Vanilla Almond Checkerboard Cookies

Sporting a sweet checkerboard pattern, these Vanilla Almond Checkerboard Cookies prove it can still be hip to be square.

Vanilla Almond Checkerboard Cookies
Makes 48 to 60 cookies
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) almond extract
  • 3⅓ cups (416 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • Red gel food coloring*
  • Black gel food coloring*
  • Green gel food coloring*
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Beat in extracts.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until a dough forms and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  3. Turn out dough onto a large piece of parchment paper. Divide dough into 4 portions (about 230 grams each). Return 1 portion to bowl. Add red and black food coloring, and beat at low speed; repeat just until desired color is reached.
  4. Clean bowl of stand mixer and paddle attachment. Place 1 portion plain dough in bowl. Add green and black food coloring, and beat at low speed; repeat just until desired color is reached. Leave remaining 2 dough portions plain.
  5. Place 1 dough portion on a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape into a 4½ -inch-long, 1⅝ – to 13/( 4) -inch-wide square log. (A plastic bench scraper is a great tool for squaring sides.) Wrap dough log in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining 3 dough portions. (It is OK if logs are not perfectly square at this point.) Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 2 to 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Using a sharp knife, trim sides of 1 plain dough log to create a 41/( 2) -inch-long, 1½ inch-wide square log. (See PRO TIP.) Slice dough log lengthwise into 3 equal strips. Stack strips; cut stacked strips in thirds lengthwise to create 9 equal strips. Wipe knife clean, and repeat procedure with red dough log.
  8. Arrange a red strip, a plain strip, and a red strip side by side lengthwise. Stack a plain strip, a red strip, and a plain strip side by side on top of first layer of strips. Stack a red strip, a plain strip, and a red strip side by side on top of second layer of strips to create a checkerboard-patterned rectangular log. Repeat with remaining plain and red dough strips to create another checkerboard-patterned rectangular log, but begin pattern with a plain strip, a red strip, and a plain strip. Gently press together strips of each checkerboard dough log; wrap each log in plastic wrap, and place on a small baking sheet. (Aim for sides to be as flush and flat as possible, but it is fine if some sides are uneven. You will trim them further later.) Freeze for 15 minutes. Repeat procedure with remaining plain and green dough logs.
  9. Using a sharp knife, trim ends of 1 dough log. Slice log crosswise into ¼ -inch-thick square cookies. Trim and square edges of sliced cookies as needed. (See PRO TIP.) Place 1 to 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining logs.
  10. Bake, one batch at a time, until bottoms are lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire racks. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
*We used Wilton Gel Food Color in Red, Green, and Black. You will likely need more ample amounts of red and green to get the desired shade. Add the black very slowly and sparingly to help deepen the colors, if needed.

Save any dough trimmings and squish them together to create a festive, marbled dough. Lightly flour a sheet of parchment paper, and place dough on top. Lightly flour top of dough, and cover with another sheet of parchment; roll to about ¼ -inch thickness. Remove top sheet of parchment; using desired cutters, cut dough, and place 1½ to 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. If dough feels too soft to transfer, refrigerate dough on parchment for 25 to 30 minutes before transferring to baking sheets. Bake at 400°F (200°C) until bottoms are lightly golden, about 6 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Reroll, cut, and chill scraps as needed.




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