Nothing puts you in the holiday spirit faster than that first bite of a perfect Christmas cookie. But what makes for the perfect Christmas cookie? It all depends on who you ask. We figured why not ask a pro? We turned to Seattle U alumna and owner of “Hello Robin,” Robin Wehl Martin, ’95, MEd, to share her favorite Christmas cookie recipe with us.
Picture from Hello Robin's website.
Robin did not set out to be a cookie maven. She was a mom who found herself with some free time on her hands for the first time in years. Looking for something to do, she started volunteering her baking skills to help in a friend’s shop in U Village. Robin’s favor soon turned into a baking obsession.
“I was buying 50 pound bags of flour at Costco. One day my husband asked me how many sticks of butter we had. I threw out numbers. 9? 16? The answers was 98 sticks of butter.”
Robin was spending all this money on baking supplies and giving away her cookies for free to neighbors and friends. It was fellow sweet proprietor and friend, Molly Moon (of Molly Moon’s Ice Cream), who convinced Robin to go pro.
“She said, ‘your cookies are great and we don’t want to have to ask you for some every time we want them. We want to be able to buy them.’”
Molly had some extra space in her new building and offered it to Robin as a bakery. Just like that, history was made. Since 2013, Hello Robin has been a Capitol Hill’s favorite place for a cookie and Robin has a job she loves, catering to happy customers who enjoy her treats – and pay for them.
Luckily for us, Robin agreed to share some of baking secrets for the holiday season. Find her perfect Christmas cookie recipe below.
Robin’s Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookies
“This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe I’ve loved for a long time. They are the perfect winter cookie. And summer. And spring. Ok, and fall.”
Before we begin, some tips.
“The biggest mistake people make is they overcook their cookies. Don’t overcook your cookies. The second biggest tip I have is that cookies should be eaten the day you bake them. No one really wants a day old cookie.”
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon mint extract (Sub out mint for vanilla if you aren't feeling festive)
1/2 cup powdered sugar — (for rolling the dough balls in)
1. Melt chocolate and butter together in a glass bowl in the microwave. Start with 20 seconds at a time making sure to stir in between. Do not overcook and watch it carefully so it doesn’t scorch. Set aside to cool.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and cocoa in a separate bowl.
3. Whisk together granulated sugar and eggs in a yet another bowl. Gradually whisk in melted chocolate and butter mixture and add mint extract and stir until smooth. Add in flour mixture. Taste the dough then refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls using your palms, which you may need to wet, then roll in powdered sugar to coat. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing each 1 inch apart. Bake until slightly firm in the center, about 15 minutes.
5. Let cool slightly on sheets set on wire racks. Transfer cookies to racks, and try not to eat until cool.
Don’t put away that apron just yet, Executive Chef for Bon Appetit at Seattle University, Justin Chalk, wanted to join in on the fun and shared his own favorite Christmas cookie recipe and baking tips.
Justin’s Sugar Cookie Recipe
“This is a super simple sugar cookie recipe that my family likes to make and cut into fun holiday shapes, like snowmen, reindeer, wreaths or trees. We then decorate them with icing.”
Before we get to the cookies, a few baking tips from Justin:
•Rotate the pan about half way through to help ensure even baking.
•Use an oven thermometer to check the temperature is correct on your oven setting.
•Use 1/4 inch wooden dowels to roll out your dough. It is a simple way to make sure your rolled dough is even.
•Measure accurately. I like to over fill the measuring cup and use the back side of a knife to level off the cup.
•Chill the dough after cutting and before baking to make a softer cookie.
Christmas Cookie Ingredients
4 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp water
3-4 drops of food coloring
Baking the Cookies:
1)Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2)Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl.
3)In a different bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add the eggs and vanilla.
4)Mix the flour into the butter sugar mixture a third at a time.
5)Divide the dough into four equal portions, then use a rolling pin to roll until about 1/4 of an inch thick and cut into your desired shape.
6)Place on a greased baking sheet and bake until cookies become lightly golden- roughly 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes then remove from the pan
Making the Icing:
1)Combine the sugar and water to create a thick paste, then add desired coloring.
What are some of your favorite Christmas cookie recipes? Share them with us in the comments below.