EAT | Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Regardless of how old I get, I will always make cookies for Santa. There is something ingrained in me that ignores the very real fact that I am the one who eats said cookies, and not a jolly bearded man doing a well intentioned B&E. I can’t even tell you where this impulse comes from because it sure as hell is not a result of my childhood! My step-father, the brilliant man that he is, convinced childhood me that a slice of chocolate cake and a cold beer was more appropriate to leave out for Santa. After all, he had been visiting all those other houses, whose children had been leaving milk and cookies. Gotta give the old man a bit of variety, right?
My parents were clearly diabolical geniuses.
Childhood deception aside, I still am totally on board with the idea of cookies for Christmas eve. Every year I make the usual sugar cookies, or chocolate chip cookies, but they are never as festive as I would like. What I really want is some gingerbread cookies. You know the ones; with the white, patterned frosting lovingly piped onto each snowflake and star shape. There’s only one problem. I absolutely, positively, cannot STAND gingerbread. It’s one of the few baked goods that I will actually hide in my napkin and throw away later, rather than have to struggle to choke the damn thing down! They look so pretty but taste so bleh! I know I’m probably one of the few who feels this way about gingerbread, but I still feel like I need to help my fellow haters out!
Never fear - Chocolate sugar cookies are the answer my friends. Dress em up right and they look just like gingerbread cookies, except exponentially better. Because, you know, they aren’t gingerbread cookies! Just like their vanilla counterpart, they hold their shape when you bake them into your favourite festive form. Pipe on a little white royal icing and BOOM! Faux Gingerbread cookies! Santa won’t even know the difference! Who knows, he might be thankful for the ‘variety’….
- 230 grams of butter
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 2 cups of plain flour
- ¾ of a cup of cocoa powder
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 egg white
- 1½ cups of icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- Place the butter (softened) and sugar into a large bowl and cream together using an electric mixer on low speed. Mix until light and creamy - approx. 1 minute.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add in the vanilla and egg. MIx again until combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa, flour and salt. Add to the wet mixture gradually, mixing in between each addition. Mix until the dough starts to form a ball around the paddle.
- Turn out onto a baking paper and place another piece on top. Roll the dough between the two pieces of paper until at least 10mm thick.
- Using Christmas cookie cutters, cut out your cookie shapes from the rolled out dough. If you find the dough is too soft you can place it (covered), into the refrigerator for 30 minutes before completing this step.
- Remove any excess dough from around the cookie shapes and set aside. Slide the paper and the cut out cookies onto a baking tray and place into the fridge for around 15 minutes. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the excess dough until you have used it all.
- Once chilled, transfer the tray of cookies to an oven preheated to 180 degrees Celsius. Bake for around 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are firm to the touch.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the Royal Icing: Place the egg white and lemon juice into a bowl and lightly whisk.
- Add the icing sugar and stir with a spoon until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Pour into a piping bag with the smallest circular attachment. It is easiest to do this by placing the bag with the nozzle in the bottom of a tall glass and open the bag over the rim of the glass.
- Twist off the empty part of the bag so that the icing is firmly in the bottom and gently squeeze to start the flow of icing.
- Pipe your choice of shapes and patterns onto your cookies. Be creative! Piping takes a little practice, so set aside some 'testing' cookies to try it out on before moving onto the rest of the batch (you can always snack on these ones while you do the others!)
- Allow the icing to set so it is hard to the touch.