Wherein I answer a leftover question from last week’s Free Range chat:
I bought some super-cute pie crust cutters in leaf shapes for my Thanksgiving pies. I’d like to use them more than once a year, though! What types of cookies would take to being stamped/cut out with these tools for the holidays?
You’ve come to the right place! Today’s WaPo Food proudly presents our annual holiday cookie extravaganza, and amid the usual treasure trove of terrific recipes are at least two that can be used with your leaf cutters.
First among them is Dorie Greenspan’s Do-Almost-Anything Vanilla Cookie Dough. This is a basic, lovely and workable dough with a million possible uses: It can be tweaked and flavored in oh, so many ways, and the recipe includes four variations on the basic cookie. We appreciated it plain, and either iced or with sprinkles. It takes very kindly to cutters.
And if any of your leaf shapes are even close to looking like holly, you can have some fun with this recipe and dye the dough green, then pipe on some red icing berries after baking and either keep the cookies separate or use them to assemble a cookie wreath.
Same goes for gingerbread. This year’s Cookie Project involves two kinds of gingerbread cookie dough — chocolate and light — and you could use either of them with your cutters.
Other recipes in our Recipe Finder database that would work well for you: Heather Chittum’s Sugar Cookies; Holiday Cutouts; Maggie Austin Signature Cookies; Sugar Cookie Tree; Key Lime Sugar Cookies; Good and Easy Rolled Sugar Cookies.
Just as you would when working with pie crust, make sure the cookie dough you’re using is chilled, so you get the cleanest cut and a shape that doesn’t get stretched out when you transfer it to the baking sheet. (In general, you’re looking for a smooth dough that can be rolled thin, cuts cleanly and contains little or no baking powder.) If the dough gets too warm, refrigerate or freeze it until it becomes firm again. Your leaf shapes should do just fine.
Cookies are bound to be a hot topic during today’s Free Range chat, starting at noon and welcoming special guest Kristen Hartke, who writes this week about the popular Vegan Treats Bakery in Pennsylvania. (You don’t have to be vegan to love it, and you can find some of their treats without leaving the Washington area.) Remember, the chat lasts just one hour, so submit questions early. And check this space next week for more leftovers.