Ask A Philadelphia Expert: Christmas Cookie Recipes

Ask A Philadelphia Expert: Christmas Cookie Recipes

Baking cookies is a favorite Christmas tradition. Add these recipes from Philadelphia experts to your cookie tray this year.

Kerry Burns
Town Crier Bakery
29 Peddler’s Lane
Lahaska, PA 18931
(215) 794-9910

Town Crier Bakery of Upper Dublin
3644 Welsh Rd.
Willow Grove, PA 19090
(215) 657-1624
www.towncrierbakery.com

The Christmas season is always a magical time at Peddler’s Village, located just a short scenic drive from Philadelphia. The lights, the decorations and the quaint shops make it a joy to do a little holiday shopping or just enjoy the sights here. Town Crier Bakery is a must-stop during those holiday visits. The owner Kerry Burns truly embraces the season with more treats than ever. Cheerfully decorated cupcakes and cookies will delight the little ones, and there are plenty of fresh-baked breads and other goodies that are perfect for Christmas morning.

Town Crier Bakery will be leaving Peddler’s Village at the end of 2014, but Kerry and his wife Roseann are very excited about their newly opened Montgomery County location.

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fully by mixing on high for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat.
  4. In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients (without oats and chips) to the wet ingredients, mixing to combine.
  6. Stir in the oats and white chocolate chips.
  7. Form dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Crispy Ginger Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup crystal ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. Use a stand mixer on high to cream the butter, sugars, egg and molasses until light and fluffy (approximately 8 minutes).
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, scraping the sides as needed.
  5. Mix in the crystal ginger.
  6. Form dough into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet, leaving about 2” between cookies.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Makes approximately 20 cookies.

Related: Philadelphia’s Top Spots For Cookies

Karen Boyd Rohde
Bredenbeck’s Bakery and Ice Cream Parlor
8126 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
(215) 247-7374
www.bredenbecks.com

Karen Boyd Rohde has been the proud owner of Bredenbeck’s Bakery in Chestnut Hill since 1983, but her experience with bakeries goes back to childhood. Living above her grandfather and father’s bakery, many of her holiday memories involve working in the bakery to help make thousands of cookies and other treats for customers. Traditional German cookies such as the Springerle and cinnamon stars described below are two favorites from her childhood that she still makes today. Springerle cookies require a lot of patience because they take two days to make, and the flavor doesn’t fully develop for two weeks. The unique anise flavor along with the crunchy outside and chewy inside makes them worth the wait.

Because bakeries that specialize in classic German treats such as these have become harder to find, Bredenbeck’s ships nationwide. But with these recipes, you can also try your hand at making them in your home. Perhaps they’ll become a new family tradition of your own.

Springerle Cookies

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4-1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • Anise seed

Directions:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs at high speed until thick and lemon-yellow in color.
  2. Slowly add the sugar while continuing to beat.
  3. Add the flour, lemon zest, baking powder and anise extract. Beat to combine.
  4. Flour a flat surface to use for rolling your dough.
  5. Use a standard rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 1” thickness.
  6. If you have access to a Springerle rolling pin, lightly flour it and roll it firmly across the dough to make patterns. Try to keep the dough at about an inch in thickness.
  7. Cut cookies apart between the patterns. (If making them plain, cut them into 1” squares.)
  8. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheets, leaving 1/2″ between cookies. Allow them to dry uncovered overnight (12 hours).
  9. Preheat oven to 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cookies on greased cookie sheets, leaving 1/2″ between cookies.
  10. Bake cookies for 25-30 minutes, until they are firm but still white.
  11. Place baked cookies on wire cooling racks. Once cooled completely, store cookies in a tightly sealed container with the anise seed. The flavor takes about 2 weeks to fully develop.

Cinnamon Stars

  • 1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) hazelnuts of blanched almonds, finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large eggs)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • About 1/2 cup additional powdered sugar for rolling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ground nuts, cinnamon and lemon zest. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric stand mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until frothy (about 30 seconds).
  4. Add salt and lower the speed to medium-high, continuing to beat until soft peaks form (1-2 minutes).
  5. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until stiff and glossy (about 5-8 minutes). Put aside about 1/3 cup of the meringue you’ve now made.
  6. Gently fold the nut mixture into the meringue that’s left in your mixing bowl.
  7. Prepare your cookie rolling area by placing a large sheet of wax paper on a flat surface. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar (about 1/4 cup).
  8. Place your dough on top of the powdered sugar and sprinkle with even more powdered sugar. Top with another piece of wax paper, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough until it is 1/4″ thick.
  9. Remove the top piece of wax paper. Use a cookie cutter dipped in water to cut into star shapes. Take the scraps, reroll them and cut any additional shapes you can make.
  10. Place cookies on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, aluminum foil or a Silplat mat.
  11. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until set. Spread the reserved meringue over the tops of the cookies and bake until they are lightly browned on top (about 5 more minutes).
  12. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack. After cookies have completely cooled, they will keep in an air-tight container for up to three weeks.
  13. Makes approximately 3 dozen 2-inch cookies.

Related: Top Spots In Philadelphia For Chocolate Chip Desserts

Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer husband would love to open.
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