Merry Christmas dear readers and friends Hope all of you are having a blessed day. May the Lord Jesus provide you Peace, Joy, Happiness and all Blessings that you need!!! Am sure everyone must be enjoying the celebration mood that has been swaying all through the air this season and am sure this will be the same until New year!! How ever we celebrate lets not forget the poor and the needy. We share gifts and edibles to our family, friends and neighbors, there is definitely a joy in it, but this is just the routine job we follow on every auspicious day and most of the times this becomes a fake duty!! I do not mean here to forget your friends and family, but what is the use in just sharing with people who already have enough? Jesus said, “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.” There are needy standing outside your door step and what would a celebration mean when you rejoice and your fellow member is still in need? How much joy would it be to help them, how happy it would be if we serve the hungry? A piece of your fruit cake would be a royal treat to them!! The satisfied smiles we receive from them is worth more than any kind of celebration! And indeed God wants us to do so!! In fact the Bible says, "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deeds" - Proverbs 19:17. How wonderful it would be when God Himself will repay us!!
So, whatever be the celebration, lets not forget our fellow brothers who are in need!! Share some of your gifts with them too and make their day!!
And also lets not forget to praise God for the goodness He has provided us. We are already at the end of 2013 and lets sit back and count all the Blessings we have received from God, lets not count the tears, lets not regret about the mishaps in the past, but let's move on with Hope and Faith into the blessed 2014.
Now lets move on to today's special for the season! Here is a cookie that can be packed and sent to loved ones as edible gifts or used as ornaments or decorators in a Christmas tree. The cookie centers are filled with candies that makes the cookies look adorable. These are fun to make and kids will go crazy for these, who doesn't love a double treat? A candy and a tasty cookie on the same hand!! I used mango, strawberry, black currant and orange flavored candies and hence each cookie gave a different flavor which was absolutely a delight to the senses. These cookies can be customized season wise and are super simple to prepare. I have used the basic cookie dough to prepare these, you can use any other cookie base too. Now lets see how to bake these pretties.
INGREDIENTSPreparation Time - 1 hour
Baking Time - Under 15 minutes
Makes 50 to 60 cookies (Depending on the size and thickness of cookies) Adapted from Chilly Frosting
- All purpose flour / Maida - 250 grams
- Granulated sugar - 100 grams
- Unsalted butter - 100 grams (slightly cold)
- Egg - 1
- Vanilla extract / Vanilla essence - 1/2 teaspoon
- Milk - 2 tablespoons (or as required)
- Salt - 2 pinches
- Baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Hard candies - As required (Different flavors and colors preferably)
OVEN / OTG SETTINGS
- Heater / Rod select - Both
- Shelf / Tray placement - Center
- Temperature - 175°C (350 F)
- Baking time - 5 to 8 minutes
- Preheat Oven For - 10 minutes
- Take a mixing bowl add flour, salt, baking powder and sugar, whisk well using a hand whisk.
- Add butter and mix well to this flour mix and mix well using your fingers.
- Lightly beat egg using a spoon and add it to the mixture, mix well. If your dough is crumbly add milk and knead well to make a soft dough.
- Now wrap the dough in a plastic wrap or just place in a bowl and cover with a lid, then let it rest in a refrigerator for half an hour or until the dough chills and is not soft.
- Then line a baking tray with parchment or butter paper and set aside.
- Now place the chilled dough on a rolling board (pastry board / chapati board) and roll it flat until it is thin.
- After rolling, cut into shapes using a cookie cutter.
- Then cut out some shapes, in the center using a smaller cookie cutter/mini moulds/any bottle caps. You can be creative here with the design and use your own ideas. (You can prick some holes using a skewer or toothpick or a straw on the cookies to hang it and use as decorators)
- Then transfer the cut out cookies carefully onto the lined baking trays.
- After transferring the cookies onto the lined baking tray, place the tray in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 175°C (350 F) for 10 minutes.
- After chilling, remove the tray from refrigerator and slide the tray into the center rack of the preheated oven.
- Bake the cookies for 8 minutes at 175°C (350 F). (If your cookies are too thin then bake for 5-6 minutes)
- Meanwhile, unwrap the candies, separate them color-wise into individual plastic bags or ziplock bags and crush the candies using the rolling pin or meat tenderizer, set them aside.
- Now after 8 minutes, remove the cookie tray from the oven.
- Spoon small amount of crushed candies onto the center of the cookies inside the cutout holes. Do not load too much.
- Now slide the tray again into the oven and bake for another 5 minutes or just until the cookies start to brown on sides and the candies gets melted well. It will be bubbling at this stage. (If you take long to fill the cookies with candies then preheat the oven for 5 minutes before baking again)
- Now remove the tray from the oven and set aside until the cookies cool down completely. When done gently remove the cookies from the parchment paper or butter paper.
- Then set the cookies aside for it to cool completely. Do not attempt to remove the cookies before they completely cool down. (Do the same with the rest of the dough and bake the cookies similarly)
- Store in airtight containers, use as decorators or gift wrap them.
To Prepare Normal Sugar Cookies:
- Follow the same procedure upto rolling the dough.
- Then just cut out different shapes with cookie cutters and bake them at 175°C (350 F) for 6 to 8 minutes. The time depends on the size of your cookies, so just check your cookies after 5 minutes. The corners should have browned a little. The cookies may seem soft initially but they will turn crisp once they cool down.
TIP 1: You can make any shapes and customize the colors and design of the cookies according to your wish.
TIP 2: Use only the hard candy type. It will look beautiful when you use different colors and the cookies will taste great when using different flavors.
TIP 3: Remove the cookies only after the crushed candy filling starts to boil & bubble. After removing from the oven the candy will set well.
TIP 4: When left outside (while using as decorators) for a long time the candies may melt and the cookies will lose the crispiness, you can reheat it in the oven again for 4 to 5 minutes. Before reheating preheat the oven as we always do for baking.
Beautiful decorator cookies are now ready! Serve or hang as ornaments or gift wrap these!!