Friday, 18 December 2009

CAKEBRAIN’S CHRISTMAS COOKIES 2009

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Rudolph Sugar Cookies
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From a quadruple batch of Sugar Cookie dough (from Martha Stewart’s Sugar Cookie recipe), I made a whole herd of reindeer, a veritable snowstorm of Tiffany Snowflake Cookies, and a forest of Christmas Tree cookies.   I divided up a batch of royal icing and tinted it using Teal coloured gel paste for the snowflakes and brown gel paste for the reindeer.   The reindeer noses were Wilton red-coloured candy sprinkles and the eyes were flat white confetti sprinkles coloured with a black food pen. 
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This year, my chocolate flavoured cookie was  a Pierre Hermé  recipe from his book Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé.  Last year I had so much success with the beautiful Vanilla Bean Chocolate Diamonds (pictured below),
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that I contemplated making Hermé’s Chocolate Sparklers recipe, but since I already made a batch of my slice and bake Vanilla Bean Butter Cookies, I thought it would be nice to have a piped one for the different shape.  I decided the Viennese Chocolate Sablés would be perfect.  They are piped with a large star tip ( I used Wilton 1M) and though the dough is soft, this didn’t help for ease of piping…it was pretty stiff and difficult to pipe.  I had to ensure I didn’t fill my bag too full or it became almost impossible to pipe properly.  Check the bottom of this post for the recipe.
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The “w” shape that was piped onto the parchment was not as difficult to make as I thought it would be.  The resulting baked sablé is crumbly, buttery and chocolatey.  This is a perfect cookie for setting out for Santa along with a tall glass of milk .  They keep well for a week in a tin.  The Viennese Chocolate Sablés will be part of my Christmas Cookie boxes this year along with:
 Christmas Trees,
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the Tiffany Sugar Cookies,
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the Vanilla Bean Butter Cookies,DSC_2418
the Oreo WreathsDSC_3947 










and the Rudolph Sugar Cookies.DSC_3959 














VIENNESE CHOCOLATE SABLÉS
(from Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé)
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons (30 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
  • 2 sticks plus 1 1/2 tablespoons ( 8 3/4 ounces; 250 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (100 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons lightly beaten egg whites (lightly beat 2 large egg whites, then measure out 3 tablespoons)
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350degreesF (180degreesC).  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Fit a pastry bag with a medium-sized open star tip and keep it close at hand. (The tip should be crenellated, but its piping hold should be open and somewhat straight, rather than curved and tightly rounded.)
  2. Whisk together the flour and cocoa and keep close at hand.  In a large bowl, beat the butter with a whisk until it is light and creamy—for the recipe to be successful, the butter must be very soft.  Whisk in the sugar and salt, then stir in the egg whites.  Don’t be concerned when the mixture separates; it will come together when you add the dry ingredients.  Gradually add the flour-cocoa and blend only until it is incorporated—you don’t want to work the mixture too much once the flour is added, a light touch is what will give these cookies their characteristic crumbliness.
  3. Because the dough is thick and somewhat heavy, it’s best to work with it in batches.  Spoon about one-third of the dough into the pastry bag.  Pipe the dough into W-shaped cookies, each about 2 inches (5 cm) long and 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) wide, 1 inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets.  (In reality, the W is closer to the letter’s name than its look—it’s best to pipe two attached Us so that you have a kind of wave.  But don’t worry too much about this—the cookies will taste fine no matter the shape.)
  4. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes—no more—or until they are set but neither browned nor hard.  Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.  Repeat with the remaining dough, making sure that you don’t put the to-be-baked cookies on hot baking sheets.  Before serving, you can dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar.

18 comments:

Y said...

Aww Rudolph is especially cute :)

Ivy said...

All cookies look so cute.

Lori R. said...

YUM! you are so ambitious! I didn't make but one kind for fear that I would eat them!!! Trying to keep the temptation away!!
The reindeer are especially cute and I love the showflakes, they are so pretty.

Beth said...

I love those rudolph cookies! What a cute cutter!

Cakebrain said...

Y,
Rudolph's my favourite xmas story!
Ivy,
thanks! not too cute to eat though!
Lori,
Ambitious? not really. I just have a high threshold for pain! Royal icing and those sables did me in...hands too weak to lift the cookies to eat. Thus temptation is thwarted.
Beth,
They are cute, but a bother to package for giving 'cause the antlers keep breaking if you're careful!

zurin said...

The tree cookies are so sweet! I love the colour. but all of them are beautiful.

merry Christmas to you n your loved ones!

rhonalala said...

All beautiful cookies. I wish I had the umph to bake this year but no. I love the snowflakes the best. Very pretty.

H said...

I just stumbled across your blog and wanted to let you know I love it. The photography is beautiful too! I started a blog a few months ago and I've been having a lot of fun with it. I'm not much of a baker, so your stuff is the yin to my yang! I will stay tuned!

Cheers,
H
swigsandgrinds@blogspot.com

Cakebrain said...

Zurin,
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and your family too!
Rhonalala,
Happy Holidays...it's nice just to eat cookies; there's no need to bake them to feel the spirit!
H,
thank you for thinking so! I hope to see some of your photography soon! I'll have to check up on you again! I am self-taught and don't always think I know what I'm doing!

Passionista said...

Just found your blog and I love it! Your writing stile is great because I don't feel like your some expert trying to teach me something impossible but easy for you. I feel like you're narration is what I would probably think. I'm going to be trying some of the recipes tonight, thanks!

Cakebrain said...

Passionista,
aw shucks! thanks for the compliment! Merry Christmas and I hope you have fun baking!

Natalie... said...

Aw wow your cookies are all so beautiful I love the Rudolph and the Oreo one :)
Merry Christmas.

Cakebrain said...

Natalie,
Rudolph was my favourite too! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Lori said...

I have that same cookie cutter. It is so cute. But what I really like is what you have done with it. Beautiful decorating and cookies!

Cakebrain said...

Lori,
I don't have much luck piping facial features but now that I've discovered Wilton sprinkles, I don't think I want to go back!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Your cookies are all so adorable! Happy holidays, full of cookies!!!

Manggy said...

Beautifully decorated as always L :) I dunno if I'm just macho but I thought Dorie was being a tad dramatic with the stiffness of the dough, heh heh. I love those sables, and so did my friends-- they are so elegant!

Cakebrain said...

CC,
Happy New Year's to you too!
Mark,
You must have arms of steel! That was one stiff dough!

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