Friday, July 15, 2011

Christmas in July: Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of Christmas in July: Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies

Today we're making Shortbread Pinwheels!
(this recipe is from the Company's Coming Cookies cookbook - which, if you don't own, I highly recommend you get!)

I recently discovered these cookies so this year will be the first time I make them at Christmas time. I like that they are a cookie you can make ahead and bake them when you already have the oven on for something else. You can also freeze them and pull them out for last minute company. I'm a fan of anything like that!

These are pretty, as well as yummy. You can tint the layers whatever colour you like (I use regular food colouring, but if you want an intense colour I would use the paste). We did pink because I have a 3 year old and she likes pink. I highly recommend doing one of the layer chocolate because it's so good. But that same pink-loving three year old didn't want brown cookies this time, so we decided to skip it.

I always think it's important to have colour on a tray of cookies. Presentation makes things appealing and  when there is a pop of colour on the tray it makes all the cookies look even better. So add this one to your cookie plate!

Let's get to baking. Here is what you'll need:

1 cup butter (not margarine), softened
2/3 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa (optional)

Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in vanilla and flour. Divide the dough into two equal portions.

Now, you can add the cocoa to one of the portions, mixing well, or tint it the colour of your choice. Roll it out between two layers of waxed paper (I always wet the counter before I put the first piece down to help it stay in place). Roll to a size of 7 inches by 12 inches. Set aside.

Tint the second portion, if desired, and roll between 2 layers of waxed paper to a size of 7 inches x 12 inches. Remove top layer of paper off of both layers. Invert the second layer over the first keeping the ends together. Now the original recipe said to roll from the short end, I always roll from the long end so that the cookies don't end up huge. Personal preference. Roll it up jelly roll style and remove the paper as you roll. Make sure it's rolled tight so you don't end up with a hole in the middle like this:

Wrap and chill overnight or until firm. When ready to bake slice into 1/3 inch (8mm) thick slices. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350ºF for 10-12 minutes.

For variations you can divide it into three, roll them into long ropes and stack them together into a triangle to make "clovers." In the same fashion you can make four ropes (2 of each colour) and do a checker board.

Next week I'll have some of my absolute favourites that I've been making for years, including a Canadian favourite. Yum!


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