BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked


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The Christmas Cookies That Weren’t

Despite best intentions, holiday gifts always end up as a rushed, last-minute affair. What with the endless waffling over precisely what to make and share, there ends up being little time to actually bake, wrap, and ship those treats off so that they arrive before the appointed holidays have passed. Well, for the first year in recent memory, those sweets never made it to the post office at all, let alone their destinations. To put it simply, it was an “epic fail” on my part.

Still borderline delirious after being taken out by a vicious head cold, perhaps it was not the best idea to leap into a project of such scale. But oh, what false confidence I had! I even did a test run of the recipe, to make sure it was tasty, reasonably mail-able, and all around a solid choice. Shaped as adorable little wreaths and brilliantly emerald green, they were so perfectly festive, too! Glittering with a light sprinkle of coarse sugar, I was certain that these sweet, minty little numbers would be the hit of the holidays. Of course, I tested them as a small batch… And I foolishly believed that this formula could effortlessly be increased, by four times, no less.

No dice. As soon as the mixer started to crank up into gear, I knew I was in deep sh– …dough. Flour and sugar spraying over the sides of my overburdened mixing bowl like a lawn sprinkler on a rampage, those ingredients had no desire to come together and make cookies. Feverishly working to remedy the situation and add more of the dry goods with no rhyme, reason, or measuring, things only got worse with every haphazard addition. The dough was unsalvageable; a depressing lump of lurid green goo that no one in their right mind would want to consume.

So, to all of my friends and loved ones, these are the cookies that you should have received this holiday season:

Can you accept an IOU, and the (successful, small batch) recipe, instead?

Minted Matcha Wreaths

1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine
4 Ounces (1/2 Package) Vegan “Cream Cheese”
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 3/4 Teaspoon Matcha Powder
1 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract
1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Garbanzo Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

Decorative White Sugar Crystals, or Turbinado Sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheet with silpats or parchment paper. Set aside.

In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment installed, thoroughly cream together the margarine, “cream cheese,” sugar, and matcha, so that the mixture is homogeneous. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure that everything is incorporated. Add in both extracts, mix to combine, and set aside.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together all of the remaining dry goods for the cookies so that the ingredients are well-distributed throughout the mixture. Slowly add them to the stand mixer, incorporating them in 2 or 3 separate additions. The resulting batter with be very thick, and it may seem like it’s not going to come together, but just be patient; Do not, under and circumstances, add any extra liquid!

Once you achieve a cohesive dough, place a few mounds of it into your spritz cookie gun, which should already have the design you desired installed (the wreath shape, if you want to keep with the intended theme here.) Squeeze out cookies as directed by the manufacturer of the gun, reload when you run out of dough, and repeat. Lightly sprinkle decorative sugar on top of the cookies.

Bake for 8 – 12 minutes, until no long “wet” looking on top and the cookies look solid, with just the vaguest hint of golden color around the edges. Be sure to pull them before they become too brown, or you’ll loose the effect of having pretty green wreaths.

Let the cookies cool on the sheets for at least 10 minutes, and then completely on a wire rack.

Makes 40 – 50 Cookies

Printable Recipe


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Mmmaple

Though endlessly tempted by the idea of lining up a “12 days of cookies” series of posts, it just never seems to work out. Six days into December and only now do I remember those grand plans, dreamed up in warm August, so far away from the holiday action. How time flies, and how impossibly busy this season always turns out to be. Regardless, I’ve always been an advocate of quality over quantity, so I’ll save the indecision and uncertainty over questionable cookies, and just present you with one fail-safe, fool-proof winner of a baked good. Who needs the extra 11 recipes if they’ll never get made, anyway?

Both simple in concept and complex in flavor, these sweet little gems will satisfy the sweet tooth of anyone on your list. Rich maple flavor carries these surprisingly soft cookies, accented by the subtle warmth of ginger. Tame enough for the kids to appreciate but still plenty sophisticated for all types of palates, I instantly regretted preparing only a half batch the first time around- They flew faster than I could press two together into a sandwich!

The funny thing is, I thought these were absolute goners as they went into the oven. Impossibly soft, sticky dough molded into delicate little shapes? There was no chance they would stand up to the heat of the oven… And yet, out they came, as perfectly shaped as before. Just treat them with a gentle hand and keep the dough as cold as possible, and you shouldn’t end up with any amorphous cookie blobs, either.

Maple-Ginger Sandwich Cremes

Maple-Ginger Cookies:

1 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine
2 Tablespoons Vegan “Cream Cheese”
1/2 Cup Maple Sugar
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
1 Teaspoon Maple Extract, Optional
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch

Ginger Creme Filling:

1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine
2 – 3 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

In your stand mixer, cream together the margarine, “cream cheese,” maple sugar and brown sugar, until softened and smooth. Add in the maple syrup, extract, and salt, and beat on a low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula before proceeding, to make sure that everything is being incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift together the ginger, flour, and starch, before adding the mixture slowly into the bowl of the stand mixer. Slowly mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until you achieve a smooth, cohesive dough. Scrape it out and cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough thoroughly until firm; at least 2 hours.

Ounce chilled, preheat your oven to 325 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

Cut your dough in half, and on a lightly floured surface, roll one half out to about 1/8 inch in thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes of any sort, but try to keep them on the smaller side. My maple leaves were just about an inch wide. Use a thin metal spatula to remove the cut shapes and transfer them to your prepared baking sheets, to prevent tearing or mushing. Be gentle, because it is a very soft dough. If you have trouble removing them from the counter, place a frozen metal cookie sheet over the whole length of dough, and allow the dough to cool down and become firmer before trying to move the cookies again.

Place your sheet of cut but unbaked cookies in the freezer for just 15 minutes before sliding it into the oven, to make sure they all hold their shape. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until the edges are just barely golden. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for about 15 minutes before transferring them to wire racks. Repeat with the remaining half of dough, and re-roll scraps and repeat once more.

For the filling, once the cookies are completely cool, begin by beating the margarine in your stand mixer to soften. Add in the first 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar, along with the spices, vanilla, and maple syrup. Mix on low speed until the sugar is mostly incorporated, and then turn it up to high, whipping the mixture for 3 – 5 minutes until light and fluffy. If it still seems too loose to you, add in the remaining cup of confectioner’s sugar, and whip on high again. Spread on cookies and sandwich two together.

Yield depends on size of cookie cutters; Makes about 2 Dozen 1-Inch Sandwich Cookies

Printable Recipe

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