The Best Christmas Cookies From Our Friends Around the World
Sunday was National Bake Christmas Cookies Day which got our collective sweet tooth yearning for sugary goodness.
At Represent, we're great at designing and printing campaigns but lack a certain culinary expertise. We put out a call on social media looking for people eager to share their sweet creations with us and did we get some great cookie entries.
Whether you're looking for an Old World staple in Gingerbread, a master piece remade in Lebanon or chocolate bonanza (did we mention it could very easily be made gluten free) in the Good Ole' US of A, we've got something for every family and every budget.
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies by Clean & Proper
For the best Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies You'll Need: Yields 3.5 dozen
1 c. butter, room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or almond!)
2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Uses American Standard Measurements
1) Cream the butter. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
2) In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add to the butter mixture, combining well. Ball up the dough and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 1-hour.
3) Rough doll into 1-inch ball, placing about 2-inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Press your thumb into each cooking, leaving an indention.
4) Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Do not brown. Cool on wire racks. Add a 1/2 tsp. dollar of chocolate frosting into each cookie indention. Let cool completely.
Frosting and Decorating You'll Need: Yields 1 cup
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1/4 c. milk or half and half
1/4 c. butter
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
1) Combine sugar, cocoa and milk in a heavy saucepan.
2) Bring to a boil and boil 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
3) Remove from heat, stir in the butter and almond extract. Beat until mixture is of spreading consistency.
Why does Sarah Jane from Clean & Proper love the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie?: "Since I was a little girl, my mother and I would make her recipe for Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies, which of course, I always believed to be Santa’s favorite cookie choice. Now that I am a mother of a two-year old, I am continuing the tradition of sharing this recipe with Santa and my family. The shortbread is just moist enough to be eaten alone, or paired with a hot cup of coffee or hot cocoa. The chocolate center contains just the right amount of sweetness and is quite delicious!"
About Clean & Proper:
Sarah Jane is a self-described military brat who has spent the vast majority of her life flitting between the east and west coast's of America before finally settling down with her husband and two-year old daughter in Washington DC. In 2012, Sarah Jane launched Clean & Proper, an outlet for her writing, her love for Southern cooking and heritage, and years of etiquette lessons. Over time, Clean & Proper has become a place to document Sarah Jane's journey into green living, gluten-free and clean eating, as well as eco-friendly cleaning products you can make at home.
Learn more about Sarah Jane and her tips for living a Clean and Proper lifestyle by visiting her [website] , becoming a Facebook follower, seeing what's pinned in her life on Pinterest, read her tweets at Twitter, or see the snapshots unfold on Instagram.
Sugar Cookies by Buttercut Bakery
For the best sugar cookies you will need:
Yield: about 40 cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
- 1 Cup of unsalted butter
- 1 Cup of granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 3 Cups all purpose flower Uses American Standard Measurements
1) Preheat your over to 350 F (or 180 C)
2) In your mixer’s bowl cream butter and sugar until the mixture is smooth (about 3 minutes on medium speed)
3) Beat in the egg and the vanilla
4) In a separate bowl combine the flour and the baking powder. Proceed by adding the mixture to the wet ingredients (a little at a time) until everything is well incorporated together.
5) Without chilling the dough, separate it into workable batches
6) Generously flour your surface, roll your dough (about a quarter of an inch thick) and cut your cookies into the desired shape.
7) Bake your cookies at 350 F for 8-10 minutes. Let them cool before decorating them.
Buttercut Bakery's Top Tips
The recipe yield will vary depending on how thick you make your cookies.
If your dough is too stiff, pour it on your counter and work it with your hands.
Try to be discrete as possible with measuring your ingredients (too much flour will make your dough dry, too much butter will make it very hard to work with, plus it might lose its shape after baking).
When your oven has been ON for long, cookies might take less than 8 minutes. The best baking is when your cookie’s edges turn golden brown.
About the Buttercut Bakery:
Pamela, a passionate 25 year old self-taught baker based in Lebanon, started baking from a young age and found she thoroughly enjoyed being in the kitchen. Taking her love of baking to another level, the business savvy Pamela launched her online venture Buttercut Bakery in November 2016 so that she could "share my delicious cookies with the world." All of her cookies are baked daily and are decorated by the talented baker herself! "I am hoping to expand my business," Pamela explained to us, "because nothing makes me happier than knowing people love what I do."
Prague, Czech Republic/ London, England
Gingerbread Angels, Stars and Bunnies
For the best and healthiest Gingerbread Angels and Bunnies You'll Need:
1 kg of honey
1 kg of wheat flour
4 egg yolks
250 g icing sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
10 cloves (grind yourself or buy ground)
20 allspice (grind yourself or buy ground)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5-7 flowers star anise
a pinch of ginger
1 teaspoon fennel (grind yourself or buy ground)
1 teaspoon anise (grind yourself or buy ground)
Pinch of sea salt
Spoonful of cocoa or molasses for the colour
1) Heat the honey and when it is hot knead it with the flour (including the baking soda, baking powder, icing sugar and all of the gingerbread spices, cocoa and sea salt).
2) Knead flour, egg yolks and honey mixture until soft and a bit springy. If you have a mixer it's best to let it do the work for you.
3) Once sufficiently kneaded, let the dough cool.
4) Wrap the dough in saran wrap or foil and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
5) The following day preheat oven 155 ° C and add baking paper to a cookie sheet.
6) Remove dough from the refrigerator and on a medium-floured surface roll the dough to 3-4mm.
7) Use your cookie cutters to being to cut gingerbread to desired shapes.
8) Add the gingerbread to the cookie sheet and brush with egg whites/ beaten egg with milk mixed together (this is your choice) to give it that perfect high-gloss look. Cook for 8-10 minutes depending upon your oven - look for the light brown colour.
Ideally Gingerbread cookies should be made 10 days in advance for softness. If you don't have 10 days, simply add an apple into a cardboard cookie box and the cookies will take the moisture from the apple.
When baking, the ideal colour should look light brown or pink when the gingerbread cookies are ready.