Before launching my Advent Calendar on December 1st, I’m posting twelve days of holiday baking. These are streamlined versions of my favourite holiday cookie, bar, and Bûche de Noël recipes, old and new.
Since I’m starting off on a Sunday, and since I’m in the midst of jury duty, I thought I’d begin with the most cheeky of my holiday recipes: Punch and Judy Cookies.
A Punch and Judy show is a traditional, often somewhat violent puppet show, in which Punch and his wife Judy become engaged in over-the-top domestic spats. My own favourite Punch and Judy show is in the movie, Holiday (1938). Just when Johnny Case (Cary Grant) gets too big for his britches, his friends Nick (Edward Everett Horton) and Susan (Jean Dixon) take him down a notch by making fun of him with Punch and Judy puppets. So, the spat, in this case, is between the puppets and the man.These Punch and Judy cookies’ faces are filled with triangles of mini Toblerone! Though, you can sub mini-kisses, small piles of chocolate chips, or nuts.
Okay, so they’re kind of crazy looking, right?
Time for some Punch and Judy drama of your own!!!
Punch and Judy Cookies
Makes 18-20 Cookies
- Medium sized bear, ginger man, or ginger woman cookie cutters
- A little paint brush or two for the icing
- 1/2 c butter
- 4 tbs cream cheese (or more butter)
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 1/4 c white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs milk or cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 c flour
- 18-20 triangles of mini-toblerone or mini-kisses or little mounds of chocolate chips or large nuts
- 18-20 Pretzel sticks or thin licorice whips sliced into 1-2 inch lengths.
- 2 c icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Milk or cream by the tablespoonful
- Red, Green, Black* food colour [gels work best but are not essential] *Alternatively, for the black food colour, you can buy a tube of store-bought icing and fit it with a small round icing tip.
- Coloured Sugars if Desired
- Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a mixer or by hand.
- Add the egg, milk and vanilla until just blended.
- Add the baking powder, salt and flour until a soft dough forms.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or so.
Cookie Assembly & Baking
- Heat the oven to 350.
- Roll the dough between parchment or waxed paper to about 1/4 inch thickness.
- Cut about 18 bears, men, or women, and place upside-down [paws/feet/skirts to the sky] on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. [You should use about 1/2 of the dough.]
- Place a toblerone triangle, a mini kiss or some other protuberance representative of a large nose at the base of this figure, in the center of the “head” region.
- Re-ball the dough, re-roll, and cut out about 18 additional figures.
- Cover the chocolate protuberance with a right-side up cookie cut-out.
- Press, pinch, or shape the edges to blend in with the base cookie underneath.
- Embed a licorice whip or pretzel in one hand of each cookie.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, blend the sugar, vanilla, and 2 tbs of milk with a fork or whisk.
- Continue to add milk until the icing is thick but watery.
- Reserving about 1/4 of the white icing in the medium bowl, divide the rest of icing into 3 bowls, and dye each bowl with red, green, and black colours.
- Using a small paint brush, ice the central “faces” with white icing.
- Add black eyes, lips, and nostrils
- Paint on cheeks, hats, clothing and nose details with thick home-made red and green icing sugar icing.
- Dust the outfits with some coloured sugar crystals if you'd like.