Sour Cream Cutout Cookies

sour cream cutout cookies - trustinkim

At first I wasn’t going to post this recipe because it gave me such trouble, so all I have is this iphone photo. After I tasted a cookie, however, I decided I needed to share. These are tasty and softer than many others cookies of this type.

The recipe comes from Fine Cooking Magazine from Dec 2016, and it makes a huge batch, about 5 dozen cookies depending on how big you make them.

So the problems . . . at first I didn’t read that I had to make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate, so I had to bake them a day later than I wanted to. Then I made the dough, let it rest in the fridge, and started rolling them out . . . and they were too soft to get off the counter! Argh! So back in the fridge with the dough, and I rolled them out right onto the parchment paper, cut the shapes, and got rid of the excess dough. This method worked better. Eventually I found that I could roll them out on the counter if I used more flour than I thought I would need.

Oh yeah, then the first batch I put in the oven got too brown in some places – so watch for that, and don’t roll them as thinly if that happens to you.

And the recipe says to refrigerate the cookies for 30 minutes before baking, but I only did this once before realizing it would take the rest of my life to bake all these cookies if I had to wait half an hour for each little pan (I have a small oven, and a small fridge, so it really could have taken forever.)

Oh, and I wasn’t very patient with the decorating . . .

But the successes outweigh the problems, believe it or not! I now have lots of delicious, pretty cookies that I’m happy to share.

What you need:

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, and more for rolling out
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • icing (I used half of this recipe)
  • sprinkles for decoration (optional)

What you do:

  1. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes; it should become light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. Alternately add one third of the dry ingredients then one third of the sour cream until it is all mixed in. The dough will be quite sticky; make sure you don’t over mix it.
  5. Divide the dough into three pieces, forming a disc, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 8-24 hours (I actually kept one of mine for a few days). You could freeze the dough for up to a month, and let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Work quickly with the dough so it stays cold – if it gets too soft put it in the fridge again. Heavily flour the rolling surface with flour. Roll half of one ball of dough (putting the other half in the fridge) to a thickness of about half a centimetre. Dip the cookie cutter in flour and cut out your shapes, then transfer the cookies to the baking sheet, giving them some space to spread as they bake.
  8. If you can, refrigerate the cookies for 30 minutes. Otherwise, just bake them for 6-8 minutes, two pans at a time, flipping the pans around half way through.
  9. Place the baked cookies on cooling racks, and allow to cool completely before icing and decorating.

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

Having never tried snickerdoodles before, I was drawn to this particular recipe by the idea that they might taste eggnoggy.  It’s the nutmeg in the sugar coating and the addition of rum that gives them the eggnog flavour – there’s actually no eggnog in them.  They are easy to make, and you can vary the baking time depending on if you like them crispy or tender.  These aren’t a fancy cookie, but if you want something sweet and simple, then this one might be for you.

I got the recipe from A Whisk and a Spoon.  The original recipe called for extracts of rum and brandy, but I just used a little more of the real thing in my recipe.

What you need:

2 & 1/4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 & 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup butter, softened

2 teaspoons rum

2 large eggs

For the sugar coating:

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 cup sugar

What you do:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and beat well, then add the rum.

3.  Whisk the dry ingredients together in another bowl, then add them gradually to the butter mixture.

4.  Stir the nutmeg into the sugar in a small bowl.

5.  Scoop the dough with a teaspoon, then form into a ball by rolling between the palms of your hands.  Roll each ball in the sugar and place them on the pan, leaving a good amount of space between them so they don’t melt into each other as they bake.

6.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them.  I did 8 minutes, and they were fabulous the first day.  After that they got a little crunchy, so I would try 7 minutes next time.  Place the baked cookies on a wire rack to cool.  But definitely try one while they are still warm!

Bacon Shortbread

Yes, you read that right – bacon shortbread.  I heard about this and had no intention of making it, but then I mentioned it to a few people and they said they’d really like to try it.  So I gave it a try, and . . . it’s actually good!  Sweet and Salty are a great combination!  Please comment if you try this recipe, as people might need a second opinion.

Really, I just made shortbread and added some bacon to part of the recipe, and made the rest regular shortbread.  So you can do that, using  just a few slices of bacon, or you can make the whole recipe below.

What you need:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (no substitutions!)

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 drops almond extract

1 & 3/4 cup flour

pinch salt

1/3 cup crispy bacon, finely chopped

What you do:

1.   Cream the butter, then beat in the sugar.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat until light in colour.

2.  Add flour, salt and bacon and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.

3.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.  (If you make the dough ahead of time you can refrigerate it, but make sure you take it out of the fridge about an hour before you want to roll it out or it will be rock hard!)

4.  Roll dough to about 3/4 of a centimetre thickness, on a floured table.  Use floured cookie cutters to cut shapes, then place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

5.  Bake at 325 F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on racks, then refrigerate.

The Best Rum Balls in the World!

This is probably my favourite sweet treat in the whole world!  My mom usually makes them at Christmas, but not  this year . . . so it’s up to me to save the day!

The original recipe is actually twice as big, but this makes a big bowlful, and several dozen rum balls.

What you need:

4 cups crushed vanilla wafers (Mr. Christie’s Nilla wafers work well, about 1 & 1/2 boxes)

1 & 1/2 cups icing sugar

3/4 cup melted butter

1/3 cup cocoa

3/4 cup white rum

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1/4 cup almond paste (grind your own almonds if you don’t have this)

1/2 cup sour cream

pinch salt

What you do:

1.  Combine the wafer crumbs, icing sugar, butter, cocoa, rum and pecans in a large bowl.

2.  In another bowl, combine melted chocolate, almond paste, sour cream and salt.

3.  Add the melted chocolate mixture to the ingredients in the large bowl and mix well.  You may want to knead it with your hands so everything gets mixed together completely.

4.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is firm enough to form the balls.  I usually leave it over night, but it doesn’t need that long.

5.  After you have formed the balls you may want to roll them in chocolate shot or cocoa – I never do this, though.  They are so good on their own.

These rum balls need to be stored in the fridge!  They also freeze well.

Amazing Pecan Shortbread

I’ve been making this one for so long I can’t remember where I got the recipe from.  Probably Martha; she’s always good for Christmas cookies.

It’s easy, it’s delicious.  Need I say more?

What you need:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (no substitutions!)

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 drops almond extract

1 & 3/4 cup flour

pinch salt

1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

What you do:

1.   Cream the butter, then beat in the sugar.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat until light in colour.

2.  Add flour, salt and pecans and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.

3.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.  (If you make the dough ahead of time you can refrigerate it, but make sure you take it out of the fridge about an hour before you want to roll it out or it will be rock hard!)

4.  Roll dough to about 3/4 of a centimetre thickness, on a floured table.  Use floured cookie cutters to cut shapes, then place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

5.  Sprinkle lightly with sugar, then bake at 325 F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Enjoy, and impress your friends!

Gingerbread Men with Candy Hearts

These are so cute, and fun to make!  I don’t actually like eating gingerbread – but I enjoy making them, and people love to get them.  They are a bit of work, so you can make them one day when it’s c-c-cold out and you want to stay in, or in three steps: 1. make the dough 2. roll and bake the cookies 3. have fun with the icing.

Recommended listening pairing: Over the Rhine‘s ‘Snow Angels’ album.

What you need:

2 & 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup unsalted butter or substitute (margarine or vegan “butter”)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

3/4 cup molasses

red candies

parchment paper

gingerbread man cutter

small heart cutter

for the icing:

2 & 2/3 cups icing sugar

2 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

just less than 1/4 cup of water

icing bag or ziplock baggie

What you do:

1.  Whisk together dry ingredients  (flour to nutmeg).

2.  In a large bowl beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy, then beat in the molasses.

3.  Gradually add the flour mixture until it is just combined.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour, or do this ahead of time.

4.  Smash up the candies into little bits.  I bought candies that were wrapped, then smashed them in their wrappers with a hammer on my wooden cutting board.

5.  Roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/2 to 3/4 of a centimetre.  I rolled onto parchment paper, then put them in the freezer for 15 minutes before cutting, and they came out all in one piece.

6.  Cut the hearts out and place them, along with the men, on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Fill the hearts with some candy shards.  If you don’t use parchment the candy will stick to your pan – not good!

7.  Bake at 350 F for 6 minutes, then take them out and tap the pan on the counter, and put them back in the oven to bake for 6-8 more minutes.  Let them cool on the pan for about 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack; this will give the candy time to harden.

8.  To make the icing, first sift the icing sugar.  Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar, then gradually add the icing sugar.  Add a little water at a time, but make sure it doesn’t get too runny.

9.  Fill icing bag part way with icing.  Place a damp cloth over the top of the icing bowl so the part you aren’t using doesn’t dry up.  If you don’t have an icing bag, put the icing in a ziplock baggie, then cut a very small hole in one of the corners.  Pipe the icing on in any designs you wish!