Honey-Almond Lace Cookies
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 50 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive Prep: 1 hr
Cook: 40 min
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Combine the butter, honey, and brown sugar in a small saucepan, over medium heat, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is bubbly and smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in the almonds, salt, and vanilla and cook 1 minute more.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour until smooth. Let cool slightly. Refrigerate until the batter sets up, at least 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F and arrange racks in upper and lower third.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 3 to 4 inches space between each. Put the sheets on the racks and bake until bubbly, brown on edges, and golden throughout, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet. Repeat until all of the batter is used.
- When cookies are cool, melt the chocolate over medium-low heat, in a small saucepan, until smooth. Dip half of each cookie in the chocolate, scrape off excess, and set on a cooling rack to dry. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes to set up.
Dark-Chocolate Cutout Cookies
Prep: 1 hour 30 mins
Total Time: 7 hours
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Martha’s Favorite Royal Icing
Fine sanding sugar
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add flour mixture. Divide dough in half.
- Form each half into a disk, and wrap each in plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate until firm but still pliable, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with 1 disk of dough at a time, roll out to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured parchment. Brush off excess flour, transfer dough on parchment to a baking sheet, and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
- Cut into shapes with cookie cutters, rerolling scraps as needed. Transfer cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets, and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
- Bake until crisp, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating once and firmly rapping baking sheet halfway through baking to flatten any bubbles in cookies. Let cookies cool completely on baking sheets set on wire racks.
- Place icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (Ateco #0, 1, or 2). Pipe outlines and details on cookies. Immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar, and tap off excess. Let set completely, uncovered, at room temperature, at least 4 hours or (ideally) overnight.
Festive Jam Cookie Sandwiches
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 25 min
Prep: 45 min
Inactive Prep: 30 min
Cook: 10 min
15 ounces/425 g plain flour
3 ounces/ 75 g caster sugar (superfine)
11 1/2 ounces/325 g butter, softened
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Raspberry or strawberry jam, for filling
Icing sugar (confectioners’), for dusting
Special equipment: 2 1/2-inches/6 cm plain cutter; 1 1/4-inches/3 cm plain or flower-shaped cutter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C/ Gas mark 4.
Sift the flour into a large bowl or electric food mixer and add the sugar, butter, finely grated lemon zest, egg yolks, and vanilla extract. Mix until it all comes together to a dough.
- Remove from the bowl and flatten to a round with the palm of your hand or with a rolling pin to about 3/4-inch/2 cm thick and chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface until it is about 1/4-inch/5 mm thick, then, using the 2 1/2-inches/6 cm plain cutter, cut the dough into disks.
- Take 1/2 the disks and, using either the plain or flower shaped 1 1/4-inches/3 cm cutter, cut holes out of the centre of each, like little round windows.
- Bring the discarded scraps together and make more disks and cut holes in the centre of these. You want to end up with about 35 whole disks and about 35 disks with the centres cut out (equal amounts).
- Place the disks on several baking trays and bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until pale golden and ever so slightly firm.
- Allow to stand for a couple minutes, then remove the cookies from the trays and transfer to wire racks to cool.
- When the disks are cool, spread 1/2 to 1 teaspoon jam on the whole disks and top with the disks with the hole in them so that you can see the jam through the little windows. Dust with icing sugar (confectioners’) and serve.