Shortbread Christmas Trees

 

There’s just one more sleep to Christmas, people!

Whether it’s your thing, whether you celebrate it or not, it is the season to be kind, to show appreciation, to hold your family just a little closer, to let go, to celebrate.

It’s also the season for baking!

My chocolate crinkle cookies taste FANTASTIC but no one mentioned that they spread… They do not look pretty…

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But my shortbread Christmas tree came out pretty well, I think. Well, except for having to cover up the wrong colour frosting and making a bit of a mess at the top… After all these years of baking, it’s still hit and miss with biscuits and cookies. Give me bread any day!! No matter, it’ll be a cute little centrepiece for Christmas lunch tomorrow.

To all those celebrating Christmas, have a great day tomorrow. To those not celebrating, have a lovely day and enjoy whatever you have planned.

Now I’m heading off to the biggest party, with my little shortbread Christmas trees in tow… Fiesta Friday #100! And the celebration is going to last over two weeks to give everyone a chance to come and party for a little bit over the festive season. A huge thank you to Angie @The Novice Gardener for everything she does and to her merry helpers; this week they are Judi @Cooking with Aunt Juju, Molly @Frugal Hausfrau, Steffi @Ginger & Bread and Suzanne @A Pug in the Kitchen. They are awesome ladies and know how to throw a party, so bring your treats and come say hi!

 

Shortbread Christmas Trees

  • Servings: Makes 4 trees
  • Print

 

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Equipment

7.5cm/7cm/6cm/5.5cm/4.5cm/2.5cm star-shaped cookie cutters *

Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter, chilled, chopped
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • White frosting pen
  • Cachous or sugar flowers and icing sugar mixture to decorate

Method

  1. Process the butter, sugar, flours and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor, stopping and scraping down sides with a spatula, if needed, until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to combine.
  2. Divide the dough in half and shape into discs. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until just firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Line four large baking trays with baking paper.
  4. Roll out 1 portion of dough between two sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Using the 7.5cm star-shaped cutter, cut 8 stars from the dough. Repeat with the 7cm star-shaped cutter, re-rolling and cutting the dough trimmings. Place the stars, 2cm apart, on two of the prepared trays. Bake, one tray at a time, for 10 minutes or until just firm to touch, but not browned. Stand the shortbread stars on trays for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Repeat with remaining dough, cutting 8 x 6cm stars, 8 x 5.5cm stars, 8 x 4.5cm stars and 8 x 2.5cm stars from dough, re-rolling and cutting the dough trimmings. Place on prepared trays, except smallest stars. Bake, one tray at a time, for 10 minutes or until just firm to touch, but not browned, adding smallest stars halfway through cooking. Stand on trays for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Once completely cool, decorate the shortbread stars any way you like using the frosting pen. (Make sure to have enough frosting left to dab in the middle of each cookie, which will act like the glue holding the cookies together.)
  7. Place 4 of the biggest stars onto presentation plates. Place some frosting in the centre of each star and top with another same-sized star, rotating the cookie so that the points sit at a different angle to the fist star. Repeat layering with more frosting and the remaining stars, two of each size per tree, except for the smallest starts, to form four Christmas trees.
  8. Add more frosting to the top of each Christmas tree. Working with one tree at a time, sandwich two 2 small stars together and stand them on top of each tree, pressing gently to secure. Pipe any leftover frosting on the trees in a decorative pattern. Set aside to set and then decorate with cachous or sugar flowers and dust liberally with icing sugar.

 

* If you don’t have or don’t want to have so many different sized star shapes, you can make these trees still work really well by only using three different sized star cookie cutters – they will just be a little shorter.

Recipe from Super Food Ideas.

 

 

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Salt Choc Chip Cookies

Don’t get me wrong, I eat my fair share of chocolate. Probably even more than my fair share of chocolate. But if there’s a choice between something sweet and something savoury, I’ll choose the savoury option 99 per cent of the time.

I’ll always choose chips (crisps) over biscuits. Yes, I’ll even choose them over cookies.

I blame the salt.

But these cookies, these delightfully chewy cookies are equally sweet, chocolaty and salty. And when they’re fresh out of the oven, so soft that they’re curving over and the choc chips are still gooey, well, something magical happens when you take you first bite.

Salt Choc Chip Cookies

We had a public holiday today for a sporting event… think what you will about that… and seeing as though we are really not sports-orientated people, a group of us decided to do the least sporty thing we could thing of… have a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon.

There was even a runsheet organised for the day and what kind of snacks were and were not acceptable. These cookies were listed. Twice.

They are that good.

The first time I made them we gorged on them. And I still had enough cookies to take to work the next day so that we wouldn’t eat them all. And everyone who tried them came up to me with wide eyes, making noises you generally don’t want to hear at the office…

Yep, they’re that good.

Even though these cookies don’t taste overly sweet, they do have a fair bit of sugar in them. This is why you should share, you know, cookie style – two for you, one for someone else; two for you, one for someone else… Which is why I am being so very generous and kind by bringing these to the Fiesta Friday #88 party, this week co-hosted by Angie @The Novice GardenerJulie @ Hostess At Heart and Liz @ Spades, spatulas, & spoons

Salt Choc Chip Cookies

  • Servings: makes around 30 cookies
  • Print

Salt Choc Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 430g plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoons bi-carb soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 240g unsalted butter (at room temperature and chopped into small cubes)
  • 230g brown sugar
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ a vanilla bean (seeds scraped*) or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 150g dark chocolate chips
  • Approximately 2 teaspoons Maldon sea salt flakes**

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan-forced) or 190°C (conventional). Line two large cookie sheets with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, bi-carb soda and salt together into a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugars until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beating after each addition, then add the vanilla.
  4. Mix in the flour, followed by the choc chips.
  5. Roll small tablespoon amounts of the dough into balls and place on the trays, leaving room for the cookies to spread. Press down on the dough lightly and then sprinkle some Maldon sea salt on the top of each cookie.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are lightly golden.

* Don’t throw out the scraped vanilla bean – place it in some sugar to make vanilla sugar.

** Make sure to use sea salt, Maldon or not, but not table salt

Recipe by Camilla Clark.

Funfetti Cookies – My Carnevale Cookies

Depending on where you are and what you choose to celebrate, tomorrow is either: Carnevale, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) or Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday). Whatever you call it, it is the day before Lent begins and is always associated with a lot of food, wine, music and merriment.

As it turns out, I had way too many choices for what to post for this ‘holiday’; so many that I actually intimidated myself. I could have made King Cake, a recipe I’ve had and not used for over a year now. I could have made breakfast or dinner pancakes, of which I have many, many, many recipes. I could have made Frappe (Crostelli), a deep-fried pastry treat that is just pure goodness.

But none of those would do because they didn’t involve the use of a cookie cutter. You see, I just got a new cookie cutter. A Carnevale mask cookie cutter.

I may or may not have a slight mask obsession…

So I decided the food wasn’t important this time. I wanted to be part of the merriment of this day, and well, everyone loves cookies!

If you happen to be in Carnevale or Mardi Gras – I hate you, I’m jealous and you are expected to report in and tell me all about it, and in return, you can have a funfetti cookie.

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Funfetti Cookies

Recipe very slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson, which can be found on the Food Network website.

Ingredients

  • 85g unsalted butter (softened)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup multicoloured hundreds and thousand sprinkles

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and moving towards moussiness, then beat in the egg and vanilla.
  3. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and hundreds and thousand sprinkles.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and eggs, and mix gently but surely. If you think the finished mixture is too sticky to be rolled out, add more flour, but do so sparingly as too much will make the dough tough.
  5. Turn out the dough and form it into a fat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  6. Sprinkle a suitable surface with flour, place the disk of dough on it, and sprinkle a little more flour on top of that. Then roll it out to a thickness of about ¼-inch. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter, dipping the cutter into flour as you go, and place the cookies a little apart on 2 baking paper-lined baking sheets.
  7. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes; obviously it depends on the shape you’re using and whether they are on the upper or lower shelf, though you can swap them around after about 5 minutes. When they’re ready expect them to be tinged a pronounced gold around the edges; they’ll be softish still in the middle, but set while they cool.
  8. Remove the cookies immediately with a flat, preferably flexible, spatula and place on a wire rack to cool.

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