Last Christmas I was given a set of snowflake cookie cutters. I am not a bit fan of making or eating cookies or biscuits which are rolled out and cut out. These cookies seem to be all about style over substance. They look fantastic but the always seem to me to make better Christmas ornaments than afternoon tea. I much prefer an ugly chunky mass of cookie which is dense with choc chips and texture. (You might have noticed on my blog that I am a better cook than photographer!) But the cutters were so cute I had to hang on to them for a moment when inspiration hit.
Then I got the December issue of Australian Table magazine and found a roll and cut biscuit recipe with condensed milk and chocolate – my two great loves when it comes to baking. The moment for the cookie cutters had arrived!
Rolling out the cookies was a bit of a trial. Confirmed how I feel about doing it. So I was not surprised that although the snowflake shapes looked cute, they collapsed in my hand as soon as I tried to transfer from rolling out board to baking tray. But I followed my intuition when I kneaded the off cuts and added a couple of tablespoons of flour. When I next rolled out the dough, it was much easier to handle. This was more like the dough I remember from my youth.
I just used milk chocolate due to convenience rather than a mix of milk and dark chocolate as suggested in the recipe. Actually I think white chocolate would look best on the snowflakes. I have seen a few inspiring snow flakes on the Christmas cookie round up at Food Blogga, particularly those from Bitter Sweet, Redacted Recipes and Soul Fusion Kitchen. My biscuits looked better than my usual efforts. And I used up some of the cherries that were leftover from the Christmas pudding (rather than letting them become hard crystallised balls like I did last year). These biscuits tasted good but not as good as a dense choc chip cookie.
I took a tin of cookies down to my parents place in Geelong yesterday for a family gathering to decorate their Christmas tree. My parents have a fine collection of decorations. They don’t have the paper decorations they made for their first Christmas and I think all the fragile glass balls have broken by now, but my dad was saying the Christmas tree lights are about 38 years old and they can’t buy replacement light bulbs for the set any more. So it will be a sad day when the next bulb goes and they are off buying a new set of lights. My favourite tree decoration is the little angel I remember from my childhood.
Of course you can’t decorate a tree without mince tarts. My mum always makes her own with home made pastry and store bought mince. She even sent some to my sister in Dublin this year. They are worth sending half way across the world. We also had my biscuits and I took down some chocolate truffles. My little nieces looked at the snowflake biscuits and called them flowers. They did look more like flowers than snowflakes but they felt Christmassy with the cherries and chocolate decorations.
I am sending these cookies to Susan at Food Blogga who is hosting the Eat Christmas Cookies, a food blog event. She is adding new cookies as they come in – there are lots of fantastic cookies at this link already– so check them out.
Choc Cherry Cookies
From Australian Table December 2007
125g unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup (75g) brown sugar
1/3 cup (85g) castor sugar
1 egg (50g)
¼ cup (60ml) condensed milk
2 cups (300g) plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Sprinkle of mixed spice and nutmeg
1/3 cup (65g) dark or milk choc bits
¼ cup (50g) glace cherries
150g dark or milk chocolate
Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Beat butter and sugars using spoon or electric mixer. Add egg and condensed milk and beat until smooth. Stir in flour and baking powder til a ball forms. Knead until smooth. Mine was a little sticky and at this point I should have added a few tablespoons extra flour.
Roll dough out to 5mm thickness. (The recipe suggests rolling between two pieces of baking paper – I found it a bit awkward and ended up placing it upon baking paper and rolling out. I found it easier to roll out without piece of baking paper on top of the dough.) Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Reroll and cut off-cuts.
Place cookie shapes on prepared baking tray. Decorate with chocolate chips and cherries. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. The colour on top wont change but they will be slightly golden underneath.
Cool on wire rack. The recipe said to wait 5 minutes to drizzle with chocolate – I waited a lot longer. Place chocolate in bowl and heat in microwave – should take 30 – 50 seconds on high (check after 20 seconds and stir). Drizzle with melted chocolate using a fork.
On the Stereo:
White Christmas: Bing Crosby