It’s December! I can’t believe that it’s already more than a week into December and Christmas is fast approaching. No, I haven’t done my holiday shopping yet but I can already envision the empty bank account as I think about the things I have to buy. But the Christmas tree is up and I’m glad I got that done at least.
When December rolls around, cookies seem to be extra popular to bake. I’ve never done cookie exchanges or made cookie platters but I think it’s always fun to see people enjoy the things you make in the kitchen. These green tea white chocolate sugar cookies are extra tender and soft. The white chocolate in the batter softens the taste of green tea, which can come across as bitter to some people. But the green tea flavor is still bold and you might not even notice the white chocolate.
I put a dollop of royal icing on mine, because I made a whole batch to decorate the same cookies that were cut into Christmas tree shapes. But I didn’t realize that the royal icing wouldn’t stick onto the cookies because of the coating of green tea sugar. I had to force it onto the domed cookies by squeezing it straight onto the cookie and hoping it would stay. So, if you are planning on decorating these, you can skip the green tea sugar coating (ah, but that sugar is so delicious though!!).
Here are a couple of past posts for more holiday baking:
Christmas Wreath Macarons
Pomegranate Coconut Marshmallows and Coconut White Hot Chocolate
Green Tea White Chocolate Sugar Cookies
¾ c. sugar, divided
½ tsp. plus 2 tbsp. matcha
2 c. flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
½ c. brown sugar, packed
1 ½ tbsp. honey
1 large egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. lemon zest
3 oz. white chocolate, melted
- In a small bowl, whisk ½ c. sugar and ½ tsp. matcha together.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt and 2 tbsp. matcha.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, brown sugar, honey and ¼ c. sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add egg, egg yolk, and lemon zest and mix until pale.
- On low speed, add flour mixture and white chocolate.
- Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350˚F and scoop tablespoon sized dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. (I used a domed baking pan like the one here. I sprayed the pan with nonstick spray before putting the dough into the pan.)
- Bake 8-10 minutes, until the bottom and the edges are barely golden and the tops no longer look wet.
- Immediately, toss cookies into reserved green tea sugar gently and let cool before eating.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.
Having lived in New Jersey for most of my life, Christmas is synonymous with cold weather and snow. We don’t get a white Christmas often, but when we do that particular Christmas feels that much more special. Now I’m not saying you need snow to make Christmas special, but these little nuggets will make it seem like Jack Frost hit your house for the night.
It really couldn’t be easier. You toss in any kind of nut (I used walnuts) into a food processor or you can even crush it with a rolling pin, and process it until it becomes similar to corn meal. Then in a separate bowl you cream butter with sugar and vanilla extract and then you add your flour, ground nut, salt and nutmeg. I suggest grating fresh nutmeg. It really adds that extra special holiday flair. Dose it onto a cookie sheet and you don’t even have to roll them into balls if you don’t want to. Bake until pale brown and toss with powdered sugar when cool.
It looks like a snow dome or a half formed snowball. Kissed with some nutmeg and powdered sugar, It melts in your mouth but has a substantial bite that is characteristic of all nut cookies. Enjoy! 🙂
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. walnuts, almonds, or pecans (you can really use any nut you want)
¾ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
8 oz. unsalted butter, at room temp
⅓ c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ c. powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
- In a food processor, pulse two cups of nuts until finely ground.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, ground nut, kosher salt and nutmeg together.
- In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix until homogenous.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
- Scoop out tablespoon sized portions of cookie dough and roll into balls.
- Bake 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Let cool.
- Once cool, toss each cookie with powdered sugar (the more it is covered, the better) and consume.
Snowball cookie recipe adapted from the brown eyed baker.
Am I the only person that thinks that Christmas snuck upon us this year? I feel like I was waiting forever for Thanksgiving and then BAM! Christmas is right around the corner. (Did anyone else think of this Friends’ scene when they read BAM?) I’ve been dreaming of these macarons since December started and I finally had a chance to bake them earlier this week.
Is it cold where you live? It’s been freezing in NJ and I am not used to working in a cooler kitchen. The weather must’ve been super dry because my macaron shells set before I was able to place my sprinkles, hence the little cracks in the shell where I tried to force each sprinkle in with a pair of tweezers (kitchen-use-only-tweezers). I have to admit I was getting quite frustrated with making them and then this happened:
Here are my attempts at his mug shots.
The thing is, Bear, my cat loves to watch me bake and prep food on the kitchen table. He demands to sit on his own chair and Petey (my other cat) was occupying Bear’s usual space. Fed up with watching from the floor, he decided to get up close and onto the table where the trays of macarons were drying. If you don’t know already, macaron batter is sticky and it took forever to get the green goo out of his tiny paws. Not to mention the trail of green batter on the floor he left when he ran away from me.
Despite my frustrations making this particular recipe, I think the macarons would make a cute addition to any cookie platter and add a bit of holiday flair. You can also change up the look of the macaron with different sprinkles. Just make sure you put them on before the shells dry out. If you don’t, they’ll just bounce off like hail on cement pavement.
Christmas Wreath Macarons
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
green gel food color
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
- Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear. Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
- In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
- Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
- Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
- Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks. Add two drops of the green gel food color and mix until batter turns a bright shade of green.
- Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty. From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”. The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
- With a pastry bag fitted with a ¼ in. plain tip, pipe a ring of macaron batter leaving the hole in the center as wide as possible. (If you do not, it will close up when the macaron bakes.)
- Before the batter dries, place your sprinkles in the desired area.
- The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter are dry to the touch, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 275-325˚F. If your oven tends to run hot go for 275˚, if not then 325˚.
- Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth. The batter is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
- Let cool and fill.
Basic Vanilla Frosting
2 c. whole milk
½ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 1b. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
- Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
- Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
- In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
- Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
*Basic macarons adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel.