With Christmas only a couple weeks away, Rania Harris stopped by Pittsburgh Today Live to show off some great recipes for two variations of Christmas cookies!
Christmas Sugar Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
½ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Few drops green and red food coloring (if desired)
White decorating sugar
Green and Red decorating sugar
To Make the Cookies:
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat well. Add the dry ingredients, in three parts, and mix until just combined.
Shape the dough into three flat disks, wrap each disk tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Working with one disk at a time, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness.
Using various holiday cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and place on baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing them 2 inches apart. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator and chill for an additional 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and place in the oven. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
To Make the Icing:
In the top of a double boiler, over simmering water, combine all of the ingredients. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth. Tint with food coloring, if desired. Remove from the heat, transfer to a glass measuring cup, and allow to cool to lukewarm before using.
To Ice the Cookies:
Spread a light coating of icing on each cookie and then sprinkle the decorating sugar over the icing. (Let the icing set for a few hours before stacking the cookies.)
If no food coloring is used, decorate the cookies with the white decorating sugar. If red and green food coloring is used, decorate the cookies with the coordinating sugar.
Yield: Approximately 3 dozen cookies
Linzer Christmas Trees Cookies
3 cups all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
2/3 cup sugar
1 ¼ cups unsalted butter – room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups raspberry jam
Combine flour, salt, baking powder in a medium bowl.
Finely grind nuts with 2/3 cup sugar in a food processor.
Using an electric mixer beat butter in medium bowl until light. Add the ground nut mixture; beat to blend. Beat in egg, yolk and extract. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture.
Divide dough into 4 portions. Flatten each into disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Roll out 1 dough disk on heavily floured work surface to thickness of 1/8-inch. Cut out cookies, using a floured 3 -1/4 x 2 inch tree shaped cutter.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet about ½-inch apart.
Cut out rounds or ornaments (using a 3/8-inch round pastry bag tip) from half of the cookies. Gather scraps; reshape into disk and refrigerate. Bake cookies until golden (about 10 minutes).
Repeat process with remaining dough. Sift powdered sugar over cookies with ornament cutouts. Spread jam over solid trees and top with ornament cutouts. Press gently to adhere.
Yield: 4 dozen