Each cookie recipe in Nigella Lawson's Nigella Christmas sits right next to an incredibly appetizing and beautiful glamor shot of the cookie. It's always great to have a visual guide to what the finished product should look like, plus these look so tasty, they haunt you until you get yourself into the kitchen and start baking.
Nigella's cookies are full of trim and tinsel, sparkles and icing. But unlike some cookies that are better to look at than to eat, these taste as good—or even better. These Christmas Chocolate Cookies are a prime example.
The dough is a simple chocolate shortbread that comes together in the mixer in just a few minutes. The cookies are formed into little balls and slightly flattened before baking. Fifteen minutes later, prefect circles of crisp chocolaty goodness emerge from the oven. Once the cookies cool slightly, the decorating begins.
A glaze is made with confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, and the slightest hint of vanilla, which is then spooned onto the cookies and allowed to dribble haphazardly down the sides, acting as a glue for whatever you sprinkle on top. Lawson uses a combination of red, green, and white nonpareils but I chose red and green sanding sugar for a sparklier effect.
The finished cookies not only looked drop-dead gorgeous but tasted amazing too—light and very chocolaty with a rich icing, plus the sugar sprinkles lend a sweet and festive crunch.
Win Nigella Christmas
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Nigella Christmas to give away this week.
- Yield:24 cookies
- 2 1/4 sticks (18 tablespoons) soft butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- For the festive topping:
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup boiling water, from a kettle
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Christmas sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl and, when you have a light, soft, whipped mixture, beat in 1/3 cup cocoa powder (sifting if it is lumpy) and, when that's mixed in, beat in the flour with the baking soda and baking powder. Or just put everything in the processor and blitz, if you prefer.
This mixture is very soft and sticky and I find it easiest to form the cookies wearing my disposable vinyl gloves, so pinch off pieces about 1 tablespoon in size, and roll them into balls, then lightly flatten into fat discs as you place them, well spread, on your cookie sheet; you should get about 12 on at a time.
Bake each batch for 15 minutes; even though the cookies won't feel as if they've had enough time, they will continue to cook as they cool. They will look slightly cracked on top, and it's this cosy, homespun look I love.
Remove the cookie sheets to a cold surface and let it sit for 15 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack, with a sheet of newspaper under it (to catch the drips while topping them).