Just like for everyone else, this year has been one of a lot of change in our lives. Two of them have changed our life in a big way, one hopefully good and the other not-so-good. The first one was the decision we made, after a lot of thought, to leave Goa and move back to home to Kochi. The other one, something over which we had absolutely no control, was the loss of our five year old dog Fudge.
A very sudden and short illness claimed him and before we knew it, he was gone leaving a huge hole in our hearts and lives. He was a huge part of our lives and almost everything we do brings back memories of him overwhelming us. As Dean Koontz has said, “Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
Cookies are on the list but she left the choice of what to bake so long as I ran them past her first! I recently found a set of simple snowflake cookie cutters and some mini-Christmas themed cutters as well at the local store and wanted to celebrate my find by putting them to use. I’ve made a lot of snowflake cookies as well as decorated cookies over past Christmases so I wanted to do something a little different this time.
I finally settled on making chocolate and vanilla cut out cookies because there’s something so irresistible about the way they look and what’s not to like about chocolate and vanilla? These are two toned cookies with contrasting coloured and flavour. I chose to make square cookies with Christmas themes such as Christmas trees, snowflakes, candy canes and gingerbread boys.
The dough comes together pretty quickly and the cookies themselves taste very buttery, almost like shortbread. One half of the dough is coloured and flavoured with cocoa powder and then both doughs are chilled, rolled out and then cut out with cutters and baked. Then one sticks the Christmas themed smaller cookies with a melted chocolate on the square cookies, light on dark and dark on light for contrast.
There a couple of things to keep in mind but otherwise making them is a breeze, especially if you’re making them with kids.
While mixing up the dough, be judicious with the flour. The dough should be moist but not sticky and should come together as a ball. Too much flour will spoil the texture of the cookies.
The dough must be chilled for about 4 hours at least and it is best to work with as cold as possible dough. It makes the dough easier to handle and it also will not spread while baking.
Roll the dough between sheets of parchment. This means you won’t have to add flour to make it easier to handle the dough while rolling it out. You also won’t have flour streaks on the chocolate dough.
Egg Free Chocolate & Vanilla Christmas Cookies
- 1 cup butter , softened
- 1 cup sugar , granulated
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsps vanilla custard powder corn starch or
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa unsweetened powder
- 1/8 cup dark chocolate cookies melted for sticking together
- Beat the softened butter the in a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer at high speed, for about half a minute till fluffy. Mix in the sugar, baking powder, custard powder, vanilla extract and salt until combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl while mixing.
- Stir in, with a wooden spoon, the flour in two or three lots but donu2019t overwork the dough. The dough should come together, be moist but not sticky. Add a little flour at a time if the dough feels sticky. Too much flour will result in tough textured cookies.
- Divide the dough into half and mix in the cocoa powder into one half. Wrap both the vanilla and chocolate dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours so that the dough becomes easy to roll out. If you refrigerate the dough overnight, take it out and let sit at room temperature for a little while so it becomes easy to roll out.
- Take the vanilla half of the dough and flatten it out a bit with your palm. Then place it between two sheets of parchment paper and evenly roll it out to 1/8u201d thickness. Using a 2u201d or 2 1/4" square fluted cutter cut out about 15 squares, re-rolling the scraps. Refrigerate the dough for about half an hour if the dough becomes too soft.
- Cut out another 15 shapes using smaller hors d'oeuvre cutters or mini cookie cutters. Place them on parchment lined baking sheets and bake them at 190C (375F) for about 15 minutes or so until the cookies start turning light brown at the edges. Let them cool completely on racks.
- Repeat with the chocolate cookie dough making a total of 30 cookies (15 square ones and 15 smaller ones) from the dough.
- Once the cookies have cooled, take one light coloured mini vanilla cookie and apply melted chocolate on the underside of it. Stick it to the centre of the top of a square chocolate cookie. Reeat with all the similar cookies and then similarly stick all the mini chocolate cookies to the square vanilla cookies.
- Once done you will have 30 double coloured Christmas cookies. Store the cookies in an airtight tin.