We're Baking the Season Bright with Swirls!

 

Peppermint Swirl Pinterest

 

Surprise your guests (or Santa!) this year with this versatile sugar cookie recipe! 

 

The swirl cookie can be made to fit any occasion, holiday or your mood!  How? 

 

  • You can use different flavors and extracts, such as almond, coconut, or anise to jazz up the flavor.

  • Using food colors to tint one section of dough can create vibrantly colored cookies.

  • You can roll or sprinkle finished swirl cookie while still warm in sparkling sugar or colored sprinkles adding a festive element to the cookie.

 

 

Best of all, this recipe is incredibly fun and easy....

...but nobody has to know...shhhh....

 

What are we waiting for? 

 

Let's Get Baking!!
 


 

What happens when you're asked to go to that upcoming cookie-swap party?  You start thinking, "What cookie can I bring that will stand out among the crowd of other cookies?" 

Well, it needs to reflect the season and taste great, but what about presentation?  Since we all eat with our eyes first, we want to catch their attention.  And this cookie does it all!

But as with any baked good, there's a lot more happening behind all that deliciousness.  At Young Chefs® Academy, we teach our students more than just the mechanics of a recipe.  We dig into the techniques, skills and educational components involved with each.  Our students experience cooking and baking in a whole new light, bringing recipes to life, each with its own unique story that will remain with them their entire lives.

For example, the following are just a sampling of the questions and topics of conversation that arose during our Holiday Baking Coalition weekly class theme this month:

Did you know that the tradition of making and sharing cookies with friends dates back to medieval times?  Cookies were much easier to share during winter celebrations than cakes. During this time, cooks were becoming more familiar with spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper which were being incorporated into recipes through trade and travels to exotic lands.  

Why do you need to place the dough in the refrigerator? 

This process makes it easier to roll out when the time comes! 

We take it one step further when rolling by placing plastic wrap on top of the dough to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.  From there, we use "The YCA Way to Rock and Roll" method to create the perfectly rolled dough.

 

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What's up with the egg wash?

The egg white glaze is an important step when making these swirl cookies – the egg whites act like a glue to keep the second cookie dough sheet in place when rolling up the dough.

 

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When you roll up the dough, make sure the outside layer has completely encased the inside layer – it will look nicer when sliced.  Just press the seam edges together for a nice, smooth log.

 

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We already refrigerated the dough.  Why does it have to chill before we slice and bake it?

Refrigerating "slice and bake" cookie dough also provides some additional benefits.  King Arthur Flour put it to the test and found some interesting results:

Chilling the dough before baking:

  • Enhances the flavor.
  • Reduces the amount of "spread" due to the fats solidifying when chilled, and allows time for the sugar to absorb liquids in the dough.  This helps it hold it's shape.
  • Produces a chewier/crispier cookie when baked.

 

 
Well, enough of that for now!  It's time to head out for the party with our plate of delicious spiral cookies!




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Chocolate Peppermint Swirl Cookies

Ingredients:

For the vanilla cookie dough:

½ cup powdered sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter
½ tsp salt (extra-fine, preferred)
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup peppermint candy, finely crushed

For the chocolate cookie dough:

½ cup powdered sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup cocoa
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the egg white glaze:

1 large egg white
1 tbsp. water

 

Directions:

  1. To make the vanilla cookie dough: in a medium mixing bowl, cream together sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Add the flour and crushed candy, stirring to make a cohesive dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
  2. To make the chocolate cookie dough: In a medium mixing bowl, cream together sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Add the cocoa and flour, stirring to make a cohesive dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
  3. To make the egg white glaze: Whisk together egg white and water until very foamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.
    To make the swirl cookies: Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper on your work surface. Lay one piece of dough on the parchment and use the rolling pin to roll it into a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Set it aside.
  4. Using another piece of parchment or waxed paper, roll another piece of dough just slightly smaller than the first, into an 8 ½-by-11 ½-inch rectangle. Brush the egg white glaze over the larger piece of dough. Place the smaller piece of dough on top of the larger piece, using the parchment to transport.
  5. Starting with a long edge, use the parchment to help you gently roll the stacked doughs into a tight log, with no gaps. Press the edge to seal, then wrap the log in plastic wrap or parchment paper and freeze until firm.
  6. Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease or line with parchment two baking sheets.
  7. Remove the dough from the freezer, unwrap, and place it on a clean work surface. Let it thaw for 15 minutes. Use a sharp knife to gently cut the log into ¼-inch slices. If the dough becomes too soft to handle, place it back in the freezer briefly. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they feel firm. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

 


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