Christmas Cookie Tally:done: 7 frozen dough: 3 still to do: 6
Too many? Maybe… It’s now the last week before Christmas and I only have 4 more days at home. 4 days to knock out several more recipes while still making time for the gym, keeping the crumbs vacuumed off the floor, and the dishes from piling too high in the sink. I’ve entered panic mode. I need a day off just to finish all the baking! And then there’s the problem of how exactly I am going to fly with all these cookies.
A few years ago, I completely filled a 22 inch carry on with the cookies so I could carefully safeguard them from getting crushed by careless airport employees who over-zealously toss bags around for sport. (That was also the year I got stuck in the Detroit airport for 15 hours, but was confident that A: I wouldn’t starve and B: I had major bargaining material.) Last night I realized that isn’t going to work this year since the first leg of my flight is sure to be in a tiny plane where the bins are too small and all the carry on bags get gate-checked. I guess I’ll figure it out when I’m packing Thursday night.
This weekend Mr. R and I dipped pretzel shaped butter cookies in chocolate and sprinkled them with Swedish pearl sugar to look like salt. I also baked up two batches of biscotti and sliced and baked some orange poppy seed spirals that got a lot of attention last week when I posted a casual picture before popping the dough in the freezer. Several of you asked for the recipe and now that I’ve baked the cookies and they get my full approval, I feel confident sharing it. These cookies are nicely crisp with great orange flavor. Hopefully it’s not too late if you want to include it in your own holiday baking!Orange Poppy Spirals I think the spiral of poppy seed filling gives these cookies more eye-catching appeal and a bit of added sweetness. Make sure to leave enough room between them before baking as they puff up and spread a bit. (adapted from Joy the Baker) 10 Tbsp 60/40 (or butter) 1 Cup granulated sugar zest of two oranges 1 egg + 1 egg yolk 1 tsp vanilla 2 Cups flour 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 can poppy seed filling
Put the sugar into a medium bowl and zest the oranges over it. Using the back of a spoon or your fingers press the zest into the sugar until it becomes wonderfully fragrant and slightly wet looking.
Beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl then add in the flour mixed with the salt and baking powder. Mix just until everything comes together.
Spread a sheet or two of plastic wrap on a flat surface. A silpat works great here because the plastic wrap sticks to it instead of sliding around on your table/counter or sticking to itself. Scoop the dough on the plastic wrap and shape into a thick rectangle. Place another piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough and press it down. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick, trying to keep all the edges square.
Open the poppy seed filling and spread an even layer all over the dough. I used about 2/3 of the filling. An offset spatula really works great here, but a table knife should work fine too. If the dough seems too sticky to work with, chill it in the fridge for a few minutes, just not too long or it may crack when you roll it up. Fold the long edge of the dough over the filling, then using the plastic wrap underneath the dough, gently roll it into a tight spiral. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for 2 hrs to several days. The dough is very soft at this point, but you want it to be as firm as possible before proceeding.
Preheat the oven to 350° and line two or three baking trays with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the freezer, unwrap and cut with a sharp knife into 1/4 inch slices. To avoid getting cookies with flat sides, rotate the log occasionally so the pressure of the knife doesn’t always press down on the same edge. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the baking trays and bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browning at the edges. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.