cookie box 2020

cookie box 2020
cookie box 2020

This year I won’t be seeing the extended family members I usually gather with during the holidays. While my favourite thing about the holidays is not quite to be, my second favourite thing, the food, can still happen. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been thinking so much about holiday baking this year – given my rabid love for butter, it is somewhat a consolation that while many things are different, at least there is still plenty to eat!

cookie box 2020
cookie box 2020

That being said, this is a bit of a more toned down cookie box than previous years (ie 2019, 2017) – those boxes were either destined for the coffee room, holiday parties or divied up into bags as gifts. Some of these cookies have been mailed, the rest will probably sit around and be slowly nibbled on over the next couple weeks.

As per usual, I planned an assortment of crumbly and drier cookies which store well together (chewy cookies can soften the crisp cookies and dry out themselves). As I would be making fewer types, I made sure to include my favourites. A holiday cookie box doesn’t seem complete without a spiced cookie to me. That can be any of the many types of spiced cookies, but these speculoos adapted from Bouchon Bakery are my favourite: buttery, thin, super tender and perfectly salted. The other favourites from previous years are basler brunsli – crisp spiced chocolate almond stars – and cardamom linzer cookies filled with whatever assortment of opened jams I found in the fridge (which this time entailed: strawberry rhubarb, prune, apricot and orange fig).

cookie box 2020
cookie box 2020

In terms of shortbread, I’ve gone with a classic, thick cut vanilla shortbread, the type that is my dad’s favourite. I always find myself including a powdered sugar-coated snowball cookie; this time the espresso walnut snowballs were inspired by the flavour of coffee walnut cake. For a cookie with a slightly chewier consistency, I made sliced cranberry orange rosemary cookies. While I usually like to make lean biscotti that are nearly hard enough to crack teeth, I went for a butter-based pistachio and dark chocolate biscotti which better fit the theme of the box – and they are tender enough to eat without any dipping. Finally, the leftover candied orange peels I had from making stollen were covered in dark chocolate to make orangettes.

Happy baking!

cookie box 2020
recipes are below

speculoosbasler brunslicardamom linzer cookiesdark chocolate pistachio biscottivanilla shortbread wedgesespresso walnut snowballscranberry orange rosemary cookiesorangettes

cookie box 2020

speculoos

Recipe can be found in the 2019 holiday cookie box.

cookie box 2020

baslet brunsli

Recipe can be found in this post.

cookie box 2020

cardamom linzer cookies

Recipe can be found in this post.

cookie box 2020

dark chocolate pistachio biscotti

Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis via Food Network.

  • 150g all-purpose flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour (or use all-purpose)
  • ½ tsp ground star anise
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 115g (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 90g (¾ c) pistachios
  • 80g dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flours, ground star anise, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers. Add the butter and cream until light and fluffy. Crack in the eggs one at a time, beating in each with a wire whisk, followed by the vanilla extract. It’s okay if the mixture appears a bit lumpy.

Add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough. Lastly, mix in the pistachios and chocolate. Turn out the dough onto the tray and pat into a rectangle around 14×4″ and 3/4″ high.

Bake until golden, rotating halfway through baking, about 40 minutes. Let cool for at least an hour.

Once the biscotti is completely cooled, use a long serrated knife to cut the log at an angle into slices around 1/2″ thick. (To prevent smears of chocolate, wipe the knife between slices.) Arrange the slices standing up on the tray and return to the oven. Bake for another 25 minutes or until golden.

cookie box 2020

vanilla shortbread wedges

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Dorie’s Cookies.

  • 45g granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4cm length of vanilla bean
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g all-purpose flour

Butter a 7″ round springform pan and lightly dust with flour.

Place the sugar and salt in a bowl. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar. Add the butter and cream until combined, then mix in the vanilla and finally, add the flour all at once. Mix until the dough forms a crumbly consistency and the crumbs hold together when pinched.

Turn out into the prepared pan and pack down evenly with the bottom of a glass. Sprinkle the top of the dough evenly with a bit of extra granulated sugar.

Bake the shortbread for 25-30 minutes or until just beginning to lightly brown around the edges. Let cool for 10 minutes before taking out of the tin and slicing into 12 wedges with a sharp knife.

cookie box 2020

espresso walnut snowballs

  • Servings: 18 cookies
  • Print

An amalgamation of the recipe from Emma Laperruque’s pecan cookies and An Italian in My Kitchen’s almond cookies.

  • 115g (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tsp water
  • 60g toasted walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 130g whole wheat flour
  • icing sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and 50g icing sugar together, then mix in the dissolved instant coffee, walnuts and salt. Finally, add the flour and mix until just combined. If the dough is very soft you can chill it briefly – or go ahead and roll the cookies now.

Scoop generous tablespoons of the dough (about 18-19g each) and roll into balls. Arrange evenly on the prepared pan. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until firm to the touch and slightly browned on the bottom.

Roll in icing sugar while still warm, and then once more when they are cool.

cookie box 2020

cranberry orange rosemary cookies

Base dough adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s do-almost-anything cookie from Dorie’s Cookies.

  • 1 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 40g granulated sugar
  • 115g (1 stick) butter, softened
  • zest of 1 large oranges
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 15g (half of an) egg white
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 136g all-purpose flour
  • 80g dried cranberries, chopped

Place the rosemary and sugar in a mixing bowl and rub together with your fingertips until fragrant. Add the butter and cream with the sugar until light and fluffy. Next, cream in the orange zest and kosher salt.

Beat in the egg white and vanilla extract – it’s okay if it doesn’t blend in that smoothly. Add the flour and mix until a soft dough is formed. Lastly, add the chopped dried cranberries.

Turn the dough out onto a narrow piece of parchment paper. Pat into a log about 5-cm in diametre and 17-cm long. Wrap the parchment paper around the log and twist both ends like a candy wrapper to enclose the dough. Roll the wrapped dough on the countertop to make a circular log. Place in the fridge to chill completely.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Unwrap the cookie log. With a sharp knife, slice the cookies 1 to 0.5cm thick. Roll the log a quarter turn between each slice to help it keep its shape. Arrange the slices a couple centimetres apart on the prepared tray.

Bake for 15 minutes, rotating partway through the bake, or until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges and bottom. Let cool on a wire rack.

cookie box 2020

orangettes

  • Servings: as many as you like
  • Print

  • orange peels
  • sugar
  • dark chocolate

Cut the peel from the orange and slice into thin strips.

Place the peels in a small saucepan, add water to cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, then drain and rinse and return to the pot. Repeat boiling, draining and rinsing twice more.

Return the peels to the pot and add around enough water to just cover – for one orange in a very small saucepan, about 1/2 to 1 cup of water – along with 3/4 that volume of sugar. Boil the mixture for about 10 minutes or so, or until the liquid appears syrupy. By now the peels should be tender and the pith should have a translucent character.

You can store the candied peels in their syrup in the fridge. Drain before using, and pat off any excess syrup with a bit of paper towel.

Put a piece of parchment paper on a board or tray. Chop some dark chocolate and transfer to a bowl. Melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Use a fork to place a piece of candied peel in the chocolate, turning it over to coat. Transfer the coated peel to the parchment paper and allow the chocolate to set. Repeat for the remaining peel.

cookie box 2020

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