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White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter , softened
1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp granulated sugar , divided
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups white chocolate chips
3 Tbsp shortening
Red and green candy melts (or tinted royal icing)*

Instructions

In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for 20 seconds, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Mix in egg, then blend in molasses and vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during last 10 minutes of chilling.
Scoop dough out about 1 1/2 Tbsp at a time, shape into balls then roll in remaining 3 Tbsp granulated sugar. Transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart (keep dough chilled that is not currently baking), flatten tops just slightly (to evenly level). Bake in preheated oven 8 – 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 cup white chocolate chips with 1 Tbsp shortening at a time in microwave on HIGH power in 10 second intervals, stirring between intervals, until melted, smooth and fairly runny (I did batches of it because it will cool as your dipping, plus its easy to burn so you don’t want to work with too much of it at a time. Then once you’ve used it up melt more, you may not need all 3 cups). Dip half of each cookie in melted white chocolate mixture then run bottom of cookie slightly along edge of bowl to remove excess, then return to Silpat or parchment paper to set at room temperature.
If doing the holly decoration, melt candy melts according to directions on package (I worked in small batches because it sets quickly, maybe 9 chips at a time, plus you won’t need much). Pour into a piping bags fitted with a #4 tip and pipe decorations. Allow to set a room temperature.

Shortbread Bites

Ingredients

1 cup (226g) salted butter, cold and diced into 1 Tbsp pieces*
2/3 cup (142g) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 cups (318g) all-purpose flour (scoop and level flour to measure)
2 1/2 Tbsp (30g) nonpareils sprinkles (any color), then about 1/2 Tbsp more for tops if desired

Instructions

Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and line with 2 sheets of parchment paper (one horizontally and one vertically. I also like to butter between parchment sheets so they stick) leaving a 1-inch over hang on all sides, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until well combined. Mix in almond extract. With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour and mix until combined (it will take a while and will appear dry and sandy at first but it will start to come together). Mix and fold in sprinkles. Press dough into an even layer in prepared pan (I did it with my hands first then used the bottom of a flat measuring cup to help smooth it out). Chill dough in refrigerator 20 – 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lift dough from pan using parchment overhang on all sides. Cut into 1/2-inch squares using a large sharp knife (it works best to just cut long rows). Sprinkle more sprinkles over the top if desired and gently press into dough. Transfer about 1/3 of the cookies to an unbuttered baking sheet (also do not line pan with parchment or silicone liners) and scatter cookies out spacing cookies 1/2-inch apart. Bake in preheated oven 8 – 12 minutes (keep remaining that aren’t currently baking refrigerated). Repeat process with remaining bites, adding them to a cool baking sheet. Cool completely then transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature.

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

2 stick softened unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
3¼ c. all-purpose flour

Directions

In a large bowl, using a mixer set on medium-high, beat together softened unsalted butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract and salt. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add all-purpose flour, beating until ingredients are combined. (Dough will be slightly sticky.)
Divide dough into 4 equal portions and cover each in plastic wrap, patting into 1/2-inch-thick squares. Chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a floured surface, roll out dough, a square at a time, to 1/3 inch thick. Cut out cookies using ornament- or tag-shaped cutters. Transfer cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill for 10 minutes.
Bake until lightly golden, about 12 minutes. Cool completely on pan or wire rack before decorating.

Gingerbread Cookie Dough

Ingredients

4 c. all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
3 stick unsalted butter
1½ c. packed light brown sugar
½ c. molasses
1 large Egg
red paste food coloring

Directions

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, baking soda, and salt.
Beat butter and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture. Divide dough in half. Tint half of dough with desired amount of red food coloring. Shape dough into disks and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove dough from refrigerator, and let stand until slightly softened. Roll dough ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Place template on dough; trim around design. Remove excess dough and rewrap with plastic wrap until ready to reroll. Remove template. Place cut pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake until cookies are crisp and edges just beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and templates.

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