The days are darker and temperatures lower, making it time to start thinking about cooking comfort and party food as the holiday season begins.
Angie Quaale, who started the Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Shop in Langley more than a decade ago, said good cookie weather is coming up.
And she's not afraid to rely heavily on butter to make her unique whipped shortbread shine.
"There is a whole pound of butter," she said. "But you don't have to eat the whole batch, you can have one or two. It is Christmas."
Quaale suggested to CBC Our Vancouver host Gloria Macarenko to make several batches of cookie dough and wrap it up to offer people when you attend their holiday parties.
"If you're going to somebody's house, why not give them a log or two of your homemade unbaked dough? Then they can bake it off at their leisure," she said.
No-bake sentimental treats
Another trend in gourmet baking is edible cookie dough, Quaale said,
She says it brings back all those childhood memories of licking the spoon or the beater. The modern snack doesn't have raw eggs and the flour has been pasteurized.
It won't bake into actual cookies but offers little spoonfuls of soft sweet memories with each taste.
Holiday cookie recipes
Chayle's Whipped Shortbread
"This is a recipe my mom made every Christmas for as long as I can remember," Quaale said.
1 lb. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup corn starch
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
A generous pinch of salt
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
3. Slowly add the flour and corn starch – beat it well.
4. When fluffy and fully combined, drip them onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
5. Allow cookies to cool and store in an airtight container.
Cheddar & Chive Shortbread
This is perfect with a glass of wine or as an accompaniment to a cheese board.
½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
8 ounces extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
¼ cup finely sliced chives
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, salt, pepper and cayenne until well blended.
2. Add the cheddar and the flour, mix on low speed just until smooth, adding the chives at the last minute. Do not over mix.
3. Shape dough into log, wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes.
4. Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350°F.
5. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Slice dough to a quarter inch thick round. Arrange one and a half inches apart on baking sheets.
7. Bake shortbread until lightly golden and beginning to brown on edges, about 13 to 15 minutes.
8. Cool on sheets five minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Double Chocolate Slice and Bake Cookies
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¾ cup dark chocolate, chopped
Fleur de sel, for sprinkling
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda.
2. With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.
3. Add both sugars, salt and vanilla extract and beat for two minutes more until fully incorporated.
4. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix, on low speed, until the flour just disappears into the dough.
5. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.
6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together (it's OK if it looks a bit crumbly) and divide it in half.
7. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are about one and a half inches in diameter.
8. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least three hours.
9. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325°F.
10. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
11. Using a sharp knife, slice the logs into rounds that are half an inch thick.
12. Arrange the rounds on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about one inch between them.
13. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for about 12 minutes.
14. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack, sprinkle with some Fleur de sel and let the cookies rest for at least 10 minutes before serving them.