Monday, December 10, 2012

SNOW COOKIES, an LA Times Top Ten Holiday Cookie Bakeoff Favorite (Winner)



Christmas in California takes some getting used to.

I suppose for native Californians, 80-degree days with flowers blooming in December and dining alfresco for Christmas dinner is normal. As a non-native, I have become accustomed to the lack of "winter," but I think it's the only day of the entire year, when I would still like to see snow on the ground. Of course, I'd want it gone by the next day, so I'm really not complaining about the lack of wintry weather (that's why I moved here in the first place) it's more of a lack of "feeling" or the atmosphere of what I grew up with as a child.

When I was a little girl in Scotland, my mother often made a Snow Cake, which had a biscuit (cookie) base, a slathering of raspberry jam, topped with a layer of cake, and crowned with white icing and shredded coconut. I have always been smitten with coconut, and I just adored this cake.


Making Snow Cookies, an adaptation of the Snow Cake my mother used to make, makes it feel more like the Christmas season to me...I mean, they look like beautiful snow-topped delights, don't they? And if you think they just look lovely, oh, you are so mistaken, because Snow Cookies actually taste even better than they look. I'm sure it's the combination of delicate, shortbread-like cookie, with the fruity, raspberry jam, the sweetness of the icing and coconut, all in one bite...its just a fabulous blend of flavors!


Here's another wonderful thing about these cookies: they last a long time (well, I should say they "keep" for a long time; that is, if your family and friends don't finish them immediately!)
You can make a batch of Snow Cookies (without putting the jam in the middle) and they'll stay fresh in a tin for weeks...just sandwich them together right before you plan to eat them or give them away. They're perfect for Christmas and Holiday Cookie Swaps, or to give to friends and family in festive paper boxes, adorned with lovely ribbons or bows. I think it's safe to say that most people would enjoy delicious, homemade cookies much more than many other run-of-the-mill gifts.

As for a White Christmas, I suppose I'll tough it out in the hot sunshine with the rest of my fellow Angelenos, yet again. We may not have snow, but we can have Snow Cookies!



I am very excited and honored that my Snow Cookies were chosen as one of the LA Times Top 10 Favorite Cookies in the 2012 Bakeoff! If you are interested in my tour of the Test Kitchen and photo shoot, you can read about it and see some photos here
The recipe was printed in the December 15th edition of the LA Times newspaper.

*Jan. 18, 2014 I am even more excited and honored to add that this recipe has been chosen as the Better Recipes Editor's Choice in winner for The Best Blogger Recipe Ever: Holiday Recipe Contest, and will be featured on The Daily Dish (online) and in print in Better Homes and Gardens magazine (April issue).


SNOW COOKIES
Makes about 30 2 1/2" or 50 2" cookies

Ingredients

1 cup (8 oz) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup (4 oz) sugar
2 cups (10 oz) good quality, sifted, all-purpose flour

raspberry jam (like Mackay's or Bonne Maman-invest in good-quality jam, it will make your cookies taste better!)

4 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar, sifted
1/4 cup (2 oz) milk
finely shredded, unsweetened coconut (I like Let's Do Organic brand, which is propylene glycol free)


Cream butter and sugar together,
then add flour and mix until a dough forms.


Place half of the dough onto to a well-floured surface,
and roll out to about 1/4" thickness.
Cut with a round cookie cutter (I use a 2" or 2 1/2" cutter.)



Using a metal spatula or turner, lift each cookie...


 then place onto a prepared cookie sheet (I like to use a Silpat Baking Mat)
 and bake in a 350ยบ F oven for 8-10 minutes.


They should not start to brown.
(I turn my trays around halfway through baking to make sure they cook evenly.)
Remove the tray from the oven and set aside for a few minutes 
before transferring cookies onto a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

Allow to cool completely, then pair off similar shaped cookies together,
placing the smoothest cookie on top.


PREPARE ICING:  
mix together confectioner's sugar and milk; 
the icing should be the consistency of Elmer's Glue (it will look like it too!)


Spread or pipe some icing on each top cookie only; do not ice all of them.
I love to use a condiment style bottleto do the outline, then fill in the center.
It's really fun, and easy enough for kids to do!



Don't worry about getting it perfect, because once finished, they will look great!


 Immediately sprinkle with coconut, and set aside with its mate.
 I usually let these dry overnight; they need at least 6 hours for the icing to set.


When the icing is dry, sandwich the cookies together with some raspberry jam.
Place a few on a festive plate, or box them up for a lovely holiday gift!



If you like my Snow Cookies, here are some other treats 
you'll enjoy for the holidays...







Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!




16 comments:

  1. Its all I can do to not eat the screen...I NEED to make these sometime soon!

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    1. Ha ha! Thanks for stopping by, Sandy, and I agree, I think you do NEED to make them soon! :) CC

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  2. I'm gone on these snowy cookies ... was looking around for a new and pretty yummy Christmas cookie ... found it!

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    1. Great, Susan! I'm so glad you found my recipe! Let me know how you like it-I have to make another batch tomorrow (they just disappear!) :) CC

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  3. Oh wow! These look delicious and beautiful. So glad you shared the link over on food52. They might end up as a New Year's cookie for us, but we'll be trying them soon for sure.

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    1. Thank you so much, Marcella! I'm so happy you found my blog and will be making my Snow Cookie recipe soon! I cannot tell you how many batches I've made in the past month! :) Thanks for stopping by! CC

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  4. Wow, Christina! Congratulations! I would love these - I will definitely have to remember them for Christmas.

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    1. Oh, thank you, Susan! Sorry for the delay-I've been travelling and missed this comment. These cookies are really basic and simple, but I think that's what makes them so delicious. One of my favorites! CC

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  5. These Snow Cookies are beautiful. I love them! Am I right in thinking that without the coconut and with a cherry, they would be my all -time favorite in the UK, and particularly Scotland, yummy Empire Biscuits?

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  6. I love that you adapted a childhood favorite cake into cookie form! THe coconut looks so beautiful. I need to get some for my cookie decorating party for sure!

    Luci’s Morsels – fashion. food. frivolity.

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    1. Thank you, Luci! I hope you do try them...they're fun to decorate! :)

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  7. Do you place the icing/coconut on each cookie or just the top one? Can't wait to try!

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    1. Sorry, I didn't see this question until now, John- only ice/sprinkle coconut on half the cookies as the bottom ones will have the jam spread on them.

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  8. Thank you so much for joining my party with your great cookies. They look so yummy! Your recipe is now featured in the Giant cookie party: http://www.delscookingtwist.com/2014/02/02/giant-cookie-party-with-a-twist/

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Questions, comments? I'd love to hear from you!