Cookies yule love…
Nothing says Christmas more than the smell of nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon all baking in the oven. Some of my fondest childhood memories are hours baking Christmas cookies with my mum, decorating a few and then eating way too many! Making festive treats is a great way of making lovely presents for family, whilst also keeping idle little hands busy during the holidays. These recipes are all relatively easy and all have an element ideal to get the kiddies involved in the baking process. Keep an eye out for tiny hands tips at the end of each recipe, after all, you’re working to raise smart little cookies! The last recipe is less for the kids and more to get mama’s in the Christmas spirit. Serve with a hot cup of eggnog and you’re on your way to a holly jolly ho-ho-holiday!
Read more: Christmas Hamper for the Holidays
We all know that Rudolph is magical, so it makes sense to recreate a little treat to honour this red-nosed reindeer…
2 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons coarse salt
220g butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla or hazelnut essence
½ cup hazelnut spread e.g. Nutella
- Preheat oven to 170°C and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a small bowl.
- In a medium bowl cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture becomes pale yellow and fluffy.
- Next add the eggs and vanilla/hazelnut essence and mix together for another 3-5 minutes until the mixture is well incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated and the dough holds together.
- Using a table spoon scoop out servings of the dough and roll the dough into balls. Press each ball gently in the centre with your thumb or the handle of a wooden spoon to make an indentation – be careful to not press all the way through.
- Bake for about 10 minutes. The cookies should still be slightly soft when you remove them from the oven!
Tip: If your oven does not bake evenly, rotate the baking sheet in the oven after 5 minutes of baking.
- Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let them cool.
- Once cool, place around a teaspoon of Nutella in the centre of each cookie.
Tiny hands: Get the kids to roll out the cookies, make the thumbprint indentation in the middle and scoop in blobs of Nutella.
Even Santa’s little helpers need a snack now and again – and these sugary snacks will keep energy levels high.
2 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup sugar, caster
½ teaspoon peppermint essence
2-3 drops of green food colouring
- Preheat the oven to 120°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using an electric mixer, whip the eggs whites in a clean bowl until they start to become frothy. Add the salt and continue to whip until soft peaks start to form.
- Gradually add the sugar a little bit at a time while continually whipping. Make sure the sugar dissolves before adding another load.
- Once all the sugar is added whip the mixture until stiff peaks form (the mixture should hold when you lift the mixer).
- Whisk in the peppermint essence and food colouring. Add colouring until you reach the colour you want, but be careful of adding too much colouring as it might make the mixture too runny.
- Pipe or spoon the meringue onto the baking sheet, bite size blobs work best.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Decorate with crushed candy cane or chocolate.
Tiny hands: Get the kids to pipe or scoop blobs of meringue on a baking sheet and to decorate the meringues with crushed candy cane or chocolate, as soon as they come out of the oven.
These are Santa’s favourite for a reason! Best enjoyed with a tall glass of milk, next to the fireplace (or a flickering candle for most Hong Kong homes).
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
120g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar, light brown
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Sift together flour, baking powder, all the spices and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
- In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. It is best to do this with an electric mixture if you’re less experienced as this mixture needs to be very light.
- Add in the egg and vanilla and mix for another minute or two.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix using a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated. The dough is ready when it can be shaped into a ball.
- Divide the ball into two pieces, wrap them in separate pieces of cling film. If you slightly flatten them, they are easier to roll out later. Let the dough rest for at least 2 hours (or overnight if you can).
- Preheat the oven to 160°C and prepare a baking sheet by placing parchment or baking paper on the sheet.
- Transfer one half of the dough to a floured surface and cover with a floured sheet of parchment paper. Roll out to just over ½ cm in thickness.
- Cut out shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheet. As soon as a tray is filled up place it in the oven.
- Bake for 12 minutes, until they are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Repeat this process with the second half of the dough.
- Eat as is or decorate with royal icing.
Tiny hands: Get the kids to cut out the cookies with different shaped cutters and decorate the cookies with royal icing. The more rustic they look the better!
As Christmas’ most understated hero, Mrs Claus definitely deserves a treat of her own. Yes, this is our way of patting you on the back for surviving the silly season!
220g butter, unsalted, room temperature
5ml rum essence
½ cup sugar
2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
Icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 160°C and prepare a rectangular baking sheet (20cm x 18 cm) by laying it out with parchment paper
- Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, nutmeg and salt) in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter until fluffy then add the sugar and rum essence. Continue until the mixture is light yellow and airy.
- Next, add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated.
- Place the dough into the prepared pan and pat it so it’s even. Prick holes in the dough with a fork or a toothpick at equal intervals.
- Bake for around 35-40 minutes or until the dough is firm – it shouldn’t become too brown.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting and dusting with icing sugar
Christmas is a lovely time to spend with family and I can’t think of a better way to spread the holiday cheer than by sharing something made with love. It is, after all, the season of giving!
Featured image via Unsplash
Images #1-4 taken by Leandi Archer