Baking Holiday Cookies c/o The Cookiepedia

Amy Kundrat


Pies are to Thanksgiving as cookies are to the December holidays. So without futher ado, we are officially kicking off the cookie-baking season with this set of recipes from Stacy Adimando, a Trumbull, CT native and author of the recently published and irresistible, The Cookiepedia. From Almond Biscotto to Mint Thins, more than 50 cookie recipes fill her book and Adminando has graciously offered to share a few of her recipes with us as we get ready to break-out those mixers and dust-off those measuring cups.

Poppy Seed Squares

"Some people might think poppy seeds aren’t the sexiest of cookie mix-ins. These crispy, poppy-flecked cookies beg to differ. The little blue-gray beads add both a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture, bringing a savory depth to this shortbread-style dough. Balance it all out with a healthy dunk into sweet melted chocolate."  

Ingredients


1  cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2  cups all-purpose flour
5  tablespoons rice flour
1/3 cup sugar
1  tablespoon poppy seeds
Pinch salt

For dipping:   12 ounces (about 1 bar) chocolate; 1/4  cup unsalted butter

Directions

[Preheat Oven: 275˚] 1. Beat the butter until very light and creamy. Sift the flour into a separate bowl, then add it to the butter and continue to mix until it looks crumby. 2. Add the rice flour, sugar, poppy seeds, and a pinch of salt. Mix until all is blended thoroughly. The mixture will still look like loose crumbs. 3. Use the warmth of your hand to form the dough into a ball. Divide it in half and roll out the first half on a floured surface to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into squares or rectangles, then scoop up the scraps and add them to the remaining dough. Roll out the remaining dough and cut it into more squares. 4. Lightly butter and flour a cookie sheet and place the cookies on the sheet. They can be pretty close together. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until they just start to take on a brown tinge. Remove, let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. 5. Break up the chocolate into a bowl and set it over a small pot of simmering water. Add the butter and stir until it’s finally melted and looks glossy and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. 6. One by one dunk cookies in chocolate, pulling away to let the excess drop off. Lay them on parchment-lined sheets (or wire racks with parchment under them) to set.

 

Cornmeal Cookies with Rosemary

"These crumbly, sweet, and savory bites make a beautiful drop-by offering tied with baker's twine and packed into gift boxes or goodie bags. And they’re a treat to bake, because when they’re about halfway done, you’ll smell the pungent rosemary aroma seeping out of your oven."

Ingredients

3/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2  egg yolks
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2  cup cornmeal
1  teaspoon baking powder
1/4  teaspoon salt
Dried rosemary (optional)

Directions

[Preheat Oven: 350˚]1. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat well. Mix in the vanilla. 2. Stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Add them a third at a time to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and stick it in the fridge until firm, about 1 hour.  3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured board to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out cookies using a 2 1/2-inch  cutter and place them an inch apart on a lightly greased cookie  sheet. Sprinkle each top with a few pieces of rosemary, lightly pressing the herb to adhere. 4. Bake until the edges start to turn golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

 

Almond Biscotti 

"I’m not really a lingerer at the table. For a little lady, I take serious bites (and I like second helpings while they’re still warm, please). But at the oven, things are different. This biscotti recipe is for the slow Sunday cook in all of us. The name means “twice baked,” and they are, so there’s no rushing to the finish line.

This recipe can be varied in any number of ways—you can change up the nuts, add dried fruit, replace the almond extract with citrus zest, the list goes on and on. But start with the original first. I swear, you’ll want to make a batch every week."

Ingredients

13/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond extract)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

Directions

[Preheat Oven: 350˚] 1. Beat together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, working them in one at a time until fully incorporated. 2. Add the vanilla and butter, mixing well until the dough begins to form. It will not come together completely. Add the almonds and stir to evenly distribute. 3. Turn out the dough onto a cookie sheet with lightly floured hands. Divide it in half and shape it into two logs, each about 1 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches wide.4. Bake the biscotti for 20 minutes (this is the first of 2 times you’ll be baking them), rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Take it out and let the logs rest on the sheet for 20 minutes. They’ll still be slightly spongy to the touch, kind of like dense bread. Lower the oven temp to 250°F. 5. After 20 minutes, transfer the logs to a cutting board. Cut them into 1/2-inch slices using a serrated knife. Finally, move the slices (cut side up for any ends) back to one sheet and bake for 40 minutes more. The biscotti will still be slightly soft while warm but will harden fully once they’ve cooled.