(Not So) Plain Christmas Cookies

I’ve been meaning to start the Christmas baking early this year, but it’s only today that I was finally able to make time.  The cookies I made are rather plain ones.  The recipe is one of my mum’s, out of one of her cookbooks that dates back to the 1960s.  I didn’t actually start making these until about two years ago, when I decided that something plain and simple wasn’t so bad after all.

Year after year I’d buy the Xmas edition of some women’s magazine or other because they came out with new (or new variations of) Christmas cookie recipes each year.  I’ve tried a lot of them, and I still make quite a few of them every year, but now I can also appreciate the older recipes and the cookies I remember from my childhood.

This year I divided up the original amount of dough to make one part plain and one part not so plain cookies.  I have these new cookie cutters, one shaped like an elk, the other one in the shape of a large snowflake.  I’ve also been meaning to make green tea cookies for a long time now, and that’s why I decided to spruce up half the dough with a bit of green tea (matcha) powder, just for the colour really.  I didn’t want to add so much that it would change the taste of the cookies.  Then I also meant to try out some food colouring and decorating gel.  So I was sure I’d have a ball today with all this new stuff that I wanted to try.

Having said that, my experiments with the food colouring didn’t go as well as I’d expected.  They look extremely amateurish, so I’ll have to practise a bit more.  And probably try different kinds of food colours.

Plain Christmas Cookies

500 g flour
250 g butter
250 g sugar
2 large eggs or 3 medium eggs or 6 egg yolks
grated lemon zest
green tea (matcha) powder, optional

Mix sugar and eggs until creamy, add butter in smallish pieces, then add flour, and mix until you get your typical sugar dough consistency.  Cool for 1 hour.

Roll out dough [I roll it out between two cut-up freezer bags so it won’t stick to the work surface or the rolling pin] and use any kind of cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes at 180°C / 350°F in a fan oven.

As mentioned, I divided the dough to colour half of it with green tea powder.  I used ½ tsp first but that didn’t really show, so I gradually added more by the teaspoon.   In the end – for the colour to really show nicely – I used 5 teaspoons of matcha powder.  Unfortunately after baking they looked rather drab, but you can taste a subtle hint of green tea, so that’s nice.

Overall, I guess I found out I’m not such a decorating whizz, so apart from my few experimentally decorated cookies, I just used icing sugar on the rest of them, which looks very nice, too.  So back to plain, after all…