Christmas Spice Cookies
Shared by Kathryn Wilson, this recipe is originally from Dorie’s Cookies, by Dorie Greenspan. Kathryn altered the recipe slightly by creating sandwich cookies with cookie butter filling, which was her friend Adele Bentsen’s idea.
1 pound unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1⅓ cups sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Sanding or decorative sugars for sprinkling (optional)
Biscoff Cookie Butter (optional)
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt together on medium until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and blend in the egg whites, followed by the vanilla. The dough might curdle, but it will smooth out with mixing and the addition of the flour.
Measure the flour in a separate bowl and whisk in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice.
Still working on low speed, add the flour in 3 or 4 additions, beating only until it is almost incorporated each time before adding more; scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl a couple of times as you work and then continue to mix until the flour has disappeared into the dough.
Divide the dough into quarters and shape each piece into a disk. (The dough may be frozen at this point.) Working with one disk at a time, place the dough between pieces of parchment paper and roll it to a thickness of ¼-inch. Slide the dough, still between the paper, onto a baking sheet – you can stack the slabs – and freeze for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Peel away the paper on both sides of the dough and return it to one piece of paper. Using a 2-inch-diameter cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can. (You can use any size or shape cutter you like – just know that the yield will be different.) Place them on the lined baking sheet about 1½ inches apart. Gather the scraps together, re-roll them between paper, and chill.
If you’re using sanding sugar, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with it. Bake for 19 to 21 minutes, rotating the sheet after 10 minutes, or until the cookies feel firm to the touch. Transfer the sheet to a rack and let the cookies rest for 5 minutes before lifting them onto the rack to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the rest of the dough, making sure your baking sheet is cool.
Note: To make sandwich cookies instead, use a simple, small cookie cutter such as a round or rectangle to cut the dough, and then use a very small cookie cutter or a knife to cut out a design in the center of half the cookies before baking. Don't use sanding or decorative sugar. After baking, spread cookie butter on half the cookies and immediately top with a cookie with a decorative cut-out. The small cut-out isn't necessary; pairs of small cookies can be used.
The rolled-out dough can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. The cookies will keep in a covered container at room temperature for up to 1 week. They can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months.
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