Christmas cookie baking for our family starts around mid November, when the Downtown Toronto Santa Clause Parade all goes down. To me this signifies the start of the Christmas season. I am trying to create memories and traditions for my young family and one of them is baking gingerbread with my 3 year old for the big day with her cousins. We bake and decorate all day and wrap up our tasty treats in plastic and she proudly shares them with her aunts, uncles, and cousins.
I loved reading some of the essays in this book and the memories each unique cookie played in that person’s life. “Holiday Cookies” is filled with a collection of recipes and essays from the history of the Chicago Tribune’s Holiday Cookie Contest. For the contest, readers submitted a brief essay and a recipe describing what made the cookie special to the writer. The book is divided into the following chapters:
- Simple Drop Cookies
- Sugar & Spice
- Fruit & Nut Treats
- Chocolate Delights
- Sandwich Cookies
- Brownies & Bars
Most recipes are accompanied by a picture of the cookie, as well as a photograph of the writer. The recipes are all quite simple to follow and most ingredients are readily available at your local supermarket.
I managed to recreate Dorie’s Dark and Stormies recipe which included chocolate of course. This recipe was used by contest winner Colleen Frankhart to get her through a rough romantic patch..and I can totally see why! Let’s just say they got me through the night with my 3 month old colicky baby! Comment below if you get around to trying the recipe.
Dorie’s Dark and Stormies
Prep time: 25 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Bake time: 14 minutes per batch
Yields: 3 dozen cookies
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- 1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1-teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits.
- Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together in a small bowl; set aside. Beat the butter until smooth in bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed. Add the sugars, vanilla and salt; beat 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add the flour mixture, mixing until incorporated but still crumbly, and being careful not to overload the dough. Stir in the chocolate pieces.
- Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface; squeeze it so that it sticks together in large clumps. (If you need to, it’s OK to lightly flour the work surface.) Gather the dough into a ball; divide in half. Shape each ball into a log 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap logs in plastic wrap; chill at least 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Gently slice logs into ½-inch rounds using a serrated knife (some will crumble; simply press broken bits back onto cookie). Place 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.
- Bake, one sheet at a time, 14 minutes; cookies will not look done or be firm. Cool on pan 5 minutes; transfer to cooling rack. Cool to room temperature.
NOTE: Dough can be made ahead and frozen. Frozen dough doesn’t need to be defrosted before baking: just slice logs and bake one minute longer. Packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature up to 3 days or frozen up to a month.
I received a copy of Holiday Cookies from Agate Publishing. All opinions and thoughts in this blog post are 100% my own. You can purchase Holiday Cookies from Amazon.ca for the current price of $28.43 CAN.