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“A Christmas Cookie”

December 22, 2011

I have been feeling a little haunted this Christmas, by ghosts of sugar cookies past. Let’s face it – sugar cookies can suck. I’ve made a lot of lacklustre cookies in my time and now that I’m writing this blog, I’ve been thinking about all those times I made sad cookies and what I can do to bring happier holiday baking to you. The result is a cookie that is good enough to accompany the rest of the amazing Christmas baking, rather than simply be relegated to the kids’ cookie decorating party. They also makes a great gift, since they’re kind of pretty too. I’m very happy with these sugar cookies, but “very happy” wouldn’t really do it for Dickens. To rephrase, these cookies make me feel “light as a feather…happy as an angel…merry as a school boy…giddy as a drunken man”!

Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies

1 recipe of any sugar cookie dough – I used the Ezra Pound Cake recipe (partly because of the blog’s awesome literary pun title!)

Divide the dough approximately in half with one half just slightly bigger.

Spiced Chocolate DoughOrange Zest Dough
zest from one orange
1/2 tsp vanilla

approximately 2 tbsp melted chocolate
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom

Mix in the add-ins well, roll the chocolate dough into a 1.5-2 inch rope and the orange dough into a ball. Cover both with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Using the chocolate dough rope, cut out long versions of these three shapes:

Basically, if you’re looking at your rope from either end, this is what you should see. Try to keep the shape as even as possible along the length of the rope.

Stack the middle on top of the base, and pull off pieces of the orange zest dough, moulding it into the spaces between the two chocolateropes. Press the dough in with your fingertips to make sure there aren’t air spaces. Add orange dough until you reach the tips of the middle piece and the base is surrounded. Then add the top piece to the middle piece and do the same again. Using the rest of the orange dough, surround the middle and top pieces so that there is a border of orange dough all around, including covering the tips. You could also add orange dough below the base, but I liked having the chocolate reach the bottom of the cookie.

Wrap the whole cookie log in plastic and place in the fridge for an hour. This step is really important so it doesn’t squish when you cut it. Once it’s cool, take out of the fridge and using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 inch cookie slices. Bake at 350˚ for 8-10 minutes, checking often. Serve piled on a plate – they look beautiful together – or give a stack to a friend as a gift!

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