Edible Holiday Gift guide 2015

christmas cookies  | apt 2b baking co
christmas cookies  | apt 2b baking co
shop ila black salt caramels | apt 2b baking co
christmas cookies  | apt 2b baking co

Hi guys! I wasn't planning on posting my holiday treats this year, but lots of you fine people asked for the recipe for the pistachio shortbread with cardamom and cacao nibs that I posted on Instagram (the second photo above) so here I am! I got pretty serious with my edible gifts this year because I had to make up for a so-so 2014. Links and recipes are below! 

Pistachio Shortbread with Cardamom and Cacao Nibs (recipe below)

My favorite Gingerbread with Royal Icing (recipe below)

Tartine's Salted Chocolate Rye Cookies

Alice Medrich's Buckwhat Cookies with Cacao Nibs

Soft Salted Caramels (shown with Shop ILA's Black Lava Salt)

Violet Bakery's Rye and Chocolate Brownies (inspired by Tartine's Cookies!)

Rosemary Spiced Nuts

Follow me on instagram for more holiday baking fun @yossyarefi and check out Melissa's post for even more edible gift ideas!

 

Pistachio Shortbread with Cardamom and Cacao Nibs

makes about 30 cookies

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup cacao nibs

Combine the flour, pistachios, sugar, cardamom, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the pistachios are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks damp and crumbly. Drizzle in the vanilla extract, then add the cacao nibs. Pulse a few more times until the dough begins to just hold together.

Remove the dough from the food processor and knead a few times until the dough is evenly mixed and holds together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4-inch thickness and cut into shapes as desired. Place the cut cookies onto the prepared sheets 1-inch apart. Reroll the dough scraps until all of the dough is used. Chill the cut cookies for 10 minutes before baking. If at anytime the dough gets warm and is difficult to work with, transfer it to the fridge for a few minutes.

Bake the cookies until light golden around the edges, 12-14 minutes. Let cookies cool on the pans for a few minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

 

Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on size

3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg

1/4  teaspoon finely ground black pepper

1/4  teaspoon ground cloves

1⁄4  teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and spices together.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, then the molasses and mix until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Working with 1/2 of the dough at a time roll the dough 1/8-1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface using a lightly floured rolling pin roll. Use a cookie cutter or stencil to cut out desired shapes then place them on the prepared baking sheets. For cookie ornaments, use a skewer to poke a hole through the top of the cookies before baking. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies have just barely begun to brown. For cookie ornaments bake the cookies until they are lightly browned all over and firm to the touch. Cool the cookies on the sheet pans for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

Royal Icing

1 egg white

1⁄2 teaspoon lemon juice

1 3⁄4 cup confectioners sugar

Combine all of the ingredients and beat with a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer) until stiff peaks form. If the icing seems too thick, add a few drops of water or lemon juice. If it seems runny, add a few table- spoons of confectioner’s sugar.

Use a pastry bag fitted with a #2 or #3 round tip and the stiff icing to add lines, shapes and dots to your cookies. Sprinkle with colored sugar, sprinkles or nonpareils if desired, just make sure to do it while the icing is still wet.

To make the cookies into ornaments, thread a string through the hole and tie it to make a loop.

christmas cookies  | apt 2b baking co
christmas cookies  | apt 2b baking co
christmas cookies  | apt 2b baking co

Chocolate and Bergamot Cookie Sandwiches

Chocolate and Bergamot Sandwich Cookies
Chocolate and Bergamot Sandwich Cookies

To be honest, these cookies did not start as the deep dark chocolate sandwiches that they eventually became. I had been hemming and hawing about what to do with my very first bergamot for awhile and when I finally decided that some powdered sugar tea cookies would be the way to go, my plan hit a little snag I like to call, "not really reading the recipe before cooking." Rookie mistake. I had my butter and sugar creaming in the mixer and I opened the pantry to find myself undeniably short on flour. So, I grabbed my trusty Callebaut cocoa powder and a little cornstarch, upped the salt and squeezed in some bergamot juice and turned these cookies into a chocolate and citrus pairing. I am normally not a fan of chocolate and fruit together, so I decided to up the chocolate flavor by sandwiching the cookies with a bit of melted chocolate and it worked perfectly to mellow the acid in the fruit. That said, if you don't feel like taking the time to make cookie sandwiches, don't! The cookies bake up crisp and tasty on their own and they are perfect with a nice hot cup of earl grey.

Chocolate and Bergamot Sandwiches

yield about 15 cookie sandwiches

1c softened butter

3/4c powdered sugar

1t vanilla extract

zest of one bergamot orange

2T bergamot orange juice

1 1/2c flour

1/2c cocoa powder

2T cornstarch

3/4t salt

2T cacao nibs (optional)

6oz chocolate to fill the cookie sandwiches

1. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt. Set aside

2. Combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, and zest in a medium bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined, then stir in the bergamot juice.

3. Add in the flour mixture and the cacao nibs and stir until just combined. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30min before rolling. While the dough is chilling preheat your oven to 350º.

4. Remove half of the dough from the fridge and roll out on a well floured surface or between 2 pieces of lightly floured parchment paper, the dough should be between 1/4''-1/8'' thick. Cut into desired shapes and place on lined baking sheets. If your dough has warmed up a bit, chill the cut cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes before baking. Repeat with the other half of the dough and make sure to save and re roll the scraps. Bake for 12-15min, rotating the pans half way through the cooking time, until the cookies appear completely dry and are firm to the touch.

5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10min, then remove to a rack to cool completely. The cookies should be crisp when done. If you find your cookies are a bit soft and crumbly put them back in the oven for a few minutes until they are baked all of the way through.

To Fill the Cookie Sandwiches

1. Turn half of the cookies over to expose the smooth underside.

2. Chop the chocolate very finely and melt over a double boiler or in the microwave. Let the chocolate cool until it is the consistency of mayonaise, about 15min, then use a spoon or pastry bag to fill each cookie with about 1t of chocolate. Top each chocolate topped cookie with another cookie, smooth side down and press gently. Let the chocolate harden completely before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Notes:

-Bergamot is the floral, citrus flavor used in earl grey tea.

- If you find that the bergamot flavor is too strong, let the cookies sit for a day or so. The flavors mellow and blend really nicely.

- I haven't tried yet, but I think these chocolate cookies would make an excellent homemade oreo base.

- If you can't find bergamots in your area you can substitute an orange zest and juice.