I'm glad that on here, I can say Christmas. Of course, at work, I have to advertise "Holiday" just in case.... Anyway, I used to work at another company and there was always a Christmas Cookie Exchange which I happily joined. When I moved to GM, there wasn't much of anything going on year-round... no Cinco de Mayo pot luck or Chili Cook-offs. Luckily, I got hired there so I've brought a few of these traditions into existance.
2 oz Swiss bittersweet candy bar, broken
½ cup + 2 tbsp butter, softened, divided
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 large egg
3 oz Swiss white chocolate candy bar, broken
Melt bittersweet chocolate and 2 tbsp butter in a double boiler or small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring often. Add espresso powder, stir until dissolves. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Let cool to room temperature.
Place flour, baking soda, salt and stir in a medium bowl. Beat ½ cup butter and sugar in large bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in bittersweet chocolate mixture and egg. Gradually add flour mixture. Beat at low speed until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
Preheat oven to 375F. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls (mine were a little bigger but these cookies spread, 1 –inch is good). Place 3 inches apart on cookie sheet (lined with parchment is nice). Flatten to ½ inch thicke rounds with fork dipped in sugar. Bake 9-10 minutes or until set (don’t overbake). Immediately remove cookies to wire rack; cool completely.
Place white chocolate in small Ziploc bag, seal. Microwave in 20 second increments until white chocolate is melted – smooth out chunks with your hands. Cut off very tiny corner of bag and pipe or drizzle decoratively over cookies. Let stand for 30 min until set. Store tightly at room temperature or freeze up to 3 months. Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.
6 cups all-purpose flour plus more for work surface
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
4 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulfured molasses
Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set Aside. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each In plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough on a lightly (I used lots) floured work surface to ¼ in thick. Cut ito snowflakes with a snowflake-shape cookie cutter. (press hard and lightly shake cutter to help separate cut outs.. the more flour, the less stickiness). Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
4 tablespoons meringue powder
5-8 tablespoons water (choose your consistency)
Put sugar, powder, and water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until smooth, about 7 minutes. If icing is too thick, add water a little at a time; if too thin, mix icing 2 to 3 minutes more. Use a pastry bag with round tip and decorate cookies. Use sprinkles if desired. I used dragees (edible metallic decorative balls) and sparkley sanding sugar as well as brush-on shimmery powder (all edible).
After all that, you certainly can't say I don't use my kitchenaid mixer.....