Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cookies for Santa

We made Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies from Smitten Kitchen, and iced them with Amanda's Awesome Icing, from I Am Baker

We decided on the Maple Nutmeg cookie. Turned out to be a good choice, yum!

I went on the scant side of the 1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg, fearing it would be too strong. I also used Grade A Dark Amber maple, because I didn't find a Grade B in time. I did not add maple flavor because, well, I'd rather use the real thing. I used imported butter, and for the flour, 1/2 Whitle Lily, 1/2 King Arthur All Purpose

Flour, salt, and nutmeg, just mixed in
Butter, sugar, egg yolk, and maple syrup, fluffed

Dough wrapped up and patted smooth, ready to chill.
Dough gently collected into a ball.

Baked longer, much tastier, crunchier.
Pulled out too early, and my oven was running too cool.

I divided the dough in two, and rolled half at a time on a lightly floured silicon mat. It was pretty easy to work with. I retired my really large cookie cutters; I've found that smaller cutters make tastier cookies. These also hold an impression. In the right-hand photo above, you may be able to make out the impression on the Tardis cookie (yes, that's the space ship/time machine from Dr. Who).

I just got an oven thermometer, and found that it was running under temperature, as I suspected. I pulled the first tray out too early. They were tasty, but too soft, no crunch at all. I ended up putting them back in the oven later, which improved them a lot. The second tray cooked longer, at a higher heat. The more golden color also brings the richness of toasted butter flavor, making them so much more delicious! I don't mind golden cookies at all.

Obviously Santa requires decorated cookies. I made Amanda's icing, flavored with vanilla and almond, rather than the lemon called for. I made it thin, so the kids could dip the cookies in it and have the sprinkles stick. This is a great deal simpler than using multiple colors and piping bags, and prevents extreme over-icing, as kids will tend to do. They can be quite creative with the sprinkles.

 I think we have a winner! The cookies are very good plain, especially when they have golden edges, and I'll be keeping this recipe for next year. Curiously, it's hard to tell the flavors are maple and nutmeg. They just taste buttery and indefinably good.  The icing was fine to work with, and fun to do, but wasn't special enough for the cookie. Looks like I'm now on the quest for the best icing. :) Santa seemed to approve, as the milk was gone, and there were only crumbs and fallen sprinkles left on the plate.

Merry Christmas!

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