Holiday baking season is finally here!
Baking is fun anytime of year, but there’s something special about all of the cookie swaps, snowflake/christmas tree/candy cane shaped cookies and everyone coming together to make a floury, sticky-frosting mess in the kitchen during the holidays.
I love making these pillowy sugar cookies.
Sugar cookies have found themselves to be a predominantly “holiday” cookie, but you can switch up the flavours with different extracts (I like peppermint, almond and lemon), making them ideal for baking anytime of year.
These cookies are so easy. The dough comes together in no time then you just refrigerate it for a while, roll it out, cut shapes and bake them.
Then, it’s time to decorate! I like to use royal icing to decorate these because it’s pretty versatile. You can make it thicker to pipe outlines on cookies or loosen it up and “flood” your cookies to make fun designs which is what you normally see.
Sprinkles, pearls, mini chocolate chips, coloured sugar and crushed candy canes are a must for your decorating needs. Put it on while your icing is still setting and they’ll stick on perfectly!
You’ll get a lot of cookies out of this batch of dough. Feel free to freeze it for later if you don’t want to make too many at one time. 🙂
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out dough onto a floured surface 1/4-1/2″ thick. Cut into shapes.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes. Let cool completely, then decorate.
- In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. (If you want to thin out your icing, add a little water until it reaches your desired consistency).
- Finish decorating with any sprinkles, etc. you want. Enjoy!
We’re getting all Spanish on the blog this week with the recipe for some fluffy, lemony magdalenas.
These are similar to the French madeleine but are made in cupcake form, have a little more lemon love and don’t need a fancy pan to make them!
They come together so fast and they taste really good. Chances are you have all of the ingredients at home already, maybe with the exception of the lemons.
A cup of tea or coffee and a magdalena are a match made in heaven, trust me 😉 It’s like having a little bite of sunshine on these dreary, wet days here in Portland.
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- Zest of two lemons
- 1 tbsp. milk
- 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place 12 cupcake liners in a muffin pan and set aside.
- Whisk together the eggs and sugar. Melt your butter and slowly add it to the eggs and sugar, mixing to incorporate. Add the lemon zest and milk.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder, then add to the other ingredients to create your batter.
- Fill each cupcake liner 1/2 full and sprinkle with some sugar.
- Bake for 18 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. Place on a wire rack to cool.
It’s been so long since I made macarons that I actually think I was having some withdrawal symptoms.
I’ve been dreaming up this flavour combination for a long time. I made up my own pumpkin spice mix at the beginning of the autumn season when I made these pumpkin spice sugar cookies so I have a nice little jar of the stuff in my cupboard that’s been calling my name asking to be used.
Who am I to argue with the magical combination of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and cloves?
I won’t do it. Give in to the pumpkin spice call.
These macarons don’t contain any actual pumpkin, just the sweet spice taste of the season in both the shell and gauche.
It’s good, guys.
I tried to have the shells be a bright vibrant orange colour, but because I used the Italian meringue method for these guys, it ended up as a pale orange/peachy colour. Beautiful, just not what I was going for. Next time I’ll use the whole bottle of orange gel colouring 😉
Pumpkin Spice Macarons with Chocolate Ganache:
Makes about 40 macarons
- 200g powdered sugar
- 200g almond flour
- 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
- 160g egg whites, separated into two 80g portions
- 200g sugar
- 2 1/2 fl. oz. water
- Orange gel/powder food colouring (optional)
- 6 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- In a food processor, process the almond flour and powdered sugar. Sift into a bowl and set aside.
- In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Without stirring, make sure the temperature of the syrup doesn’t go above 240°F.
- Gently beat 80g of egg whites to soft peaks, then increase the speed of your mixer when the temperature of the syrup hits 220°F. When the syrup reaches 240°F remove from the heat and pour in a thin stream into the beaten egg whites. Continue to beat meringue for about 10 minutes so it cools.
- Combine the almond flour/powdered sugar and remaining 80g egg whites, making a smooth almond paste. Add the pumpkin spice and food coloring (if using) and fully incorporate into paste.
- Using a flexible spatula, incorporate about 1/3 of the meringue into the almond paste to loosen the mixture, then add the rest of the meringue, carefully incorporating it into the batter.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Put the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large pastry tip. Pipe out rounds, about 1-1 1/2″ wide. Tap the bottom of trays against your countertop and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 300°F. Bake macarons, one sheet at a time, for 14 minutes.
- To make the ganache, put your chopped chocolate and pumpkin spice in a heatproof bowl. Bring your cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let it stand for about a minute, then stir to create your ganache. Let it cool and thicken until it reaches a piping consistency.
- Pipe your ganache onto one half of each macaron pair and gently sandwich together.