slice and bake brown sugar cookies

Copy of IMG_1207

It’s Thanksgiving! And that means it’s officially Christmastime!

Right?

Oh, it means something about giving thanks? Hmm. That’s cool too.

Copy of Copy of IMG_1129

Still, once the feast is over, it’s all about Christmas. I used to try to hold off thinking about, hearing, and seeing anything Christmas-related until Thanksgiving, but you can imagine how successful that strategy was. These days, I’m more in the ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ mindset. I didn’t play carols or put up my tree, but I did smile over cute decorations.

Copy of IMG_1153

What better way to kick off the Christmas season than cookies? One of my favorite Christmas cookies, in fact, and I think I finally figured out exactly why I like them so much.

Copy of Copy of IMG_1198

The dough is pretty typical for cookies, with butter, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla, flour, and leavening. But, it uses twice as much brown sugar as white sugar, which…you guys! It’s chocolate chip cookie dough, without the chocolate! Nothing against chocolate, but that’s pretty much my perfect cookie.

Copy of IMG_1192

Plus, they’re so pretty. It takes a bit of effort to get them into the different shapes, but once they’re formed, you just throw the logs of dough in the freezer, then bake however many you want whenever you want.

Copy of IMG_1190

These cookies are delicious, they’re not hard to make, they look impressive, and their timing is completely flexible. In other words, they’re perfect. There can be no better way to shift into the Christmas season.

Copy of IMG_1208

One year ago: Multigrain Pancakes

Printer Friendly Recipe
Slice and Bake Brown Sugar Cookies

Makes about 8 dozen

The only slightly difficult part of this recipe is rolling out the dough to an exact size. The best method I found was to initially roll it out to about twice the desired size, then trim the edges to a shape 1 inch smaller in each direction than you eventually want. Place the trimmings on the cut rectangle, cover with wax paper, and roll out to your final desired size (see photos above).

Update 12/22/2011: I like these cookies even better with a ½ cup less flour (3½ cups total).  The dough is stickier, and there’s no way you’d be able to roll it out to the right size, but I’ve decided that simply pressing it to the right size is easier anyway.

4 cups (19.2 ounces) unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, preferably room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
20 tablespoons (2½ sticks) butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (7 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
½ ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Break the eggs into a small measuring cup, whisk them lightly, and mix in the vanilla.

2. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl if you’re using a hand-held mixer). Beat the butter on medium-low speed until it’s smooth, then add the salt and both sugars. Continue beating on medium-low until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running, gradually add the egg mixture. Once the eggs have been added, scrape the sides of the bowl once, then continue mixing on medium speed for about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until evenly combined. Divide the dough into three equal portions.

3. For the striped cookies: Divide the first portion of dough into three more equally sized parts. Color one third red, another green, and leave the last one white. Between sheets of wax paper, roll each portion out to a 3-by-9-inch rectangle. Freeze the rectangles for about 10 minutes, until they’re firm enough to cut and stack. Cut each rectangle in half lengthwise to form two 1½-by-9-inch rectangles. Stack the rectangles of dough, alternating colors, to form a block of dough with stripes. Trim the edges if desired. Wrap in wax paper and freeze for at least four hours, or up to 4 weeks.

4. For the checkerboard cookies: Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on half power for about 30 seconds. Stir, then repeat the heating and stirring until fully melted, being careful not to burn the chocolate. Divide one portion of dough into two equally sized parts. Mix the chocolate into one half and leave the other plain. Roll each portion into a 9-by-3-inch rectangle. Freeze the rectangles for about 10 minutes, until they’re firm enough to cut and stack. Cut each rectangle into eight 9-by-3/8-inch strips. On a sheet of wax paper, lay four strips next to each other, alternating colors. Press the strips together gently to remove any gaps. Lay another four strips on top of the first layer, alternating colors between layers. Repeat twice more, until there are four layers of four strips each. Trim the edges if desired. Wrap in wax paper and freeze for at least four hours, or up to 4 weeks.

5. For the spiral cookies: Divide the last portion of dough into two equally sized parts. Color one half red and the other green. Between sheets of waxed paper, roll each portion of dough into an 8-by-8-inch square. Without chilling the dough, stack the squares, then tightly roll them together to form a spiral. Wrap the dough in wax paper and freeze for at least fours hours, or up to 4 weeks.

6. When ready to bake, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Slice the frozen logs into cookies about 1/8-inch thick. Lay the cookies on the prepared pan, about ½-inch apart. Bake for 7-10 minutes, just until the tops no longer look wet. Let the cookies cool on the pan for about 2 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks. Serve at room temperature. Stored in an airtight container, the cookies will be good for at least a week.

Copy of IMG_1220

Comments

  1. Great cookies, I love the stripey pink and green ones most. Beautiful crisp pictures.

  2. bridget says:

    Sarah – Ah, yes, but can we pretend that the pink = red? And then these look more like the Christmas cookies they were meant to be. :)

  3. Lucy says:

    These cookies look delicious – the stripey one is my favourite. They’re so pretty!

  4. Carleen says:

    Mine always come out pink too! I love reading your blog. It gets better and better as time goes by!

  5. Manggy says:

    I like the ribbon ones the best- they are the cutest! :)

  6. Erin says:

    These are so cute! They would be perfect for a Christmas party!

  7. Laura says:

    These are beautiful and my husband likes chocolate chip cookies without the chips :) I’m going to have to try this cookie technique out sometime

  8. Caitlin says:

    Yesyesyesyes. And brown sugar. Yes. (turns out I become incoherent at the end of night shifts. whoda thunk?)

  9. kate says:

    Hi!
    So, I’m a long time lurker who has emerged to comment on these cookies. WOW are they delightful! I’m not typically a fan of sugar cookies, but these were so beautiful I had to give them a try and oh boy are they yummy!
    Thanks for sharing :)

  10. these look very impressive.

  11. Shauna says:

    Love these! They are so amazing looking!

  12. jama says:

    These were awful! They’re hard, tasteless. They taste like playdoh. Never again.

  13. bridget says:

    jama – It’s too bad these didn’t work out for you. If you bake them too long or at too high a temperature, I could see how they would get hard. I’m not sure how they could end up tasteless though; I’ve eaten them for the last thirty years without complaint!

  14. Carol says:

    Oh My!! You can’t imagine how excited I am. I’m headed to the kitchen to make cookies. The year I got married (1961), the December issue of Family Circle had the “Slice a Fancy Cookie” recipe. Over the years, raising five kids, the cookies were a tradition. Anyway, I lost the magazine;I lost a copy of the recipe; and I have searched and searched for a copy of the magazine to no avail. It has been several years now of bumbling with other refridgerator cookie recipes (none worked quite as nicely). The pictures are great. They look just like my cookies.!! Thank you for posting this … YOU have made my day!

Speak Your Mind

*