Wow what a week! I’ve been baking up a storm for Christmas gifts (my favorite way to give gifts, as you get to eat along the way!), and I got to help out at a corporate food photography photo shoot for three days this week (SO much fun & work!). I’m still a little zoned out from all the busy-ness, but I have so many fun things to share, I’ll just load up on another cup of coffee and dive in…..
Have you ever had a first day at a job and thought THIS IS AWESOME? Well, I had not before this week… Usually my first days doing anything – I literally mean anything: school, jobs, finding that bakery on the other side of town – are so filled with anxiety, over-thinking, and confusion, I rarely enjoy myself. But what is the best remedy for a case of the first day jitters? Nice people & lots to do! I spent three long days chopping, cleaning, choosing the perfect vegetable, choosing the perfect angle to look at said vegetable, and slathering everything in sight in cheese. You can see a little glimpse of the set I was working on in this video over on Instagram (I’m in the yellow giraffe apron towards the end). Fun, huh? Best part is you come home with plastic bags of every food known to man – my fridge has never been so stuffed!
So what is the perfect end to the perfect work day? Christmas cookies!!!
I made these for my sister to give as gifts to friends. I also made a gingersnap cookie that I’ll share another day, but first we have my favorite Christmas cookie tradition: Swedish Cream Cookies. These cookies are amazingly light and buttery little bite-sized sandwiches from heaven, and you can color them to match any holiday or decor.
Growing up, these cookies were the only thing my mom & I ever baked, and it was a yearly ritual of frustration trying to keep the wafers from breaking or burning. So this year, with a little more baking savvy under my belt, I took another stab at them, and voila! perfectly baked cookies that won’t immediately disintegrate when you breathe on them. The key? Don’t roll them quite as thin or cut out circles quite as large as any recipe out there (besides mine, that is :)), because they bake and taste just fine a little thicker and smaller, and they’re much easier to handle.
I highly suggest that you pack some up and give them away before trying the first one; otherwise you will have to find a different present for your neighbors, because they’ll be gone by morning.
In a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the unsalted butter and cream, and beat until the butter is completely smooth.
Gradually mix in the flour to the mixture until the dough forms and all the flour is incorporated.
On a large piece of plastic wrap, dump out the dough, and roll into a ball. Wrap the plastic wrap around the dough, and then smash it into a flat disc to save rolling time later.
Put the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Word to the wise: if you leave the dough in the fridge for a long while past 1 hour, it will take a while longer for you to be able to get the dough into a roll-able consistency.
Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap and roll out the dough either lightly dusted with flour or between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Roll the dough out until it is around 3/16th of an inch thick (don't go any thinner than 1/8th or risk the previously mentioned breaking and burning).
At this point, you will want to preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
With a small round cookie or biscuit cutter (about 1.5 inches in diameter), cut out little rounds and set aside.
Once all the dough is cut, place your granulated sugar in a large plate, and then coat the cookie dough circles on both sides.
Place the cookies on un-greased cookie sheets (I like to bake these on my Silpat to avoid extra-brown bottoms), and prick 3 times on top with the tines of a fork.
Place in the heated oven and bake for 7-9 minutes, until the cookies are nice and puffed up. You do not need the cookies to start turning brown on top, as the bottoms will likely begin to burn before the top will turn brown. In my experience, if baked directly on the cooking sheet they will be ready at 7 minutes, but on a baking mat (such as a Silpat) or parchment paper they are ready at closer to 9, but depends on your oven!
Rest the cookies on the warm cookie sheet for a few minutes to allow the cookies to set before moving them to a cooling rack.
Once the cookies are cool you can either assemble them with the frosting immediately, or you can store them in tupperware between layers of waxed paper for a few days before assembly.
Once you're ready to assemble the cookies, cream the softened butter in a mixer with the egg yolk and vanilla, then slowly sift in the powdered sugar into the bowl, so that your frosting doesn't come out lumpy.
When the frosting is nice and smooth, you can tint your frosting any color you like, and then smear some between two of the wafers to make a sandwich.
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