This recipe is super-sized, as are most of my holiday cookie recipes. I suggest shaping poinsettias out of the first rolling only, however, as the scraps may be a little too dry to shape easily. Thus you will not get quite as many poinsettia cookies here as you might expect. The scraps can be rolled a second time and cut with cookie cutters.
5 cups King Arthur all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups unsalted butter, cool room temperature (15 minutes out of the refrigerator)
2½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, cool room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond extract
several drops of red food coloring
clear sanding sugar or sprinkles
opal or silver shot
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Reserve.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until well incorporated, and then beat in the extracts and food coloring.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix very briefly in short bursts, just until incorporated.
- Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, divide into four equal portions, wrap in plastic wrap, flatten, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- On a flat countertop, lay out a pastry cloth and cover a heavy rolling pin with a rolling pin cover. Flour the pastry cloth and rolling pin cover lightly.
- Working with one disk of dough at a time (keeping the others in the refrigerator), roll the dough out to a square shape with approximately 1/8-inch thickness.
- Using a 2- to 2½-inch-wide plastic ruler, cut the dough into 2- to 2½-inch squares. Cover the rolled dough with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out as you work. These cookies take time to shape.
- Remove one cookie square at a time from under the plastic wrap cover. Using any utensil with a ½-inch radius on one end, impress a ½-inch circle in the center of the cookie, without cutting through the cookie.
- Using a small pizza cutter, pastry wheel, or sharp knife, cut from each corner to the edge of the center circle you just marked. Carefully fold every other cut point to the center of the cookie and press gently to adhere.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cookies, one-by-one, immediately after shaping.
- When the sheet is full, press 3 balls of silver or opal shot into the center of each cookie and then sprinkle heavily with clear or red sanding sugar.
- Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven, let sit for 1 minute, and then remove with a thin spatula to a wire rack to cool.
- When completely cool, pack in layers, separated by parchment paper, into a cookie tin.
Stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark location, the flavor and texture of these cookies will actually improve over 2-3 weeks. They may also be frozen for 2-3 months.
Makes about 5 dozen poinsettia cookies, plus 3 dozen “scrap” cookies.
Copyright 2015 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.