Creating Christmas Botanical Cookies
Kairi really liked making the Fall Botanical Cookies we made around Thanksgiving. So for Christmas, we decided to go with the same pressed leaf, shortbread cookie process to create some beautiful Christmas botanical cookies.
Shortbread Cookie Recipe
- Strainer/Sifter https://amzn.to/396RRF1
- Flour https://amzn.to/36SwuVq
- Salt https://amzn.to/2KvHeBD
- Unsalted butter
- Sugar https://amzn.to/2KnYCbi
- Handheld mixer https://amzn.to/3fmuvwe
- Vanilla extract https://amzn.to/336KidE
- Oven thermometer https://amzn.to/36XPT7j
- Parchment paper https://amzn.to/36UpPtS
- Rolling pin https://amzn.to/2J6dk6o
- Ateco round cookie cutter set (2 ½ inch cutter) https://amzn.to/35UU70l
- Baking sheet https://amzn.to/3pRqogQ
- 3 ¾ – 4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups of unsalted butter (3 sticks or 336 grams), at room temperature
- 1 ⅓ cups of sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons for vanilla extract
- Sift together the 3 ¾ cups of flour and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Sift ¼ cup of flour in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a bowl, using a handheld mixer (or a stand mixer with paddle attachment), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Next add the vanilla extract until fully combined. Scrape down the bowl.
- On low speed, add sifted dry ingredients (3 ¾ cups of flour with the 2 tsp of salt) about 1 cup at a time, mixing until dough sticks to the beaters (or paddle). Add up to another ¼ cup of the sifted flour if the dough is sticky. When you touch the dough, it should have a little give but does not stick to your fingers.
- Let dough rest for 1-2 minutes to firm up.
- Preheat the oven to 365 degrees F. Use a thermometer for an accurate oven temperature.
- Sprinkle all-purpose flour over the parchment paper to prevent the dough from sticking. Chill dough for about 20 minutes to make it easier to roll and cut out. Remove the dough and place it on the parchment sheet. Roll out dough to about ¼ inch thick. Stamp out your cookies with the round cutter.
- Arrange the cookies about 1 ½ inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. The cookies will expand a bit during baking. Reserve the uncooked cookie scraps to reuse the dough.
- Place in the oven on a centered rack and bake for about 6 minutes and then rotate the pan and let cookies bake for another 6-8 minutes, or until bottom edges are slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool down.
Makes about 3 ½ dozen cookies.
Cut butter into small cubes for quicker room temperature butter.
You can freeze the dough flavored or unflavored for up to 2 weeks.
Baking times are approximate depending on your oven and the thickness of your cookie. Watch the first couple of times you bake them.
I prefer a baking sheet with no sides so I can slide the parchment paper off immediately to stop the cookie from baking in the residue heat.
Christmas Botanical Cookies – Christmas wreath and Christmas tree leaf pressed cookies
- Flower press kit https://amzn.to/3nMtlNz
- Tissue paper https://amzn.to/3kRhCvj
- Fennel. You also find dill at your local grocery store. ***The fennel does give a slight licorice taste even after being pressed and dried***
- Large book
- Piping gel https://amzn.to/36SH8LG
- Brush https://amzn.to/37bLSNW
- Rainbow candy coated chips https://amzn.to/347XmAc
- Shortbread cookie
- Read the flower press kit’s user manual and instructions before you begin to press flowers. We recommend testing out a couple stems before doing a full sheet.
- Cut 2 tissue paper sheets the same size as the pads/fabric sheets.
- Slightly spray or damp some water on the pads.
- Load the flower press with one platen ribbed side down, one pad on top, one piece of fabric on top of the pad, and then one tissue sheet over the fabric sheet. Place the leaves/flowers to be pressed on the tissue sheet making sure they sit flat and do not overlap or touch each other. Carefully place one tissue sheet on top of the leaves/flowers, fabric sheet over the tissue sheet, pad over the fabric sheet and then platen on top of the pad and close it firmly with the clips.
- Place in the microwave to press the leaves/flowers. Pressing times will vary depending on the power of your microwave, the amount of moisture on the pads, and size/amount of the leaves/flowers. For us, the initial burst was 20 secs and the secondary bursts were 10 secs each. Between each burst we would open up the flower press and let it stand for 30 seconds to ventilate.
- Keep doing short bursts until leaves/flowers are dry and have a ‘papery’ feel. It should be stiff and not droop. Check on leaves/flowers in between each burst.
- Remove tissue paper with the leaves/flowers and place them in a book to store them flat.
- Cut the fennel leaves as needed to decorate your cookie.
- Wreath shortbread cookies: Get one shortbread cookie, brush a thin layer of piping gel on the cookie and carefully place fennel. Then dab a little piping gel to add on the coated candy chips.
- Christmas tree cookies: Get one shortbread cookie, spread a thin layer of piping gel and carefully place the fennel on top of the cookie. Then dab a little piping gel to add on the coated candy chips.
- Let piping gel fully dry before packaging the cookies.
We would recommend pressing the flower/leaves as soon as they come in and baking the cookies at a later time.
Load the same types of leaves/flowers so they can be pressed evenly.
Always do short bursts to prevent leaves/flowers from burning.
We use tissue paper to keep the fabric sheet clean and to store the leaves/flower easier in the book.
The leaves/flowers can be delicate after being pressed. Sometimes it is easier to remove them from the tissue paper with a tweezer.
Recipe adapted from www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/butter-shortbread-cookies-236612
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