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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The colors of the season, red, green, and white, are part of the charm of these delicious Italian cookies from Chef and culinary instructor Terry John Zila. They are a staple of his baking this time of year and he shares his tips for success with you.

"The key to success with these cookies is adding the food coloring when adding the butter. If you attempt to incorporate the food coloring into the cookie dough after it has been mixed, often you get one tough cookie," says Zila.

Note: You will need to make this recipe 3 times; once as written, once with green food coloring and once with red food coloring.

Makes about 4 to 6 dozen cookies, depending on how large you make them.

Italian Striped Christmas Cookies

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

12 tablespoons unsalted butter

*1st batch: no food coloring

2nd batch: ½ teaspoon red food coloring

3rd batch: ½ teaspoon green food coloring

1 large egg

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract

Food Processor Method:

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside

2. In a food processor with the metal blade, process the sugar until very fine.
Cut the butter into a few pieces and add it with the motor running. This would be the time where you would add the food coloring for the 2nd and 3rd batches. Process until smooth and creamy.

3. Add the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and process until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl.

4. Add the flour mixture and pulse in just until incorporated.
If the mixture seems dry, add a few droplets of water and pulse in just until the dough begins to clump together.

Electric Mixer Method:

1. Soften the butter. In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. This would be the time where you would add the food coloring for the 2nd and 3rd batches.

2. Add the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and beat until blended.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.

On low speed, gradually add them to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated.

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