The holiday season is upon us. We’ve been saying since September, “You know what I can’t wait for?” “What?” One of us would reply, “CHRISTMAS.” Both of our families put a huge emphasis on Christmas as we were growing up. Partly for your American movie classics, decorating the tree and presents on Christmas morning. But for us, it also holds the religious significance of Christ being born. So, yeah – a baby Jesus and seeing Riggs and Murtaugh fight crime is a big deal around here.
We are slowly beginning to make our own Christmas traditions during this second holiday season since getting married. We recently attended Las Noches de la Luminarias at DBG and it should be a separate post altogether – but it’s a Phoenix must for those visiting around this time of the year, or for us Phoenicians who want a nice date night activity. The event is also surprisingly a great place to get drunk off of spiked apple cider – according to the very colorful woman who passed us on the trail. Aside from this, another tradition that I’ve personally adopted is spending time in the kitchen (pause for cheesy anti-feminist joke). My mother-in-law as well as my own mom are both great cooks and bakers. My mother-in-law makes peppermint bark every year and my mom makes about 20 rum cakes in which she could do in her sleep. So I thought that it was only fair that I find some recipes to try out in these early years before I find “the one.”
These Christmas cookies are not “the one,” however they were pretty fun to make. A family friend of Randsom’s gifted us a subscription to Bon Appetit as a wedding gift – brilliant if you ask me. For those of you that live under a rock, Bon Appetit is the Beyoncé of the culinary magazine world. These beautiful cookies are a part of the December 2018/January 2019 issue – which you can still run out and get today. I had a hard time choosing which recipe to make – there are pages full of perfectly designed treats, but I was more confident with the shortbread cookies in that I wouldn’t completely screw them up. Which, I didn’t completely screw them up….
The ingredient list is minimal – which was another appealing aspect of this baking adventure. I didn’t break the bank, and I was able to make enough cookies for 12 of Randsom’s coworkers and still have leftover for us (because what kind of masochistic person doesn’t make enough for themselves too). The process was fairly simple – combining ingredients in the mixer, separating out the vanilla and the chocolate dough.
The most important step was stacking the chocolate and vanilla dough in a rectangle on top of one another, alternating between until 4 layers are made. With the help of saran wrap, you then roll the dough to create “tubes.” This proved to be interesting, as I placed the chocolate dough on the bottom, creating a giant poo-shaped log. Very appetizing. At this point I was a little nervous as to how visually appealing these things were going to be. While waiting an hour for the dough to harden in the refrigerator, I looked up a few other cookie recipes in Bon Appetit – just in case.
The Final Steps
Here comes the fun part. After removing the dough, you get to roll it in crystal sugar until coated. In the interest of full disclosure, the crystal sugar was the most expensive item that I bought for these. You could probably use a different kind, or even sprinkles for that matter – but this sugar is glittery, and stands out against the chocolate which is why the cookies are perfect for the holiday season.
Next, cut the roll with a sharp knife, about 1/2 an inch wide. To my surprise, I rolled the dough the wrong way, which resulted in swirly shortbread cookies instead of zebra stripes. They’re still pretty, okay? Bake for a short time and there you have it.
Randsom and I both like that these are not ultra-sweet like a lot of holiday treats. The shortbread is actually very mild in taste – but the sugar coated rim offers a nice balance. For those of you who are amateur bakers – this is a fun, and hard-to-ruin selection…even if I do roll the dough the wrong way.