Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Recipes: White House Holiday Cookies

Bo and Sunny cookies
From the White House to your house:  Sweet Dough Butter Cookies with Royal Icing and Holiday Gingerbread Cookies...
The White House - Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and his team are busier than Santa's elves this holiday season, baking and decorating 25,000 cookies for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama's holiday parties.  A staple of the elaborate dessert buffets are Sweet Dough Butter Cookies decorated with Royal Icing, and the most popular are shaped like First Dog Bo and his little "sister" Sunny, making her debut in Mrs. Obama's holiday decor.

Holiday Gingerbread Cookies in the shape of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and sugar-sprinkled snowmen are also on offer.  The recipes for both cookies are below.  The gingerbread recipe can be used to make ornaments, too, if allowed to bake longer.

Chef Yosses has also shared his recipe for Springerle Cookies, which are used on the fireplace that sits beneath this year's elaborate Gingerbread White House.  There is an edible version of the recipe, and a decorative version to make ornaments.  

Executive Chef Cris Comerford has shared her recipe for ornamental baked Christmas Fruit Wreaths, which use dried berries and apricots, herbs and candy.

Check the site sidebar for more holiday recipes.  CLICK HERE for links to all holiday posts.

A holiday bee cookie pays homage to the WH beehive
White House Sweet Dough Butter Cookies

*Dough must be chilled overnight.
1 Pound Sugar 

*2 Pounds Unsalted Butter 

*3 Pounds All-Purpose Flour 

*3 Eggs 

*1 Tsp Vanilla 

*1 Tsp Salt 

 1.  Mix the butter and sugar until soft and well beaten.

2.  Then add eggs, vanilla, salt and half the flour.  Beat on slow speed until mixed, then add the rest of the flour and mix until incorporated.

3.  Push flat onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate overnight.

4.  The next day, roll dough out to one quarter inch thick, and cut out cookie shapes with cookie cutter. 

5.  Bake at 350° F for 14 minutes and then allow to cool before decorating.

Decorate as desired.
  Number of cookie servings varies depending on size of cookies cut.

Royal Icing


*2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar, sifted

*1 Egg White

*1 Tsp Lemon Juice


Mix with paddle attachment on electric blender (or by hand) for 5 minutes. If icing is too thick, add more lemon juice or a little egg white to desired consistency.  Use pasteurized eggs if possible, in the interest of food safety.

Gingerbread snowmen on a holiday buffet
White House Holiday Gingerbread Cookies

*Dough must be chilled overnight.
*8 Oz (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, soft

*2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar

*2 Eggs, large

*1 Cup Molasses

*7 Cups All-Purpose Flour

*1/4 Tsp Ginger, ground

1/4  Tsp Cinnamon, ground

*1 Tsp Baking Soda

*1/4 Tsp Baking Powder

*1/4 Tsp Salt

*Zest from 1 Lemon

*Zest from 1 Orange


1.  Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer for a minimum 5 minutes.

2.  Add eggs one by one, then molasses.

3.  Put mixer on slow, sift spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda with flour then add these dry ingredients in three increments and scrape bowl each time.

4.  Add zests and mix until incorporated, but do not over mix.

5.  Remove dough from bowl and place on plastic wrap and spread to 1" thickness over wrap and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.

6.  Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out a small piece on a floured surface. This dough is very wet, so add flour when necessary to prevent sticking and turn over often.

7.  Roll out to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness for cookies.  Cut out Gingerbread shapes.

8.  Bake for 12 minutes at 350°F for cookies; 25 minutes or more for ornaments.

*Serving size depends on number of cookies cut.