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Video: Martha Stewart bakes beautiful Christmas cookies

TODAY recipes
updated 12/19/2012 9:05:35 AM ET 2012-12-19T14:05:35

Recipe: Chocolate-chunk shortbread

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preparation

For shortbread:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Sift to­gether flour and salt into a medium bowl. Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add sugar gradually, beating between additions; continue to beat until mixture is very pale, about 2 minutes total. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mix­ture; beat until just combined.

For chocolate-chunk shortbread:

After beating in the flour, beat in 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate (3/4 cup). Press dough evenly into a parchment-lined 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet; refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Cut dough in eighths length­wise, then quarters crosswise, making 32 rectangles. Evenly pierce all over with a skewer.

Bake until shortbread is firm in center and golden brown, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack; immediately recut rectangles with a paring knife. Let shortbread cool completely in pan.

Melt 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate. Dip bars into choco­late, place on parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 10 minutes.

Serving Size

Makes 32 bars

Recipe: Cutout cookie dough

Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled) plus more for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Green, red and yellow food coloring
Preparation

For dough:

Whisk together flour and salt. In large bowl, using mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy, 4 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and beat until combined. Tint dough by mixing in food coloring: For trees, tint two-thirds the dough green; tint some of remaining dough red and some yellow; leave some plain. Divide green dough into 2 disks. Individually wrap all dough in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 3 days).

For cookies:

On a large sheet of paper, lightly flour both sides of 1 disk of green dough, cover with parchment, and roll out to 1/8 inch thick. Repeat with second disk. Remove top sheets of parchment.

On lightly floured surface, roll pieces of red dough into thin snakes. Arrange on top of green dough in desired pattern.

Roll yellow and plain dough into pea-size balls and arrange on top of green dough in desired pattern.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Top dough with more parchment and gently roll over dough until decorative pieces are flush with green dough.

Carefully remove top sheets of parchment. With 4-5inch tall tree shaped cutter, cut dough. Transfer dough on parchment to baking sheets and freeze until firm, 15 minutes.

Remove cutouts from excess dough and transfer to newly lined baking sheets. Bake until set, 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Serving Size

Makes about 1 dozen cookies

Recipe: Peppermint-chocolate sugar cookies

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4–1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3–5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 12 round peppermint candies, crushed, for decorating
Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract on medium-high until pale and fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in egg, then flour mixture on low. Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll dough into 11 2-inch balls and place, 2 inches apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until edges are lightly golden, about 12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks and let cool completely.

Stir together confectioners’ sugar and enough cream to make a spreadable glaze (if you like a strong mint flavor, stir in up to 1/4 teaspoon extract). Spread a thin layer of glaze on top of each cookie and sprinkle with candies. Let dry completely on racks. (Store in airtight containers up to 3 days.)

Serving Size

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Recipe: Sugar-dusted macaroon trees

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly combine coconut, granulated sugar, egg whites, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl using your hands or a wooden spoon. Form 2 table­spoons of the mix­ture at a time into 2-inch-tall trees with your hands, us­ing your fingertips to make pointed tops. Transfer each tree to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spac­ing them 1 inch apart.

Bake until edges are golden and trees are firm, 12 to 14 min­utes. Let cool on baking sheet on a wire rack at least 15 min­utes. Cookies can be made up to 1 day ahead; dust with con­fectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Serving Size

Makes 18 trees

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