Christmas is the time for cookies

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Christmas is the time for cookies

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Renee Brock
Christmas cookies: Cheddar kale chip, Espresso Shortbread, Lemon spritz, and Rosemary crisp (styling by Lisa Rochon ) (Photography by Renee Brock/Special)

These recipes and baking tips are courtesy of private chef Lisa Rochon:

A few tips for the cookie baker:

Parchment paper is a great tool. Use it to line cookie sheets, to wrap dough for the refrigerator and to tuck the cookies into their tins.

Be sure you’re organized. Work on one type of dough at a time and measure everything out so you are sure you have everything you need.

Unless you’re making cookies where some type of pastry is involved, leave your butter out at least four hours before you want to mix up your dough so it can come to room temperature.

Wrap your prepared doughs in parchment paper and then in plastic wrap or a plastic refrigerator bag to keep them fresh until you’re ready to bake.

 

Cheddar Kale Chip

Hands on: 15 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes plus chilling time

Makes: 88 chips

The full teaspoon of cayenne makes for spicy cookies. Reduce the amount if that suits your household best.

2 cups packed grated white cheddar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup diced kale, 1/4-inch pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream cheddar and butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Turn mixer off, add milk, cover bowl lightly and turn mixer on. Beat until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add kale, Creole seasoning, cayenne and thyme. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add flour in 1/2 cup increments, beating well between each addition.

Transfer dough to a work surface and divide in half. Knead each half to form an 11-inch log approximately 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap logs in parchment paper and refrigerate at least one hour. For longer storage, wrap again in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to one month.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one log from refrigerator and cut dough into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange slices 1/2-inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until the edges being to turn golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining log. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. If cookies lose crispness, refresh by baking 5 minutes in a 300 degree oven.

Per chip: 21 calories (percent of calories from fat, 54), 1 gram protein, 2 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 1 gram fat (1 gram saturated), 4 milligrams cholesterol, 40 milligrams sodium.

 

Espresso Shortbread

Hands on: 20 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes, plus chilling time

Makes: 40 cookies

If you wish, embellish your shortbread by dipping half into melted dark or semi-sweet chocolate. Arrange on a clean sheet of parchment paper until chocolate has firmed up. Chocolate espresso beans are available at the DeKalb Farmers Market and Trader Joe’s. Medaglia d’Oro instant espresso powder is available in the coffee section of some grocery stores. When measuring the chocolate espresso beans, be generous.

1/4 cup dark chocolate espresso beans

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Fold a cookie-sheet size piece of parchment paper in half. Put half the chocolate espresso beans inside the folded parchment. Using a rolling pin, lightly crush the beans until pieces are no more than 1/4-inch square. Reserve crushed pieces and repeat process with remaining beans. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, espresso powder and salt and beat 3 minutes. Stop mixer and add 1/2 cup flour and 1 tablespoon crushed chocolate espresso beans. Run mixer until flour is incorporated, then repeat addition of flour and beans until all ingredients are incorporated. Beat 2 minutes.

Remove dough from mixer and place between two layers of parchment paper. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, keeping dough square. Move dough to a cookie sheet and refrigerate at least one hour.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Remove dough from refrigerator and cut into 3-by-1-inch rectangles. Arrange 1/2-inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12 minutes or just until edges begin to brown lightly. Move to wire rack to cool. Dip in chocolate if desired.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Per cookie: 55 calories (percent of calories from fat, 55), 1 gram protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 3 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 9 milligrams cholesterol, 14 milligrams sodium.

 

Lemon Spritz

Hands on: 40 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes plus chilling time

Makes: 96 cookies

To make vanilla spritz, leave out lemon extract and lemon zest and increase vanilla to 1 tablespoon. Use milk instead of lemon juice to make the glaze.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided

2 eggs

1 tablespoon lemon extract

1/2 tablespoon vanilla

Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, lemon extract, vanilla, lemon zest and salt and beat 3 minutes. Stop mixer and add flour 1/2 cup at a time, beating just until incorporated between additions. Dough should form a soft ball.

Remove dough from mixer and divide in half. Wrap each portion in parchment paper and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. For longer storage, wrap again in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to one month.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one portion of dough from refrigerator and put into cookie press fitted with decorative plate of your choice. Press cookies onto parchment paper, 1 inch apart. If dough is too stiff, allow to sit at room temperature 5 minutes and try again. When all cookies are pressed, bake 10 minutes or just until edges begin to brown lightly. Move to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining half of dough.

While cookies are cooling, make glaze by combining lemon juice and remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Using a fork, drizzle glaze over cooled cookies. Let dry completely before storing. If planning to freeze spritz cookies, do not glaze until thawed and ready to serve.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Per cookie: 59 calories (percent of calories from fat, 49), 1 gram protein, 7 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 3 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 12 milligrams cholesterol, 8 milligrams sodium.

 

Rosemary Crisp

Hands on: 15 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes, plus chilling time

Makes: 96 cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, cream cheese and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, rosemary, vanilla and Creole seasoning and beat 3 minutes. Stop mixer and add flour 1/2 cup at a time, beating just until incorporated between additions. Dough will be slightly sticky.

Transfer dough to a work surface and divide in half. Knead one half to form a 12-inch log approximately 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Arrange log on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with half the turbinado sugar. Roll log in sugar until all surfaces are coated. Wrap log in parchment paper and refrigerate at least one hour. Repeat with remaining portion of dough. For longer storage, wrap again in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to one month.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one log from refrigerator and cut dough into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange slices 1/2-inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until the edges being to turn golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining log. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Per cookie: 46 calories (percent of calories from fat, 46), 1 gram protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 2 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 9 milligrams cholesterol, 8 milligrams sodium.

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