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Pretty Sugar Cookie Sandwiches, Kitchen Sink Bars versatile for holiday baking

11/05/2012 04:12 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
Yolanda Gampp, co-host of "SugarStars" on Food Network Canada, has created three easy-to-make recipes for holiday goodies that your family and friends are bound to love.

Sugar Cookie Sandwiches

To help with your Christmas baking schedule, you can make the dough, cut and bake the cookies and sandwich the cookies on three consecutive days.

"What I love about this recipe is you can cut out any shape you want — a star, a pretty fluted circle with a hole in the middle — and sandwich them together," says creator Yolanda Gampp. "You can switch up the flavours of jam. You can sugar the tops if you want to make them even sweeter."

Roll leftover dough and cut out little stars. Brush with water and top with coloured sugar before baking. Or drizzle with royal icing or melted chocolate once cooled. This way you get more variety from one recipe.

You can also bake the "holes" you cut out too "so you're getting more out of the recipe and wasting less."

650 ml (2 2/3 cups) flour

10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

325 ml (1 1/3 cups) unsalted butter

625 ml (2 1/2 cups) sugar

4 eggs

15 ml (1 tbsp) vanilla

125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar, for sprinkling

250 ml (1 cup) jam (your choice)

In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a separate large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; add vanilla. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until incorporated.

Chill dough for 1 hour or up to 2 days. Roll out dough to 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick. Using cookie cutters or freehand, cut cookies into desired shape. Cut a hole or inner window in half of the cookies. Brush water onto the top cookies with the window. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool.

Once completely cooled, spread jam on bottom cookie and top it with a cookie that has a hole cut out of it.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies (depending on size).

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Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Because the dough used for these cookies is very soft and must be chilled overnight, the process of making them will be spread over a couple of days.

250 ml (1 cup) flour

3 ml (3/4 tsp) baking powder

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

250 ml (1 cup) sugar

75 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil

2 eggs

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla

60 g (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate, melted

Icing sugar, for dredging

In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a separate large bowl, whisk sugar with vegetable oil. Mix in eggs, one at a time, and stir in vanilla. Pour in melted chocolate and mix. Stir in flour mixture until it's incorporated. The dough will be very soft. Chill overnight.

Portion dough into evenly shaped balls. You can chill the dough balls once again for a day or you can freeze them for a week. Let thaw in refrigerator before baking.

When you are ready to bake cookies, dredge balls in icing sugar. They should be fully covered; don't brush away any excess. Space balls out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

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Kitchen Sink Bars

This is an easy recipe to play with and does not require any special equipment, says Yolanda Gampp. You can easily switch the toppings to manipulate flavours. For even more variety, she also suggests switching the base to a gingersnap crumb crust or a chocolate cookie crumb crust.

250 ml (1 cup) toffee bits

250 ml (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

250 ml (1 cup) slivered almonds

500 ml (2 cups) graham cracker crumbs

175 ml (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Line bottom and sides of a 33-by-23-cm (13-by-9-inch) pan with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine toffee bits, chocolate chips and almonds; set aside.

In a separate bowl, place graham crumbs and mix in melted butter. Press into prepared pan. Pour condensed milk on top of graham crumb base. Sprinkle toffee mixture over condensed milk.

Bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool overnight. Remove from pan and cut into bars.

Makes 2 dozen.

Topping Variations

Try whatever you like.

250 ml (1 cup) raisins

250 ml (1 cup) milk chocolate chips

250 ml (1 cup) peanuts

250 ml (1 cup) coconut

250 ml (1 cup) white chocolate

250 ml (1 cup) dried cranberries

Source: Cakes by Yolanda.

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