Five Days of Festive Treats - Day 4: Caribou cookies!

Last week, I overwhelmed you guys with holiday cookie recipes (missed out? Check them out here, here and here). Now that you’ve had a couple of days to digest them all, let’s get back to it, shall we?

Now, for whatever reason, roll-out cookies seem to be a quintessential part of the holidays; if you’re not giving or receiving treats shaped like stars, snowflakes, and tiny, jointless people, then something’s gone terribly wrong. Gingerbread and sugar cookies are pretty standard fare in this department, so today I want to share something that your cookie recipients are less likely to have already received from someone else: caribou cookies! 
caribou-cookies-text.jpg

So caribou cookies are really just speculoos cut out in the shape of a caribou (and a squirrel, evidently). If you weren’t around when I first introduced speculoos back in 2011, let me fill you in. Speculoos are a type of a buttery, Belgian spice cookie reminiscent of gingerbread, but lighter in colour and more delicately flavoured, with more cinnamon, and less molasses and ginger, coming through. And that’s whether you use a deer-shaped cutter or not. 

The dough is initially quite crumbly (mine always starts off looking like sand), but don’t lose heart! It comes together nicely as you roll it out, and will look great after you’ve rerolled it once, following your first round of cutting. That being said, try to minimize the number of times you reroll (so space your cuts strategically). Do that, and your resulting cookies will be both crisp and tender. And because they come out a pretty shade of golden brown, you can get away without decorating them. Which is good news, when you’ve still got another kind of cookie to make. Check back tomorrow, for the last recipe in this crazy project!   
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Caribou Cookies (aka Speculoos)
Adapted from Bon App
étit*
Makes six dozen  

Note:
 As with the other recipes I’ve posted, I’ve left out the instructional photos to make it easier for you guys to scroll between recipes. If you want the photos, which I find are particularly helpful for this recipe, check out the original post 

Ingredients
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg

Directions
1. In a medium bowl, sift together first six ingredients, then give the sifted stuff a quick whisk to make sure everything is evenly incorporated. In the bowl of a stand mixer**, beat together butter and sugar until well-blended. Add egg and beat until incorporated.

2. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, and mix until dough clumps together. Place 1/3 of dough on a large sheet of plastic wrap and shape the dough into a disc (I use the plastic wrap to help me out here). Repeat with each remaining third of dough. Chill dough for at least two hours.  

3. Preheat oven to 325
°F. Remove dough from the fridge and allow to warm up for 5-10 minutes. Unwrap dough, place on a lightly-floured sheet of parchment or wax paper and roll out until 1/4 - 1/5-inch thick. If the dough starts to stick to your rolling pin, dust the rolling pin with a bit of flour. Cut out cookies using a ~2-inch cookie cutter, and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet (as always, I used a Silpat). Gather dough scraps, roll out, and cut. Repeat until you’ve used all of the dough. 

4. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes or until edges are golden (the baking time will vary depending on how thin you’ve rolled your cookies, so keep an eye on them once you hit the 10 minute mark). Cool cookies on baking sheet, and store in an airtight 
container at room temperature.  

*This recipe was originally intended to make cookies AND a tart crust, so it makes a lot of dough. Rather than try to scale it down (who wants to try to use half of an egg?), I made the full batch and put two of the three discs of dough in the freezer for another time. Each disc should yield about two-dozen cookies. 
**No stand mixer? No worries! You can use a bowl and either a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and some elbow grease. 

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