Friday, November 18, 2011

Grandma Betz’s Sugar Twist Christmas Cookies

When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to send all of the adults in the family a tin of cookies for Christmas. The ones I remember most were the ones she sent to my dad, these sugar twists. My grandma died back in 2002 after a long fight with emphysema. In 2007, I asked my grandfather to send me a couple of my grandma's cookie recipes. He sent me this one, but at that point, I wasn't a good enough baker to execute these cookies. I remember sitting in M's kitchen in Grinnell and rolling out the dough, but in the end, they ended up being too dense and they didn't have any layers.

CIMG0475 (2)
 This is in black and white because...uh, it's like a memory.

In the intervening years, I lost the recipe he sent me - I'm guessing it has to do with the approximately eight times I've had to move since then. I was scouring the internet trying to find the recipe, and I thought this looked close. I decided to make them, but I also added my own touches. I've also written instructions that are a little more clear than the original.


 Sugar Twists
  • 2 1/4 tsp Yeast
  • 1/4 C Water (between 105 and 115 degrees Farenheit)
  • 1 C Unsalted Butter (cold)
  • 3 3/4 C Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 C Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 C Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp Lemon Bakery Emulsion
  1. Stir yeast into warm water and allow to sit while you mix up the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Combine flour and salt. Dice butter and work into the flour mixture. 
  3. Add in the eggs, sour cream, 1 tsp of vanilla, and yeast mixture. Mix until well combined and dough forms. 
  4.  Mix the granulated sugar, 2 tsp of vanilla, and lemon emulsion together until the sugar appears uniform.
  5. Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 375. 
  7. After refrigeration, spread 1/2 C of vanilla on a cutting board and roll out 1/2 of the dough. Place the remaining dough back in the refrigerator until you are ready to roll it out. 
  8. After the dough is rolled out into a large rectangle approximately 1/2" thick, place 1 TBSP of the vanilla sugar along the middle third of the dough. Fold the left and right thirds over one another. Then fold the dough into thirds again so that it is square. Roll out the dough back into the large rectangle. Spread another 1 TBSP of sugar down the middle section and refold back into a square. Roll back out. Add more sugar as needed throughout the rolling out process.
  9. Cut the dough into strips and twirl them into desired shape. The middle cookie in the picture above was folded in half and then twisted. The other cookies were just twisted. 
  10. Repeat with remaining dough.
  11. Baked on a lined baking sheet for 15-10 minutes until golden brown.

My grandma really loved coffee, but it's Coke Zero in this cup! 

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