The Christmas Chicken

  

The Christmas Chicken

 
   

image borrowed from Rustic Kitchen dot com

I inherited these retro cookie cutters that my mother had used to make Christmas cookies. We always insisted on having the bunny, the horse, the Scottie dog as well as the more traditional cookies shapes at Christmastime. But best of all was The Christmas Chicken cookie because as you ate one you had to sing the song from Super Chicken from Rocky & Bullwinkle as an accompaniment to the cookie. Imagine two kids singing this a the top of their lungs.

                      

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKss2pBYQ6Y      

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The chicken stands above its peers.

In honour of that fine old odd tradition, this year we are making, in addition to the chicken cookies,  thanks to a new set of cutters, moose and squirrel cookies and also hedgehog cookies. The moose and squirrel aren’t shaped like Bullwinkle or Rocky though. Someone should invent the whole Rocky & Bullwinkle set of cookie cutters! I’d love a Dudley Doright, Nell and Snidely Whiplash, even one of the little man with the broom that swept up after the parade on Peabody & Sherman. Who wouldn’t?      

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My happy chef

 This year we are using a wonderful recipe we got from Bon Appetit Magazine. I say “we” but it is my husband who will be baking these. I am merely the documentor of his skill in the kitchen. 

You will wonder why the flavour is so familiar. What you are tasting is Animal Crackers, only grown-up and sophisticated with a chewy/crispy texture. It’s the cardamom that reminds you of the childhood staple.    

   

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Cardamom-Orange Sugar Cookies    

Makes about fifty-five  3″ cookies     

These delicious, orangey, chewy cookies are decorate with a sprinkling of raw sugar or iced and decorated.      

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • raw sugar (We used regular sugar) 

      

     

      

  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
  2. Whisk flour, cardamom, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl to blend.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Gradually add 1 cup +2  T. sugar
  5. Beat until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.
  6. Beat in finely grated orange peel and vanilla.
  7. Add egg, beat to blend.
  8. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Beat on low-speed just to blend.
  9. Add remaining flour mixture in 2 additions, beating on low-speed until blended.
  10. Refrigerate until firm about 1 hour.
  11. Divide dough in half.
  12. Form each half into a ball
  13. Flatten into discs and wrap in plastic wrap.
  14. Chill until firm enough to roll out, about 45 minutes
  15. DO AHEAD Dough can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Let chilled dough stand at room temperature until soft enough to roll out about 15 minutes.
  16. Position one rack in the top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven.
  17. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  18. Roll out 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface to generous 1/8″ thickness.
  19. Cut out cookies and transfer to prepared baking sheets spacing 1″ apart.
  20. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
  21. Gather dough scraps into ball. Flatten, cover and freeze dough until firm. About 10 minutes.
  22. Bake until golden brown about 16 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through for even cooking.
  23. Slide parchment paper with cookies onto racks to cool completely.
  24. Let baking sheet cool completely and repeat process with fresh parchment paper.

For a more traditional look, mix a quick glaze by mixing powdered sugar with a bit of milk. Spread the glaze on the cookies then sprinkle with coloured sugar or top with small candies. To add colour, separate the glaze into small bowls and add a different food colouring colour into each bowl.    

Enjoy your chickens, and don’t forget to sing the song!   

    

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4 thoughts on “The Christmas Chicken

  1. Thanks for taking me back to my mom’s Christmas baking extravaganza.

    We had some of those silver shapes. Hmmm, wonder where they went?

    I’m not a big fan of sugar cookies, but these look worth the effort and time.

  2. Ooh, now I remember we had a bunny too. I wonder where it went. I also inherited some cutters, the star, spade (as in cards) heart, bell…much of the usual Christmas fare but now I can only think of the bunny. I’ll have to try the recipe, maybe for easter when bunnies abound.

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