on low, beat in flour. Dough will be crumbly looking, but should hold together very well when pinched.

Divide dough in two parts. Form each into a 9-inch log and wrap in plastic. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfectly round. Chill for 1 hour.

Line a small sheet pan or a surface with a sheet of plastic wrap and place 3-4 tablespoons of sparkling sugar on top. Unwrap one log of dough. Give it a few light rolls to form more of a round log shape. Place dough on top of sugar and use your hands and the plastic wrap to coat the log in sparkling sugar. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days. Repeat this process with remaining log of dough and remaining sparkling sugar.

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 300F. Line 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.

Unwrap one log of dough and place on a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice log into 1/4-inch rounds. Place at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans.

Bake cookies for 20-22 minutes, or until no longer shiny but not brown at all. Let cool on the pans for 10 minutes. Use a thin spatula (not your fingers!) to remove cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.

Serve. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.Sparkling ShortbreadSparkling ShortbreadSparkling ShortbreadSparkling Shortbread

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesA few years ago, I put out a call for holiday cookie ideas and got a list ten miles long out of the deal. I have slowly worked my way through it for the last several Christmases and am getting close to the end now…and what’s down there? Oh! It’s white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesYou might be thinking “are white chocolate macadamia nut cookies a holiday cookie?” To that I say…sure, why not?! If someone puts them out at the holidays, I think they’re a holiday cookie. Just because a recipe doesn’t match our own personal experience and nostalgia doesn’t mean it doesn’t align with someone else’s.

To that end, most of my personal experience with white chocolate macadamia nut cookies has not been holiday-related, but instead in shopping mall food courts and some Otis Spunkmeyer set-ups that my school’s PTO had. That said, I firmly believe than any cookie can be a holiday cookie with a little belief (Christmas spirit?), some brown butter, and maybe a decorative plate, if you’re a little more organized than I am.Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesSo, here we are with my second holiday cookie of the season: Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies. Yes, that name is seven words long but it is #worthit—brown butter takes this chewy, nutty classic cookie recipe from good to WOW! Like, why have we not been doing this all along?Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesBrown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesThe cookie dough is straightforward and doesn’t require a mixer or anything fancy. I’ve made these with both white chocolate chips (about a cup) and chopped white chocolate, and prefer the chopped stuff every time. It has more cocoa butter, fewer stabilizers, and it just tastes better, period. As for the macadamia nuts, you can use roasted-salted or raw. I love control and have access to raw macadamias through Sahadi’s, so those are what I used here. If you are using roasted-salted, just skip the roasting step and reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon (unless you like very salty cookies). As with most of my cookie doughs, this one requires a chill, but it’s pretty short. Once your dough has rested, just scoop/roll/bake/cool/eat eat eat.Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesAnd maybe, just maybe, share a few and spread a little holiday cheer.Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup macadamia nuts (I used raw)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli)

If using roasted salted macadamia nuts, skip the first step. Chop them before beginning the recipe at “Brown the butter.” Also reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

Preheat oven to 350F. Scatter pecan halves on a dry rimmed baking sheet and roast 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Do not burn. Let cool completely and give them a rough chop.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl and let cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

Retrieve the large mixing bowl full with the brown butter. Whisk in light brown and granulated sugars. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in white chocolate, followed by chopped macadamia nuts. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 90 minutes, or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in the central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Scoop chilled dough in 2 tablespoon increments, and roll into balls. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 9-10 minutes, until puffy. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process with any remaining dough, letting the baking sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Cookies will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesBrown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Molasses Crinkles

Molasses CrinklesI’ve been a bit lost trying to decide what to make for Christmas this year. In the past, I’ve really gone for it with elaborately iced/stacked/painted/glammed up cookies, but that seems a bit frivolous in a year where I will be spending the holidays alone. There is certainly something to be said for going big & going (staying) home with holiday baking as a way to emotionally survive the next 30 days or 30 weeks or whatever, but today I don’t feel like mixing up a giant vat of royal icing and coloring my world. Today I feel like getting in bed and staying there until I can see my friends again or until flying doesn’t seem insane or until every first date doesn’t involve asking someone from the internet if he is willing to take both of our lives into his hands to have an outdoor, distanced coffee.

That got dark quickly. Oy.Molasses CrinklesAnyway, this Christmas is going to be simpler around here. I’m not saying there won’t be sprinkles or a buttercream flourish—I’m still me, duh. It just may be a month of less…involved…holiday sweets.

That doesn’t mean they’re any less special or delicious, of course. I mean, look at these Molasses Crinkles! They’re a classic winter cookie that comes together in a snap and are very difficult to stop eating, especially if you have a pot of coffee and some twinkle lights nearby. I’m speaking from experience here.Molasses CrinklesAs far as the recipe goes, my path to chewy Molasses Crinkle glory is pretty straightforward. I used my Maple Sugar Cookies as a starting place, swapping the maple for molasses, adding big hits of ginger and cinnamon, quadrupling (!) the baking soda, and rolling the cookies in sugar for a textured appearance.Molasses CrinklesMolasses CrinklesMix your dough in a pot on the stove and let it relax at room temperature while your oven warms; this will give the gluten time to develop for extra-chewy results! Scoop the dough into balls and roll them in sugar (granulated or a mix of granulated and coarse) before baking for ten minutes. The big crinkles will begin to form during the last two or so minutes of baking, when the dough has spread pretty dramatically and puffs to the point that it breaks the sugar coating. Then, just when you remove the hot cookies from the oven, give the pan a good thwack on the counter and…bam. Crinkle city.Molasses CrinklesThese cookies, y’all. They’re on the thin side, but have tons of surface area and chewy texture and crinkles and a crisp coating, and that’s to say nothing of the molasses and ginger and cinnamon! And make no mistake, these are molasses cookies. Sure, the ginger and cinnamon are quality background flavors, but sticky, bittersweet molasses? She’s the star of this show.Molasses CrinklesI’ve made three batches of Molasses Crinkles since Thanksgiving, and I’m here to tell you that they keep like a dang dream. Seriously. I keep thinking I’m going to reach into a bag to discover a bunch of molasses frisbees, but nope—chewy as ever.

Brighter days ahead.Molasses Crinkles

Molasses Crinkles
makes about 20 medium-large cookies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For coating:
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar and molasses—mixture will not be homogenous. Let rest 10 minutes. Add the egg to the pot and whisk to combine. Whisk in the vanilla, followed by flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Let dough sit for 30 minutes.

Arrange your oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Place sugar (for coating) in a small shallow bowl.

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I use a medium cookie scoop). Roll into balls and then roll the balls in sugar before placing them at least 3 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake cookies about 10 minutes, or until puffed.

Remove pan from oven and give it one good thwack on a flat surface. Crinkles will fully develop as the cookies cool. Let cookies cool for 8-10 minutes on the pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.Molasses CrinklesMolasses Crinkles