Here’s a super simple and quick recipe if you are desperate to bake some homemade cookies in the run-up to Christmas.
The recipe is based on a simple butter dough that you can customise to any flavours and shapes you like. It is a very easy recipe that is also well suited to lazy bakers or children. I have actually been making these cookies almost every year since I’m 10.
This recipe makes a big batch of around 120 small to medium sized cookies.
– 500g plain flour
– 200g caster sugar
– 1/4 tablespoon ground vanilla or a pack of vanilla sugar
– 350g good quality butter
– 2 egg yolks
– 1 whole egg
– a pinch of salt
Mix the flour, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add the egg yolks, the egg and the soft butter. Quickly mix to a soft and even dough. That’s it already for the basic butter dough.
From here you can customise your cookie dough. It is crucial that once you mixed some spices, dried fruits, nuts etc. under your dough, that you chill it in the fridge (wrapped up in cling film) for a few hours or overnight. Take it out of the fridge for about 30 minutes before proceeding with shaping your cookies. The cookies should be baked until golden brown (about 10 to 12 minutes depending on your size) in a 200°C warm oven.
Here are some customization ideas I like. The quantities are each time given for the whole batch, but you can easily divide one batch into 3 or 4 parts to make a mix of different cookies.
– Cinnamon cookies: Mix 2 teaspoons of cinnamon into the dough. Chill. Cut your cookies out or shape them into a pretzel like form (see photo, cookies on the left). Brush the cookies with a mix egg yolk/milk and sprinkle with some sugar. Bake until golden brown.
– Ginger cookies: Mix 1 teaspoon of ground ginger and 50g of finely chopped candied ginger into the dough. Chill. Form the dough into swirls (see photo, cookies on the right) and place 50g of additional chopped candied ginger onto the cookies. Bake in the oven.
– Lemon cookies: Mix the zest of two organic lemons into your dough. Chill. Cut the cookies out and bake them. Once they are cooled off, glaze the cookies with a glaze of lemon juice/icing sugar.
– Black/White cookies: Divide your dough into two parts. Mix 2 tablespoons of dark cocoa powder into one of both parts. Chill. Roll both parts out to a thickness of around 0.4 mm. Place one part on top of the other and roll into a big sausage. Chill. Cut slices of your sausage, the cookies will have a very nice black-white pattern. Bake in the oven.
For optimal conservation keep the cookies in a metal tin. They will stay fresh and crisp for at least two weeks. Finally, you can easily freeze the dough for around 3 months.