It’s that time of the year again to get out the Christmas cookie cutters and, this year, I’m having much fun with my newfound cookie stamps and baking molds. I love the old-fashioned Swiss-style Christmas cookies, and I thought it would be fun to replicate them using a favourite family recipe.
When it’s time for a bit of fun in the kitchen with the children, we often resort to making cookies; the kids have hours of fun rolling out the dough and stamping out various shapes, and the cookies happen to be quite delicious to eat!
This recipe is based on one used by my husband’s great-aunt, who loves to make a big batch of sablé (French butter biscuits) whenever we visit her in France. Aside from the buttery goodness in this recipe, I love how the dough is extremely easy to work with. The children can roll it and re-roll it as many times as they like, yet the dough will remain soft and pliable, but still firm enough to cut out shapes.
If I am baking with the children, I always double the recipe so they each have a bit of dough to play with while I get on with the real business of getting some cookies in the oven. Afterwards, I try to salvage whatever dough I can from the children (i.e. the bits which they have not tried to eat raw ?) to make some more cookies, although they usually surprise me with some of their own successfully cut-out shapes (dinosaurs are popular in our home, even at Christmas).
To make our usual cookie dough a bit more festive, I added some spices to give it a subtle hint of gingerbread. You could, of course, play with the ingredients to make it spicier, but we tend to receive a lot of traditional spicy gingerbread from friends and neighbours at this time of the year, and I wanted to make something a bit milder and child-friendly.
Our children absolutely love these cookies and devour a whole batch within the space of just a few days. So my recommendation is to hide a small plate of cookies somewhere for you to enjoy on your lonesome with a cup of tea. And don’t forget to save some for Santa too!
- 175g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 tablespoons light muscovado sugar (or light brown sugar)
- 2 egg yolks
- 300g (10.5 oz) plain flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the flat paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg yolks.
- Measure the flour and spices into a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of the flour mixture at a time to the bowl and incorporate on slow speed.
- Once all of the dry ingredients have been added, add a bit of the cold water (you may not need all of it) and mix until everything comes together into a soft ball.
- Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll until the mixture is about 5mm thick.
- Place the rolled out dough in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Cut out shapes from the dough and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
- Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, or until they are lightly golden.
- Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
The dough keeps well in the fridge for several days. The cookies also keep well in an airtight container.
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If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird