Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Cookies as Health Food?

Some years ago, after gifting plates of Christmas cookies to my coworkers, one of them asked me for a recipe, which I typed up and gave to her the next day. She came back to my desk later and incredulously asked, "Do you know that this recipe has the same amount of butter as flour?" indicating that she would NEVER eat something so unhealthy (after, of course, finishing the plate of cookies). In fact the recipe has less than half as much butter as flour, but the larger point is that I wouldn't EXPECT Christmas cookies to be health food....they are a once a year indulgence and should be enjoyed as such. As a general rule, I try to cook and consume healthy, well-balanced, nutritious meals on a daily basis, however, as someone who really enjoys eating, I need to balance the healthy stuff with an occasional splurge. Allowing myself a piece or two of chocolate on the weekend enables me to stick to my diet the rest of the week. Tomorrow is time enough to resume your normal, hopefully healthy diet! Have some cookies (but only a couple)!

Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Makes about 150 small sandwiches
Oven Temperature: 350° or 375° depending on thickness

3-1⁄2 sticks butter (that equals 1-3/4 cups butter, if you are keeping track!)
3⁄4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
3-3⁄4 cups all purpose flour (17 oz. by weight)
seedless red raspberry preserves
semisweet chocolate chips, melted

Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and flour and beat just until blended. Divide dough into quarters, and roll each quarter out between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to desired thickness (approximately 1⁄4”). Slide cookie dough (still in plastic wrap) onto tray and refrigerate one hour or until solid. When dough is chilled, take out one portion, remove plastic and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Repeat with remaining portions of dough. Take all scraps from around cookies and put them between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll out, refrigerate until solid again and cut out. Repeat until all dough has been used up. Bake 1⁄4” thick cookies at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes, thinner cookies for less time at 350° until lightly browned. When cool, sandwich pairs of cookies, bottom sides together, with seedless raspberry preserves, then dip one end in melted semisweet chocolate. Place on waxed or parchment paper and refrigerate to set chocolate. Store in airtight containers with waxed or parchment paper between the layers. These freeze well as long as they are tightly wrapped.

Notes & Pointers:
Cookie recipes always seem to direct you to chill the dough, then roll it out. Once the dough is cold it’s impossible to flatten it out. The way I do it, rolling out the soft dough between sheets of plastic wrap is simple and you really don’t need to add any flour, which means the re-rolled scraps of dough won’t get tough. Try it…it works!

1 comment:

Angela said...

I made these and brought them to Thanksgiving, though I made made them with a 'regular' sized cookie cutter as opposed to a mini one. I wish I had used the mini one though because there were not enough to go around! Everyone loved them! Thanks for the recipe!!