New York Christmas Baking, written by Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup, features 40 recipes for sweet treats inspired by the holiday season in New York City. Highlights include Eggnog Cheesecake, Apple Crumble Muffins, Black & White Cookies, Stained-Glass Cookies, and Candy Cane Bread. I will also be sharing their recipe for Gingerbread Cookie Cups following the review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Murdoch Books in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup
Lisa Nieschlag is a designer and photographer with family roots in New York. She “loves spending her time in the kitchen, cooking, baking, styling, and photographing delicious food.” Lisa has created over 16 cookbooks including New York: Capital of Food and Taste the Wild: Recipes and Stories from Canada.
Lars Wentrup is a designer and illustrator. Together with Lisa, they run an agency for communication design in Münster, Germany.
New York Christmas Baking
Chapters are divided according to the following: Sweet Christmas Cookies (Whoopie Pies, Snickerdoodles & Co.), Holiday Cakes (Pies, Cupcakes & Co.), and Christmas Breakfast (Breads, Muffins & Buns). The contents include a list of the recipes with page numbers for easy reference.
Lisa and Lars begin with a short introduction before jumping straight to the recipes. I have visited New York City a couple of times (see my first and second visit here), but have yet to see the city in December. It is definitely on our list someday, especially after seeing all the beautiful photos scattered among the pages! I do personally wish there were more stories and memories to accompany the scenery and delicious treats.
The gorgeous photography is provided by Lisa Nieschlag and Julia Cawley. Every single recipe is paired with a full-page photo of the finished dish along with scenery from the city. The treats occasionally have headnotes with recipe tips and a short description. Measurements are listed by weight (grams and ounces).
This book is a great pick for those looking for fall and winter baking ideas. There is a nice assortment of easy sweets that come together in less than 30 minutes to more complicated recipes with resting times or multiple components. Most of the ingredients are readily available in the average American grocery store.
Gingerbread Cookie Cups
I was immediately drawn to the recipe for Gingerbread Cookie Cups. Pieces of gingerbread cookie dough spiced with cocoa powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves are lined in mini muffin tins and baked to create little cups perfect for holding the light and fluffy cream cheese frosting. They are such a wonderful addition to the holiday table.
Make sure to grease the mini muffin tins well to keep the cookies from sticking. If the cups fill in a bit when baking, use the handle of a wooden spoon or a teaspoon to help push them back into shape before removing from the pan and coating with chocolate.
While still hot, grated chocolate is added to each cookie cup and brushed to coat in a thin layer. This will help keep a barrier between the gingerbread cookie and cream cheese frosting.
The baked cookie cups can be frozen in a single layer for up to two months in advance. Do not add the frosting until ready to serve.
I also made Pinwheel Cookies; Chocolate, Pecan & Salted Caramel Squares; Bread Pudding; and Buttermilk Breakfast Puffs.
I am always looking for new cookie ideas during the holidays and loved the striking design of these Pinwheel Cookies. Two types of dough, one chocolate and the other peppermint, are formed into sheets, stacked, rolled up, and sliced to make the pinwheel pattern.
The Chocolate, Pecan & Salted Caramel Squares include three delicious layers: a shortbread crust, rich and decadent chocolate layer, and caramel to top. They are definitely a fun treat for entertaining or feeding a crowd.
This was actually my first time making Bread Pudding! For this particular recipe, fruit buns (or challah or brioche- which I used) are cut into cubes, covered in a spiced egg mixture, topped with almonds, then baked until golden. If not using a fruit-studded bread, chocolate chips, raisins, or thinly sliced apples are recommended toppings to add a bit of texture.
The Buttermilk Breakfast Puffs were a favorite with the kids. A buttermilk-based batter is divided among mini muffin tins and baked until golden. The top of each puff is then coated in butter and cinnamon sugar for a quick and easy snack.
Gingerbread Cookie Cups Recipe
Excerpt from New York Christmas Baking
Gingerbread Cookie Cups
Gingerbread Cookie Cups:
- 125 grams (4 1/2 ounces) butter at room temperature
- 120 grams (4 1/4 ounces) dark brown sugar
- 60 grams (2 1/4 ounces) molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 260 grams (9 1/4 ounces) plain flour
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 75 grams (2 1/2 ounces) dark chocolate coarsely grated
- 150 milliliters (5 fl ounces) single (pure) cream
- 200 grams (7 ounces) cream cheese at room temperature
- 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) icing (confectioners') sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- Butter and flour for the tin
- Ground cinnamon for sprinkling
- Beat the butter and dark brown sugar in a bowl until creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the molasses, egg, and orange zest and continue to beat for 1 minute.
- Combine the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices, and a pinch of salt in a separate bowl. Add to the butter and egg mixture and continue stirring to make a smooth dough. Leave to rest in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Butter a mini muffin tray and dust with flour. Shape the dough into 36 walnut-sized balls. Press the balls flat between your palms and use them to line the muffin holes. Bake the cookie cups for 10 minutes, being careful not to brown them. Remove from the oven and, if necessary, press the hot cookie cups further into the moulds to make a larger hollow in the middle.
- Place 1 teaspoon grated chocolate into each hollow and allow to melt. Use a pastry brush to spread the melted chocolate over the insides of the cookie cups. Leave them to cool.
For the filling:
- For the filling, whisk the cream until stiff.
- Whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl until creamy. Fold in the whipped cream in three batches. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe inside the cookie cups. Serve dusted with a little cinnamon.