Celebrate the holiday season with these three Christmas cookies; ‘Gooey Spiced Butter Cookies with Whipped Cream & Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce’, ‘Brandy-Orange Blossom Sugar Linzer Cookies’ & ‘Pecan Brown Butter Gingerbread Italian Cookies’. Each one is uniquely different but all are absolutely delicious! I'll be back in a couple of weeks for a holiday blog break, but fear not! I will be back in 2018 with a new recipe (and possibly a new video!). Have a very Merry Christmas, dear friends. And a Happy New Year! - N. C
Brandy-Orange Blossom Sugar Linzer Cookies
Original cookie recipe from King Arthur’s Flour
Sugar recipe adapted from Call Me Cupcake
Yields 12 cookie sandwiches
These sandwich cookies are baked with a brandy-orange blossom sugar and filled with holiday jam for the perfect sweet and tart cookie!
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup spiced sugar*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup almond flour
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Jam for filling (I prefer a holiday jam like plum or fig jam)
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of one orange
½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 ½ teaspoons brandy
Spiced sugar. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together all of the ingredients. Spread the sugar on the prepared baking sheet. Dry the sugar in the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes, stirring every now and then. Allow sugar to cool completely, then put sugar in a mortar and pestle or in a food processor to break up any large clumps. Store sugar in an airtight container. Yields 1 cup of sugar.
Cookies. In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, ½ cup of the spiced sugar, and cinnamon until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, making sure to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the yolk and vanilla and beat until combined.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until just combined. Divide the dough into two discs, wrap in plastic, and let rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc of dough out to ¼”-thickness. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Transfer cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets. Gather the scraps of dough, roll, and repeat. Take the other disc of dough and repeat the same process until all your cookies have been cut out.
Take the large end of a round piping tip and cut out circles in half of the cookies. Place cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake all the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn brown. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the pan before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
Assembly. Place the cookies with the holes cut in them on a cookie sheet and sift confectioners’ sugar over the top. Top the remaining cookies flat side up with ½ teaspoon of jam in the center. Spread the jam lightly before topping for the sugar-dusted cookie.
Pecan Brown Butter Gingerbread Italian Cookies
Yields 20-25 cookies
Adapted from my Grandma Cooley’s original cookie recipe, these Italian cookies have a gingerbread base with toasted pecans and brown butter adding a nutty aroma to these warm, soft cookies. Dip them in milk, hot chocolate, or a cup of coffee for a sweet treat anytime during the holiday season!
¾ cup unsalted butter
2 ¾ cup all-purpose, plus more for dusting
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
4 large eggs
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whole milk
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Cookies. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium-size saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Continue to cook the butter until it foams and then begins to turn golden, then nut brown; whisk occasionally. When the butter is a deep nut brown (think hazelnut), remove the pan from heat and allow butter to cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and spices, and set aside. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, add the eggs and beat for about thirty seconds to one minute.
Add the molasses, sugars and brown butter (that has been slightly cooled) and mix until combined. Add the vanilla extract and mix until mixture is well combined. In thirds, add the flour mixture, mixing each time until each addition is fully incorporated. Fold in the chopped pecans.
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the mixture is less sticky and easier to work with. *Note* this dough is going to be pretty sticky at first. Just add a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough begins to come together.
Form the dough on the lined baking sheet and form it into a 16×2-inch loaf. Bake for 25 minutes or until the center is fully cooked and the top is turning golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Frost with glaze and cut into in 1/2-inch strips.
Glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, whole milk, and spices until smooth and incorporated. Drizzle over the cooling cookies before slicing. Store cookies in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Gooey Spiced Butter Cookies
with Whipped Cream & Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce
Yields 24 cookies
These gooey spiced butter cookies are without a dough the GREATEST cookie I have ever tasted. It transcends all other cookies. I tried these for the first time back last year for an Eggland’s Best Holiday Cookie campaign and I have been hooked ever since. I knew then I had to make these for the blog. Topped with whipped cream and bourbon butterscotch sauce, you’ll want these cookies all to yourself!
½ cup unsalted butter
2 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
5 whole allspice
1 cup + 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
2/3 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, divided
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
¾ teaspoons vanilla extract
6 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
¾ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons bourbon
1 teaspoon sea salt
Cookies. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two muffin tins and set aside.
In a medium-size saucepan, add the butter and whole spices. Cook over medium heat until the butter is completely melted and spices become aromatic. Remove pan from heat and allow spices to mull in the butter until the butter is cooled slightly.
In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined. With the mixer on the low, add the spiced butter and 1 egg and mix until mixture is crumbly. Place 1 tablespoon of the cookie mixture into each muffin section. Press down the mixture to create an even layer.
In a separate mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl, beat together the remaining 3 eggs, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and confectioners’ sugar until completely smooth, roughly 2 minutes. Pour 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin section, covering the cookie layer. Gently hit each pan on the counter top to even out the batter and release any air bubbles.
Bake both pans for 14 minutes or until the edges begin turning golden brown. Allow cookies to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the muffin tins. Once they are completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until chilled. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and butterscotch sauce.
Whipped Cream. Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Doing this will allow the cream to stay cold and create stiff peaks more quickly. Place the sugar in a mixing bowl and add the heavy cream. With a hand mixer or metal whisk, whisk the mixture just until the cream reaches stiff peaks, about 7 to 9 minutes.
Store in an airtight container for up to 10 hours. When ready to use, whisk for 10 to 15 seconds to incorporate the air back into the cream.
Butterscotch. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Just before the butter is melted, stir in the brown sugar with a wooden spoon until sugar is uniformly wet. Stir this mixture frequently for 3 to 5 minutes, watching the consistency as it turns from grainy to molten lava. You want to observe the mixture going from wet sand consistency to more viscous and liquid-y.
Add all the heavy cream, turn the heat to low and, changing to a whisk, whisk cream into sugar mixture. When the liquid is uniform, turn the heat back to medium and whisk every few minutes for a total of 10 minutes or until it registers 225 F on a digital candy thermometer. Turn the heat off and allow mixture to rest for a minute or two before whisking in the vanilla, bourbon, and seas salt. Let cool, about 10-15 minutes, before transferring to an airtight container for storage.