Are you done with your Christmas cookies yet? I hope your answer is no. Because I haven't either. Although I have baked some cookies earlier to send to a special friend, and test baked a few batches of various recipes to see if they were good. I haven't really make any progress on the actual cookies I am going to give away yet!
What a procastinator I am. Luckily for me, all the new recipes I tried so far have turned out pretty well, and I know I will be proud to give them away. Among them are these "Nutella Two Tone Cookies". The inspiration comes from the December issue of Bon Appetit magazine. When I saw the chocolate rolled out cookies recipe, I liked it immediately. Because it incorporated melted chocolate in the dough.Yum!
To make it extra special, I decided on a two tone cookies theme, using the chocolate rolled out cookies recipe and the vanilla rolled out cookies from the same issue. The filling will be Nutella, my favorite chocolate hazelnut spread. Voila, there you have it, another cookie recipe for the cookies tray.
Another type of cookies, which is a must for me, is biscotti. I recently found a new recipe that I really enjoy on Nicole's blog-Baking Bites. She named the biscotti- Cherry Garcia, after one of Ben & Jerry famous ice cream flavor. I added a handful of chopped pistachio to the dough for color, and the test batch was sent off to a far away destination. Another batch of these biscottis have just came out from the oven. In my opinion, Nicole's Cherry Garcia tastes so much better than the B&J's ice cream itself. Now I am debating if they should be given away, or I could save them for myself!
Nutella Two Tone Cookies
inspired by Bon Appetit Dec 2007
1 batch of vanilla rolled out cookies (recipe below)
1 batch of chocolate rolled out cookies (recipe below)
Bake and cool the cookies as instructed. Sandwich a thick layer of Nutella in between the cookies.
For vanilla rolled out cookies:
adapted from Bon Appetit Dec 2007
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and salt and beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and beat in vanilla. Add flour and beat on low speed just to blend. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Form each half into ball and flatten into disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic and chill until firm, at least 4 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2days ahead. Keep chilled.
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper to 1/8-inch thickness for smaller (2-inch) cookies and 1/4-inch thickness for larger (3- to 4-inch) cookies. Using decorative cookie cutters, cut out cookies and transfer to prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. If cookies become too soft to transfer to baking sheets, place in freezer on waxed paper for 5 minutes before continuing. Gather scraps, roll out dough, and cut more cookies, repeating until all dough is used. If not icing cookies, decorate with sprinkles or other sugar toppings, if desired.
Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are firm on top and golden around edges, about 10 minutes for smaller cookies and up to 14 minutes for larger cookies. Cool completely on rack.
For Chocolate Rolled Out Cookies:
adapted from Bon Appetit Dec 2007
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Dutched Processed Cocoa)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift first 5 ingredients and cinnamon, if desired, into medium bowl. Stir chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Set aside. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and beat in vanilla and chocolate. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed just to blend. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Form each half into ball and flatten into disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic and chill until firm, at least 4 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before rolling out.
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper to 1/8-inch thickness for smaller (2-inch) cookies and 1/4-inch thickness for larger (3- to 4-inch) cookies. Using waxed paper prevents you from adding too much flour, which will make the cookies tough.
Using decorative cookie cutters, cut out cookies. Cold dough is much easier to work with. If it gets warm as you're cutting out the cookies, place the dough—waxed paper and all—in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
Use an offset spatula to peel away the excess dough and transfer the cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Gather scraps, roll out dough, and cut more cookies, repeating until all dough is used. If not icing cookies, decorate with sprinkles or other sugar toppings, if desired.
Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are firm on top and slightly darker around edges, about 9 minutes for smaller cookies and up to 12 minutes for larger cookies. Line baking sheets with fresh parchment as needed. Cool completely on rack.
Cherry Garcia Biscottis
adapted from Baking Bites
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried bing cherries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks/chocolate chips
1/2 cup pistachio, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, beat eggs, adding sugar gradually, at medium speed until smooth and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. At low speed or by hand, stir in flour mixture followed by cherries, pistachio and chocolate.
Drop spoonfuls of batter into long lines on prepared baking sheet and, with well floured hands, shape the irregular lines into rectangular logs about 1/2 inch high. Length and width are your prerogative, and you can use more than one baking sheet, if necessary. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, until logs are a light gold color and are fully set (they will spring back slightly when touched with a finger).
Slice logs into 1/3-1/2 inch thick slices (1-1.5 cm) and lay flat (on their sides) on baking sheet.
Lower oven temperature to 300F. Bake sliced cookies for 15 minutes, flip them and bake for an additional 15 minutes. If cookies are not firm, depending on how thickly they were sliced, turn again and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 4 dozen.