Holiday Cookie Exchange #2

This is my second entry for the Holiday Cookie Exchange, hosted by Dawn at SoCal Foodie. Thanks for hosting, Dawn! Go check out her round-up of recipes, choose a recipe (or add one of your own) and start your ovens!

My friend, Kristin, and I were baking up a storm last night for the Biology department's Holiday Party this afternoon...though I have to say after all the work of cutting out the shapes for my Raspberry Linzer Windowpane Cookies, Kristin is the smarter of the two of us - she went out and bought a cookie press for her very cute spritzer cookies! It's so fun to just pull the trigger and have little Christmas trees appear! All in all, it was a great night of girl talk, flour all over (my) face, and dough everywhere, and we even ended up with a large assortment of great cookies.

The first cookies are out of Martha Stewart Living Holiday Cookies (see my last entry here). I love coconut, so the name of these cookies was the seal in the deal: Double Chocolate Coconut cookies. YUM. I was expecting something like a regular old chocolate chip cookie for texture, but these turned out surprisingly moist and light. Be sure if you're going to be transporting these anywhere to layer them between parchment paper, or they'll stick together. I also found that the second batch of cookies, that had sat in the bowl while the first batch was cooking, turned out prettier than the first batch...I haven't figured out why this is, but this happens to me a lot...so someone please tell me if there's some little unspoken baking secret about letting baked dough 'rest' for a while or if this is just one of those random events in the universe that happens to me.

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, from Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups white-chocolate chunks (~9 oz,)
1 3/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 3/4 coarsely chopped walnuts (~6 oz.)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla.
2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Mix into butter until well combined. Stir in chocolate, coconut and walnuts.
3. Using a 1 1/2 inch ice-cream scoop (or if you don't have one, like me, use a heaping teaspoon per cookie), drop batter onto sheets lined with parchment paper. Space 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly, then cook for 10-12 minutes or until set. Let cool on sheets on wire racks for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment paper to wire racks to cool completely. Can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 1 week. Yields approximately 5 dozen cookies.

The second cookies I made are from Cooking Light magazine. (This is my attempt at mercy for all the butter I've been using lately, Vickie!)

Raspberry Linzer Windowpane Cookies, from Cooking Light

These beautiful cookies are easy to prepare. Cut them into shapes--round, rectangular, or even star-shaped. You can reroll the dough scraps, but be sure chill them first.

2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, stirring well with a whisk.

Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg substitute; beat until well blended. Beating at low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat just until a soft dough forms. Divide dough into 2 equal portions, and wrap each dough portion in plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Roll each dough portion into a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface (I also 'lightly' floured the dough before rolling it out, because it stuck really nicely to the counter the first time I rolled it out and I couldn't get my beautifully cut little circles off of the counter); cut with a 2-inch square cookie cutter to form 32 cookies. Repeat procedure with remaining dough portion. Place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cut out centers of 32 cookies with a 1-inch square cookie cutter. Bake cookies at 375° for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Spread center of each whole cookie with about 1/2 teaspoon jam. Sprinkle cut-out cookies with powdered sugar. Place 1 cut-out cookie on top of each whole cookie, and viola! Your windowpane into raspberry gooey goodness! Yields 32 cookies.

13 comments from you:

Dawn said...

I love coconut, so those sound great! I never thought about the whole second-batch-looks-better-than-the-first phenomena before, but now that you mention it, my second pan of cookies DID look better than my first! How funny. If you figure it out, let us know!

I am interested to see how the lintzer cookies turned out, they sound like they will be pretty.

ilva said...

Wow-must be something particular in that inhaler judging from all the stuff you get done!! I'm impressed!

Nerissa said...

ooooh Chocolate and Coconut together... yummm yummm... Second always turn out better than the first. Kinda like the first child is always more screwed up than the second LOL (I'm a first child... self-deprecation there)

LisaSD said...

Hi Michelle!

I love chocolate and coconut are wonderful together! Almond Joys are heaven, and I suppose these cookies are too!

I also like the linzer cookies...they look very "traditional holiday" and I suppose we should have some of those at Christmas too! I've always wondered if Cooking Light's cookies are any good...now I know!

J said...

hi michelle, both look so beautiful, perfect and delicious! i really like the martha holiday cookie glossy - it's chock full of goodies i would love to make

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Michelle, your cookies look fantastic! It seems to me you a "cookie person", is it true?. My post is up finally.
By the way, did you read what happened to Vickie?

vlb5757 said...

Michelle, I thought that I had posted here about how wonderful your cookies look. I love the Linzer ones. I think they look like little pieces of art. I can't wait to see what you come up with for #3! This has been fun, because I have set things aside for the neighbors and now I don't have to sweat out a gift at the last minute! Yeah!

michelle said...

Hi Dawn! I actually tried responding to you on Saturday, but blogger was NOT cooperating - I didn't even think I was going to get the picture up! Thanks again for hosting, and I'll let you know if I get any tips for the bizarre pretty batch phenom.

Hi Ilva! Nah, it's the vicodin-laced cough syrup they gave me that works so well! Just teasing. Actually, since I've been sick, all I feel like doing is staying home, and since I'd rather cook than watch TV...well...

Hi Diningdica! Well, now, since I'm the first child...just what are you saying there??? :) I love anything coconut too.

Hi LisaD!
Almond joys are always my first pick from the vending machine when I need a sweet snack. The look of the Linzer cookies is actually why I picked them, because I thought that maybe my other cookies weren't very 'christmasy!'

Hi J!
Thank you very much - though I've seen your cookies so that's a very nice compliment coming from you! There's so many cookies to chose from it's hard not to want to do them all!

Hi Melissa!
I did just check out Vickie's site - I feel so bad for her :( Thank you for the compliment, and I've never really baked cookies except maybe once or twice before the cookie exchange! But I sure do like to eat them.

Hi Vickie!
I know, it has been fun, so I'm glad that Dawn decided to host it (it's been a great excuse!). I'm looking forward to your next entry too - you've got all these really interesting WAYS of making cookies!!

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Michelle, IF you have time, I invite you to participate in the "Online Food Museum" organized by SaoMai from Cocinalia. For more info. please visit my blog http://panamagourmet.blogs.com/cookingdiva/2005/12/cocinalias_onli.html , OR http://cocinalia.blogspot.com/


Cate said...

Can't find your e-mail address and it's not on your web site ... thought you might be interested in participating in the upcoming WDB contest this weekend (check out the PS in my post yesterday for more info). A Sweetnicks

kitchenmage said...

*drools* The second-tray thing, what if you wait fifteen minutes before making the first tray? Does the first tray look like the second usually does? Or is it that it's the second tray you measure/shape so you do it better? Alignment of the planets?

Anonymous said...

Hi! You are right about resting the dough! The gluten needs to relax a little, allowing the flour to soak up more moisture, which gives you (ta-da!) prettier, more shapely cookies. Nice looking cookies, ladies!

michelle said...

Thanks, Clarendipity! I've always wondered about that!!
And thanks, also, for coming by my little site!