Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Ribbon Cookies

And so, it has begun. The holiday baking season. So let's start out with something totally easy that looks pretty impressive: Ribbon Cookies. If you've been reading my blog you may have read my post for Candy Corn Cookies. They were great and I told you I'd be fiddling around with the recipe. And so I have. I basically took that same recipe and changed the colors from yellow and orange to red and green. I also simplified the layering of the dough. Just smoosh it into a pan rather than rolling and shaping and bla bla bla. Easy peasy. An added bonus is that you can make the dough a week or two ahead, layer it in the pan and then freeze it until you are ready to bake the cookies. Kind of spreads the holiday baking frenzy out over a couple of weeks. So what are you waiting for, get your Holiday Bake on. . .

The players: butter, powdered sugar, an egg, vanilla, almond extract, orange juice (I squeeze fresh from and orange and also use the zest from the orange.), salt, flour and baking soda. You'll also need red and green food color, and course sanding sugar (not shown, because I spaced out and forgot to include them in the picture.).

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and thoroughly combined. Scrape down sides of mixer.

Add eggs, vanilla, almond extract, orange juice and orange zest.
Beat until light and fluffy.

Combine the flour and baking soda and then add to butter mixture and mix until well combined. Divide the dough into thirds (I used a scale to weigh out equal portions but you can just eyeball it, exact proportions aren't critical.) Tint 1/3 red, 1/3 green and leave the last 1/3 plain.

Line a 9x5 loaf pan with plastic wrap letting some hang over all the sides.

Smoosh the plain dough into the bottom of the pan and make a nice even level layer. I found it was easiest to form a rough rectangle with my hands and then lay it in the pan then spread it out to the edges. Again, it's not super critical that it be perfect.

Next add the red dough, again getting it the approximate size of the pan before laying it in the pan saves you a lot of smooshing and potentially mixing the colors together, which you don't want.

Lastly add the green layer.

Now fold the plastic wrap over the top and kind of press down so you have a tight even layer in the pan. Refrigerate this at least overnight. You've been working the dough A LOT at this point and you want to let the gluten in the flour relax a bit. This insures you have a really tender cookie that holds it's shape. At this point you could freeze the dough for a week or two then thaw overnight in the fridge before baking the cookies. A great way to get ahead on your holiday baking.

When you're ready to bake, set the oven to 375°F. Remove the dough from the pan and unwrap. Slice 1/4-inch thick bars off the dough hunk then slice the bars into 1-inch-ish pieces. I started with the triangles, like the Candy Corn Cookies, but then decided I liked squares better. You also don't get that weird shaped end piece when you slice into squares. Cut whatever shape you like.

Press the cookies into the sanding sugar for a bit of sparkle. This is totes optional, but it also adds a bit of crunch which I like.

Lay the cookies out, sugar side up, on a Silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. They don't spread too much so you can get them pretty close.

Bake for 7-10 minutes, until they just start to brown on the edges. Remove to a cookie rack to cool.

Lovely, bite sized, sparkling holiday cookies. Tender and not too sweet. My husband thinks they taste like the Danish Butter Cookies that you get in the blue tin (his favorite BTW.) They'll keep for several days in an airtight cookie jar. A perfect holiday nibble.

Here's the link to my original Candy Corn Cookie post.

And here is the link to the original recipe over at
(The original recipe doesn't include the zest from the orange but I totally recommend adding it to the dough.)

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