Holiday Sweets: From Eggnog Snickerdoodles to Nutmeg Cookies

SPICED BROWN BUTTER MUSCOVADO SUGAR COOKIES

Rebecca Firth 

Few dishes are as synonymous with the holidays as cookies are. Biting into a decadent, seasonally spiced vanilla-scented cookie is one of the purest joys of the season. Although you can never go wrong with a tried-and-true sugar cookie, we turned to none other than Rebecca Firth, the brilliant recipe creator behind DisplacedHousewife for inspired recipes to add to our arsenal this season.

Ahead, Firth shares three festive cookie recipes straight from her cookbook, The Cookie Book, including a recipe for decadent eggnog snickerdoodles that might just be the greatest holiday cookie ever. Trust us; you're going to want to whip up these cookies as soon as the holidays are over.

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

Eggnog Snickerdoodles
Rebecca Firth

Snickerdoodles are always a crowd-pleaser, but this version is truly next-level, and they're as festive as they are delicious. They're the perfect thickness without losing the desirable amount of chewiness. Our suggestion: Serve them warm alongside a glass of eggnog for dipping. You won't be disappointed.

Serving: 24 large cookies

Cookie ingredients:

8 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sunflower seed oil or other neutral oil
3 tsp. real vanilla extract
1 tsp. rum extract
1 3/4 cups bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Cookie coating ingredients:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Directions:

In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar and mix on medium for four minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl and making sure they're fully blended before adding in the next. Add the oil, vanilla, and rum extract and mix for one minute more.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the bread flour, all-purpose flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Pour the flour mixture into the butter mixture, stirring to combine. Don't over-mix, but make sure everything gets well blended together. I like to mix until the flour just disappears. Wrap tightly and shove in the fridge for several hours or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place a rack in the top third of your oven, at least six inches from the heat source. Cover several baking sheets with parchment paper.

To make the cookie coating, in a small bowl, mix together the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Spiced Brown Butter Muscovado Sugar Cookies

Spiced Brown Butter Muscovado Sugar Cookies
Rebecca Firth

Beautiful cookies that also taste good? No way. When using a cookie press, we usually expect a slightly dull shortbread, but Firth's recipe has completely changed our minds. She describes these bad boys as "sugar cookies made with brown butter and caramel-esque muscovado and loaded with holiday spices." Sold.

Drizzle the icing on the cookies while they're still a little warm from the oven and it will melt and seep into them in the best way possible.

Servings: 24 cookies

Cookie ingredients:

24 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup dark muscovado sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp. real vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cardamom

Maple glaze ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp. real maple syrup
1/2 tsp. maple extract, optional
4 tbsp. milk, or more to thin

Cookie directions:

To make the cookies, place the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt over medium heat. Once melted, crank up the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly. Small golden bits will start to settle on the bottom of the pan, and it will start to have a nutty aroma. This should take around three to five minutes. Once this happens, take the pan off of the heat and pour the butter into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Once cooled slightly, add the muscovado and granulated sugar and mix on medium until blended. The mixture will be thick. Add in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to blend completely before adding in the next. Add in the vanilla and mix for one minute more. Be sure to break up any large muscovado lumps.

In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, bread flour, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, sea salt, and cardamom. Add this to the brown butter mixture and mix on low until the mixture comes together and is no longer crumbs.

Separate into two equal halves and pat each mound of dough into a disc. Typically, sugar cookie dough needs a light hand. Not this dough. You'll need to almost knead it to get it to adhere together. Press any cracks or fissures together.

Place a dough disc between two layers of parchment paper. If you have a silicone baking mat, place it underneath the parchment to keep it from sliding on the counter. Roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Pull the dough with the parchment onto a baking sheet and chill in the freezer for five to 10 minutes or in the fridge for 10 to 20 minutes, max. The dough should chill quickly. If at any point the dough starts sticking to the floured cookie stamps, put it back in the freezer for five minutes or in the fridge for 10 minutes. Conversely, if it's too chilled, let it come closer to room temperature to stamp, or it will be too hard.

Cover several baking sheets with parchment paper.

If using cookie stamps, dip the cookie stamps in some flour and dust off the excess. Evenly press the cookie stamp onto the dough, making sure to press firmly to get the detailed imprint, and then use a fluted, round cutter to cut the cookie from the dough. Grab a spatula to move the cut-out cookie to your prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining cookies.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and make sure a rack is in the top third of the oven at least six inches from the heat source.

Place the cookies in the freezer for 30 minutes and then take them directly from the freezer to the top rack of the oven and bake for nine minutes. It's crucial not to over bake these. Let the cookies cool for five minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

Maple glaze directions:

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, maple syrup, maple extract, if using, and milk until you have a thin glaze. Place a baking sheet underneath the cooling rack. Dip the cooled cookies into the glaze, letting the excess drip back into the bowl...you want the glaze to be thin enough that you can see the detail from the cookie stamps. Set the cookies back on the cooling rack to dry completely and serve!

Peppermint Bark Shortbread Bites

Peppermint Bark Shortbread Bites
Rebecca Firth

In our opinion, peppermint is the pumpkin spice of winter flavors. Firth used it in the most clever of ways: in chocolate shortbread cookies. Peppermint may be the flavor of winter, but chocolate and peppermint together is the flavor of happiness. They taste what you'd imagine a very dense brownie topped with pepperminty icing and crunchiness.

Serving: 24 cookies

Cookie ingredients:

20 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 20 pieces, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp. real vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened dark (Dutch process) cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup sparkling sugar

Cookie coating ingredients:

1 1/3 cups dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup peppermint candy, finely crushed and divided

Directions:

To make the cookies, in an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and brown sugar and mix on medium for about four minutes, or until well blended. With the mixer on low, add in the egg yolk, vanilla, and peppermint extract and run for two minutes more or until completely blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Add this to the butter mixture and run on low for two minutes, or until everything is combined and the dough has come together. Separate the dough into two hunks and shape each into a log with about a two-inch (five-cm) circumference. It's a little messy, but you can do it. Grab two pieces of plastic wrap, place a dough log on each, wrap tightly and roll the logs on the counter to round them out a bit. Place in the freezer for one hour or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cover several baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the sparkling sugar in a pie plate or casserole dish. Set aside.

Once the logs are firm and chilled, roll them in the sparkling sugar to coat and then cut 1/2-inch thick slices using a sharp knife. Place them on the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Place the cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes or the fridge for 20 minutes.

Bake one sheet at a time in the center of the oven for 14 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

Cookie coating directions:

To make the cookie coating, in a medium heat-safe bowl, add the dark chocolate and set over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water. Stir frequently until melted and smooth and then turn off the heat. In another medium heat-safe bowl, add the white chocolate and set over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water. Do not let the water come to a boil. Stir frequently until melted and smooth and then turn off the heat.

Reprinted with permission from The Cookie Book by Rebecca Firth, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018.

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