It is exactly one month before Christmas, and today my Christmas tree has arrived! I am so inspired by the holiday spirits that my tree brings, that I have decided to celebrate by baking some festive cookies for my friends. What better ways are there to share the joy, really? Wrap each cookie up in individual clear bags, pop them all into a clear container, dish them up nicely on a serving table – so many ways to dress them up.
- One cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a thoroughly chilled dough – especially if you work in a warm kitchen, or live in a warm city like Hong Kong! You would notice that in the instructions below, I advise you to split your dough into 2 discs. It is really up to you, but I find it more efficient and effective to alternate between doughs – place the warmed one back into the fridge as you work with the chilled one. Split into more portions if you wish.
- It gets pretty frustrating when your dough starts to stick to your work surface or your rolling pin since the shape would ruin as you peel it off. Go generous on dusting your work surface, your dough and your rolling pin.
- If you are trying out the gummy candies option, less is more when it comes to filling the holes. Make sure that you don’t completely fill up the hole or pile above the rim, otherwise you will end up with a pretty messy-looking cookie with leaked candies.
- Your dough can stay in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Your cookies, another 4-5 days in an air-tight container.
Here is the recipe that I used, adapted from the book “Gifts From The Kitchen” by Annie Rigg. This recipe is delicious, great for rolling, and extremely versatile.
What You Need:
Makes 36-40 cookies (2″-3″ each)
- 225g unsalted butter, softened
- 110g icing sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 350g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- a pinch of salt
- 1 small bag of assorted gummy candies and / or 5 tablespoons of your favorite jam
What To Do:
Preparing your Dough and Candies:
- Cream the softened butter and icing sugar together until pale and light. Add the whole egg, vanilla extract and almond extract and mix again until thoroughly combined. Sift the flour with the salt, add to the bowl and mix again until smooth.
- Gather the dough and split into 2 balls, flatten each into a disc and wrap in cling-wrap. Chill for a few hours or until firm enough for rolling.
- If you are using gummy candies, use a pair of kitchen scissors and cut each candy into tiny pieces (depending how big a hole you need to fill later). If you are using jam, scoop the jam out and place into a bowl. Use a spoon to stir and press out any chunks, or until the consistency is smooth enough to spread easily.
Assembling your Cookies:
- When your dough is ready, preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and line your cookie tray with a piece of non-stick baking sheet.
For Single-Layer Jewel Cookies:
- Lightly dust a work surface and roll out the dough until it is roughly 5mm thick.
- Using your favorite cookie cutters (I used snowflakes and Christmas trees), stamp out your shapes.
- Using a small cookie cutter or a small sharp knife, cut out holes as desired. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet and carefully fill the holes with the gummy bits. Be careful not to overfill the holes.
For Sandwiched Jewel Cookies:
- Lightly dust a work surface and roll out the dough until it is roughly 3mm thick.
- Using your favorite cookie cutters (I used stars and Christmas trees), stamp out your shapes to use as the bottom layer.
- Arrange your cookie doughs on the prepared baking sheet. Spread your favorite jam on each cookie dough.
- Using the same cookie cutters, stamp out your shapes to use as the top layer.
- Using a small cookie cutter or a small sharp knife, cut out holes as desired. Place each on top of the jammed bottom layer. You will not need to press it down.
Baking your Cookies:
- Bake in batches on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are pale golden and the edges show a hint of gold. You should see that your gummy have melted and filled the holes.
- Cool the cookies on cooling tray until hardened. You can package them in any way that you wish once they are completely cold.