Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Daring Bakers' November 2012, Twelve Days Of Cookies

Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

From Peta's list of twelve, we were given instructions to handpick a one. The second option followed, where free reign was permitted in choosing right recipe # 2, on our own, for the November challenge.

Ohh, happy day! Set out I did to fulfill this merry making test, all to the the tune of my favorite monster. And to think, just yesterday I was of resolute mind that official holiday baking begins only on December 1st. How wrong I was (?) since, here, on this page, I've come to see that kickstarting it the Daring Baker way made a whole lot more sense, giving me additional days of deemed holiday noshing baking and all the more reason to play Bing Crosby's White Christmas.

I chose Peta's piped shortbread cookies. Mainly because I saw a super concise ingredient list, five to be exact, all of which were in my stockpile. Not too, inspiring, I know. One heads up, though, ultimately those mighty five did me in(as they will you), playing their parts distinguishingly well, and hailing in an overall fabulous piece of cookie.

Many things about piped shortbreads bring back memories of old-school butter cookies, stacked rows in those round blue tins, perfect for tea, that is if you drank tea, their pronounced butter flavor (pure, artificial, convoluted,who knows?) passing through every opening of your face.

Still, I can tell you, this moment, right now, these are different. What with their cornstarch, confectioner's sugar and prescribed 10 minutes of uninterrupted beating, they bake to an evolved, refined rank, one of buttery- crisp- softmelt-vanishing-on-contact breed. Your tongue detects it and says thank you, over and again. There is no safety in fighting off craving. Just give in.

(Recipe Adapted From The Daring Bakers' Challenge Page)
Piped Shortbread Cookies~
    • ½ c confectioners' sugar
    • 1 c softened butter
    • 1¼ c all-purpose flour
    • ¼ c cornstarch
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
      • Preheat the oven to moderate 300°F.
      • Combine confectioner's sugar, butter, flours, and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle beater. Mix on low speed until combined and then change to the whisk attachment.
      • Beat for 10 minutes.
      • Pipe into rings
      • Bake in preheated moderate oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned.

      The snow caps are a recipe that has visited our home and my kitchen, every Christmas season for more than half a decade. I really don't know where it came from, possibly Food Network, but don't quote me on that. I've kicked and played around with this blueprint so many times, that today, it's final make up has taken it quite a ways from it's original destiny.

      Mounded scoops of dough are first baked and cooled. Here, then, comes the Ta-Da. The tops get adorned with melted semisweet chocolate and kissed with the white chocolate gratings of "snow". The cookies themselves are not saccharine sweet, so the double chocolate sings delicious against the nutty, no frills dough. Now with this you can bring on an infinite variation of topping conclusions. Your "mountain caps" can very well be white melted , with colored sugars, sprinkles, themed jimmies, etc. Or maybe a crest of milk chocolate tapped in coconut shreds. The possibilities are delightfully endless.

      (Possible- Could- Be- Adaptation from Food Network archives)
      Snow Caps~
      • 1¾ c flour
      • 1 c chopped walnuts or pecans
      • 1 stick and 3 tbsp butter (softened)
      • ½ c powdered sugar
      • 1 tsp vanilla
      • ¼ tsp salt
      • ⅓ c semi-sweet chocolate chips
      • 4 oz. white baking chocolate bar, grated
      • Preheat oven to 350°F.
      • Combine flour and walnuts; set aside.
      • In a food processor, pulse together butter and sugar until well blended. Add vanilla, pulse until all ingredients amalgamate. 
      • Gradually add flour mixture, stirring at each interval, until all is combined thoroughly and form a moist small crumb-like dough, which can be shaped easily when pressed in with hands (If not, add upto 1/2 tsp of water to aid in shaping). 
      • Shape into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheets.
      • Bake 18 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool cookies on racks.
      • Melt semi sweet chocolate chips in microwave -I cook on 50% power at 30 sec intervals until melted and glossy.
      • Have the grated white chocolate set in a wide bowl or plate.
      • Dip tops of each cookie into melted chocolate, then press lightly into white chocolate shavings for a snow topped effect.
      • Let stand until tops are set.
      • Makes about 2 dozen.
      NomNomNom. A dozen were gone before my two came home from school. Being the shameful cookie fiend I am, I was so pressed to hide the remaining from myself (help!). 

      So there you go, your holiday baking begins, and not with the generic- run- of- the- mill. This might just replace all those favorite cookie recipes you have scribbled in journals and bookmarked on screen. Keep with, the knowledge, that in a few short hours, you will be overflowing in pure cookie love, having enough for finishing, possibly even sharing. All the best with that.

      Thank you Peta for this disarmingly delicious challenge, sharing a plentiful array of cookie recipes and ringing in the cheer of this year's Christmas season. Much thanks also for introducing back into my life the art of the situp, ho, ho, ho - what fun it is!

      "I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!" ~Psalm 116:1-2 (NLT) 
      Picture Source: Proverbs 31 Ministries via The Better Mom


      1. The shape is incredible on these my friend and your holidays look like they will be most sweet :)

        Choc Chip Uru

      2. Beautiful job on this challenge Tisa
        and your describtion of the snow cap cookies made wish I could reach though the screen to get one!

        1. Thanks so much, Sawsan- indeed the encouraging friend.


      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!